Horrors of a Junior UX Designer — Making it in the field
I fell in love with the concept of UX when I led a 10 member group for a year for our Bachelor’s Major Project at miLAB (Media and Innovation Lab)of IDC Herzlyia. Our task was to solve a very simple sounding brief: enhance communication between people within a confined space.
This is when Filos was born. Filos is based on the Six Degrees of Separation theory of Karinthy Frigyes. The theory states that two people living continents apart can be introduced to each other through six people — six degrees. Filos connects people by showing them other Filos users around them, whom they have shared connections with.
When we finished this project, I had already been working two and a half years at Wix as a part time Customer Solutions Representative. I decided that I would try to land a full time job relating to UX. This unfortunately deemeed to be a very difficult task. The company has already been public for over a year and expanding aggressively, which meant that taking chances on juniors were over.
Don’t take me wrong. I loved the company, the people, the atmosphere, and I felt part of a family there, however I quickly realised that I had no chance landing a UX position when the only opening required anywhere between 3–5 years of experience. In fact, I quickly realised this was not only the state of UX in Israel, but in other countries too.
Then, I thought I had found my way in: I saw that in the UK there were several Junior positions being advertised on LinkedIn — vs. no Junior UX positions whatsoever in other countries. Thus I devised a plan, that I shall move to complete a UX Master’s degree and find a job there right after.
At the time of me writing this, I am halfway through my degree at Loughborough Uni. I could not have been happier with my choice to study at this fine establishment. Not only because by now, the Double Diamond Design Process has been engraved in my brain, but also because of the connections and opportunities the University provides it’s students with. Concurrently though, I am starting to recognize the same struggle in the UK I have seen in other countries.
How do I know this? Well, it came as a shock to me that students at our university were already applying for jobs in November of 2016, with a start date of September 2017. So I decided to join the game. I must have applied to at around 100 jobs between November and March, however I only heard back from about a dozen of them. It is also worth mentioning that maybe about 2 were Junior positions, while all others were ranging from Associate to Mid-Senior and Senior levels.
Last week, thanks to LinkedIn’s fine news feed algorithm, I came across a post from one Tom Cotterill, a UX recruiter, who noted that he sees the problem Junior UXers experience on a daily basis. To try to help the masses, he created the Junior UX Community, which aims to help and give tips to eventually land a UX job.
Some of the useful tips I have encountered so far:
- Search for UX heads/managers on LinkedIn and ask them to give you some tips how you could improve your portfolio
- Send your CV and portfolio to HR directly on LinkedIn even if the company isn’t hiring UXers at the moment
- Consider creating a video as an introduction to whoever you send your portfolio to
Other than the LinkedIn group, which can be found here, Tom also created a Slack channel. I encourage everyone to join both the group, the channel, and join the conversation!