While some designers choose to join a UI/UX design course or a bootcamp program, a lot of phenomenalUI/UX designers are self-taught, at least in the beginning. So how do you go about teaching yourself to design beautiful digital products?
There are a number of paths to learning UI/UX design and there’s not really a single right or wrong way. It all comes down to learning the theories behind good design and practicing them until you master them.
In this article, we’ll take you through the 6 steps you need to become a self-taught UI/UX designer in 2022:
- Step 1: Learn the fundamentals of UX design
- Step 2: Develop an eye for good design
- Step 3: Invest in the right design software
- Step 4: Build a portfolio of work
- Step 5: Ask for feedback (and learn from it)
- Step 6: Get real-world work experience
Art by Tiffany Yeh
Step 1: Learn the fundamentals of UX design
The experience of a user on a website is arguably the most important part of any successful design—which means it’s important that you understand the main principles of UX design.
UX design focuses on creating a delightful experience through meeting user needs and wants, as well as throughuser psychology.
Understanding why users perform certain actions and what makes them continue using a site (or abandoning that site) is key to creating a digital product that meets user needs as well as business goals.
Luckily, there are plenty of affordable (and free) UX tutorials, courses, and resources all at your disposal as well as tons of books on UX. A good place to start is with Steve Krug’sDon’t Make Me Think . Krug is widely regarded as the godfather of UX design.
Pro tip: A great way to immerse yourself in the world of UI/UX design is to start listening to podcasts focused on UX. Here are 5 great UX podcasts we recommend.
“Watching tutorials is a smart addition to your learning process. Just remember it’s not all about learning color theories, or UI patterns—tutorials on how to train your mind to think like a UX designer and understanding user’s needs are also key.” — Bojan Novakovic, Self-taught UI/UX designer
Learn UI/UX fundamentals in Dribbble's Certified Course.
Step 2: Develop your eye for good UI/UX design
Learning the basic principles of design will only take you so far. To really take your skills to the next level, practice studying the designs of websites and mobile apps you love with a critical eye.
Next time you see a website you love, for example, take a few minutes to analyze what about it works so well for you. Is it the color palette? The interaction design? The typography?
Look at every part of the design: the spacing between elements, the grid the site is designed on, the visual hierarchy of the site, and even the specific images and icons used. Ask yourself what’s working and what’s not? This is key todeveloping a strong visual eye for design.
Just as important as what you love about a site is what you don’t love. Study the site with a critical eye. Try to figure out why you don’t like certain parts of the site, not just that you don’t like them.
Pro Tip:Make it a habit to keep up to date withtrending UI/UX designson Dribbble to stay current, get creative inspiration, and follow designers you admire.
Art by Julia Derevianko
Step 3: Invest in the right design tools
Next, you’re going to want to invest in UI/UX software to start bringing your designs to life and start applying what you’ve learned so far.
There are plenty of great tools available on the market, but we suggest trying out a few industry stalwarts such as Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD to get a feel for which you prefer.
Here’s a quick rundown of what each software has to offer:
- Figma:Figma is a collaborative design and prototyping tool for digital projects. It’s the newest UI/UX design software on the market and has quickly become many designers’ tool of choice.
- Sketch:Sketch is a digital design app for macOS. Designers who use Sketch love it for its plugin capabilities and its intuitive interface.
- Adobe XD:Adobe XD was specifically built with user interface designers in mind. The best part is, Adobe XD is completely free and allows you to design and prototype with ease.
Bottom line is, there’s no one right tool for UI/UX designers. It’s really up to you to decide which software feels most intuitive and user-friendly to you.
Learn Figma fundamentals & UI design in 4 weeks.
Art by Artboard
Step 4: Start building a portfolio of work
Reading books and articles or watching design tutorials will only get you so far. What you really need to do to become proficient at UI/UX is actuallydesigndigital products and start accumulating a solid body of work.
At this point you might be asking yourself—how do I build a portfolio of work without any real-world experience?
If you’re starting from scratch, we highly recommend downloading somefree UI kits(or user interface kit) to help get your designs started. A UI kit is a set of pre-made design components containing essential visual elements for a specific UI design (think buttons, icons, fonts, menus, etc.).
Use UI kits to design your own website or mobile app for starters. But also consider doing redesigns of existing sites. Pick some of your favorite websites and explore how you could redesign them to look and function even better.
Then, learn how to createmockups for your designs, and consider posting them online for feedback to further improve.
“Even though it might seem overwhelming to start a project from scratch with very little experience, it’ll boost your creativity and challenge you to uncover new solutions. Don’t stop, just keep moving.” — Bojan Novakovic, Self-taught UI/UX designer
Art by Bojan Novakovic
Step 5: Ask for feedback (and learn from it)
Contrary to popular belief, negative feedback can actually be much more useful than positive feedback. It can help you grow as a designer, level-up your skills, and create better products.
Learn to seek and embrace negative design feedback and use it as fuel to improve your designs. Post your work on Dribbble and ask for constructive criticism—the community is here to help.
In the end, negative feedback can be one of the most positive things that can happen in your design career. Just remember, you don’t need to overhaul all of your skills overnight. Trying to become one percent better every day will bring steady progress to success.
Pro tip: To accelerate your design skills, find a design mentor. You’d be surprised how many established UI/UX designers are more than willing to give you advice and help you build your career.
Accelerate your design skills with an experienced mentor.
Step 6: Get real-world work experience
Once you’ve developed enough work that you’re proud of and you feel confident in your skills, it’s time to put yourself out there and get some real-world work experience.
In order toget hired in UI/UX design, you’ll need to create an onlinedesign portfoliothat showcases your best work and the design process behind it.
“To create a UX design portfolio that helps you win roles, you need to think like a lawyer. You need evidence of your skills and you need to tell compelling stories about the projects you’ve worked on.” — Sarah Doody, User Experience Coach
Start applying to entry-levelUI/UX design jobs. Even if you don’t land a job right away, the job hunt is a great opportunity topractice your soft skillssuch as communication and explaining the decisions behind your designs—two very important qualities that hiring managers are looking for in design candidates.
Deciding to work as a freelancer? ThenBonsaican help you in many more ways than just project management. From proposals and contracts to invoices and taxes, you’ll be able to manage your whole business from one user-friendly platform.
Pro tip:Developing your UI/UX design portfolio is an iterative process. Like every other design project, it gets better the more you practice and hone your skills. Keep updating your portfolio as you create new work.
Become a self-taught UI/UX designer
No matter your current skill level, know that you’re more than capable of teaching yourself UI/UX design if you’re willing to put in the time, effort, and dedication. Keep learning and growing your skills and remember that nothing happens overnight. You’ve got this!
Luckily, it's not impossible to teach yourself UX design. After all, the original UX designers that pioneered the field did something very similar to the self-taught designers of today, but with even less resources than are available now.Is UI UX design a good career 2022? ›
1. What is the career outlook for UX designers? The demand for UX designers is steadily increasing. LinkedIn even ranked UX design as one of the top 5 in demand skills as of 2020 while Glassdoor added it to their list of best 50 jobs to have in 2022.How long does it take to become a self-taught UX designer? ›
UX Course: 6 hours - 10 months
UX courses are another way to learn UX design fundamentals and tools. Often, these are offered online and self-paced so you can fit them into your schedule more easily than a formal degree.
The industry needs more UX designers from older generations to create designs for people of all ages. While ageism is still a prevalent problem in UX design, don't let it prevent you from pursuing the career you want. With perseverance and curiosity, you can become a UX/UI designer at any age.How do I get a UX UI job with no experience? ›
- Determine Your Ideal Career Path.
- Take a Free Course.
- Utilize Free Resources.
- Work on Projects.
- Complete a Bootcamp.
- Get a Certification.
- Gain UX Experience.
- Promote Your Skills.
Step 1: Learn the fundamentals of UX design. Step 2: Develop an eye for good design. Step 3: Invest in the right design software. Step 4: Build a portfolio of work.Can we learn UI UX without coding knowledge? ›
The answer is no. UI/UX design is one among numerous non-technical roles in tech that doesn't require any coding or programming skills. However, having previous experience in coding or programming skills is beneficial as communicating with developers is made easier.Can you do UI UX without a degree? ›
You do not need a UX-related degree to become a UX designer—or any kind of degree for that matter. While some employers will specify that a degree is preferable, not having a degree will not stop you from becoming a UX designer and landing a paid job in the field.Is UI UX a stressful job? ›
UX/UI design is among the top 30% of careers in terms of happiness, but it can also be a source of stress due to lack of company awareness about UX, imposter syndrome, long hours and tight deadlines, challenging problem-solving and constant learning.Is UX design harder than coding? ›
Many people are considering the career change because UX design seems much easier than coding and still pays pretty well and you're working in tech.
UI/UX Designer salary in India ranges between ₹ 2.0 Lakhs to ₹ 13.9 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 4.8 Lakhs.Can you become UX designer at 35? ›
While you may face different obstacles than your younger colleagues, becoming a UX designer (and succeeding!) in your 30s, 40s, 50s (and beyond) is totally doable. In fact there are even advantages and perks that you'll experience that your younger colleagues won't (at least not for a while).Can I become a UX designer in 3 months? ›
A quick google search of “UX design bootcamps” will yield dozens of options—no two bootcamps are exactly alike. UX Bootcamps can take anywhere between 2 to 10 months to complete. In general, UX bootcamps introduce students to basic UX concepts and guide them through projects so they can begin building a portfolio.Is it too late to become a UX designer? ›
I don't think user experience design is going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, the industry needs more of us. One thing that you need to keep in mind is, this is a forever evolving profession. If you choose to be a UX product designer, then you always need to learn new things, new skills.Can you make 100k as a UX designer? ›
An entry-level position can start at $80,000 to $100,000, and salary increases as you gain experience. The base salary of a UX designer is usually around $100,000, and successful senior UX designers make over $125,000 per year.Can I be a UX designer if I can't draw? ›
Contrary to popular belief, if you want to become a UX designer, you don't need to learn how to draw. Typically, when people see the word 'designer,' they automatically think about the arts, and therefore drawing can come to mind. The only thing that UX designers draw is usually sketches.Is it hard to get an entry level UX design job? ›
It is hard to get a job in UX because of several reasons. First of all, many designers are looking for a job. Because of that, competition is fierce, and companies know it. They can go for someone with a lot of experience, even if the job doesn't require it.How do you land first UX design job with no experience? ›
- Take at least one UX course. There's a ton of UX courses to explore. ...
- Shape your existing experience. Most UXBs come into this field thinking they have absolutely no UX experience. ...
- Fill in the Gaps. ...
- Gain UX experience. ...
- Finish your UX Portfolio and Apply.
Do UX designers need to know how to code? User experience design does not require coding. However, understanding the basics of coding can help you as a UX designer. Understanding how software development works gives you a better understanding of what's possible, allowing for more efficient work and better designs.How much does an entry-level UI designer earn? ›
The average UI Designer/Developer Entry salary in the United States is $67,720 as of February 27, 2023, but the range typically falls between $61,550 and $75,270.
You can learn the skills needed to become a UI Designer in as little as 10 weeks, which is why it has become increasingly common for aspiring Designers to attend UI design courses and bootcamps.How old is the average UX designer? ›
User Experience Designer Gender By Year.
- Start with the fundamental concepts, terminology and principles. ...
- Learn and practice essential UX skills. ...
- Take some “UX design for beginners” courses. ...
- Get a professional diploma in UX design. ...
- Grow your UX network and learn from others. ...
- Practice and apply your new skills at every opportunity.
Yes. You will need to know at least one Data Science programming language such as Python, R, Matlab, C++, Java with SQL. Design skill is not necessary.Which language is best for UI design? ›
What Languages Are Used for UI Design? While there isn't a specific language used for UI design, if you're designing for the web, you'll benefit greatly from a good foundation in HTML and CSS, even if it's just to be able to communicate with your team.How do I get my first job in UX? ›
- Do volunteer/pro bono work.
- Freelance/indie hacker.
- Get a degree longer than one year.
- Networking with someone in the industry.
While having a degree in this field isn't required (in fact, this field is so new that few degree programs exist right now), training and certification will only boost your career path.Does UI UX design require math? ›
But all designers, not just UX ones, employ cornerstone principles of math every time they use a paintbrush, a pencil, or a touch-pad. In fact, some of the most fundamental techniques of design are rooted in mathematical concepts.How much does CVS pay UX designer? ›
The average salary for User Experience Designer at CVS Health in the United States is $49.15 per hour, which is 9% above the national average.Can UX design be a side hustle? ›
Earn some cash by improving app usability.
But if you're the kind of person who's bursting with ideas on how to make the experience better, UX design might be the side hustle—or even a new career—for you.
Cons of a UX UI Career: * Some companies look at you as a “unicorn-designer” who can do anything… which means they might assign you tasks outside your skill set. * Since “Design” and “research” don't usually co-exist, some organizations will take your other skills for granted and assign you just design works.Who gets paid more UX designer or web developer? ›
Web developer salaries tend to be higher than web designer salaries primarily because of the coding skills of developers, which is highly valued in today's increasingly digital world.What was the most difficult thing to learn in UX design? ›
Understanding how to use data and qualitative feedback to help underline the importance of user experience problems and how to then use this information to tell a great story that convinces stakeholders is an art. And like any art it is hard.Who earns more UX designer or front end developer? ›
The average salary for a UI/UX Designer is $73,000 (Source:Indeed.com) compared to the average salary of a Front End Developer which is $62,000. When it comes to landing your dream job in the tech industry, making the right decision on which role to pursue is crucial. Almost every business today has a website.What is hourly rate for UI UX Designer? ›
|Product Designer||Range:$22 - $73||Average:$41|
|User Interface Designer||Range:$19 - $52||Average:$33|
|User Experience Designer||Range:$20 - $67||Average:$36|
|Senior UX Designer||Range:$46 - $87||Average:$67|
Here are the national starting base salary estimates for a remote UX designer in the United States who's new to the industry: Freelance UX Designer Salary: $99,778 (average), $70,000 to $149,000 (range) Remote UX Designer Salary: $70,171 (average), $48,000 to $107,000 (range)Is UI UX design oversaturated? ›
1 Answer. No, there is always demand for truly valuable UI / UX Designers, and it is especially true now. A feeling of being oversaturated may come from the increased awareness and popularity of the field.What is the fastest way to become a UX designer? ›
- Learn UX design fundamentals.
- Learn key design tools.
- Work on your own projects to develop your UX design skills.
- Develop a portfolio to showcase your UX design work.
- Apply to relevant UX design jobs.
How much can you expect to earn? The average UX designer's salary is $90,000. However, there are ways to earn much more than that. If you are able to land a job in one of the most expensive cities in the United States — like San Francisco or New York City — you could make up to $200,000 per year.Can a UX designer be self-taught? ›
Luckily, it's not impossible to teach yourself UX design. After all, the original UX designers that pioneered the field did something very similar to the self-taught designers of today, but with even less resources than are available now.
In the end, the future is still bright.
In the future, UX and UI design will likely have to evolve to adapt to the growing impact of AI. These fields may have to change their focus to place more emphasis on creativity and human elements, which AI lacks.
You can learn the skills needed to become a UI Designer in as little as 10 weeks, which is why it has become increasingly common for aspiring Designers to attend UI design courses and bootcamps.What degree should I do to become a UI UX designer? ›
- Computer Science or Computer Programming. ...
- Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) ...
- English. ...
- Information Technology (IT) ...
- Psychology. ...
- Graphic Design. ...
- Industrial Design. ...
UI/UX design is a booming field around the globe. The field will generate over 100 million jobs by 2050, and this is the perfect time.. Read More. In this blog, we will discuss the UI/UX designer salary in 2023, how to become a UI/UX designer, and the career path for UI/UX designers.