Just a small note on hackathons — they are invaluable for a new designer. Not only do they teach you how to work with other developers (skills like specs, design communication) — you also end up with a strong network of developer friends.
How I went from 0 design experience to landing a full time job in 12 months (republished)
Richard Yang

I totally agree this. Internship is also recommended to get good friends.

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