I agree with most of this article, although I will say, as someone who specializes in UX strategy and research, but has been branded/tasked to work as a “UX Designer”, “UI/UX Engineer”, etc — this problem really starts with potential employers who confuse terms and are not clear about what they need a design employee to do in/for their business. If you’re just starting out, this can be difficult to grasp, as it’s not taught in most schools, and design internships often focus on building web design/UI skills. The soft skills of UX are a bit more nuanced.
I view UX and UI as two very different (but related!) entities. Designers just out of school who brand themselves as “UX Designers” often have these web design/UI skills by the boatload — so naturally, to build a portfolio of work, they will do what they feel comfortable with.
A “redesign”, as they’ve been taught, is simply reorganizing and restyling visual elements (e.g. “looking cool”). Good skills to have, BUT that’s not everything, as you point out. UX = about the end to end experience.
Advice to people who do this: “redesigns” might be more useful if you explore the *why* (How do I get to this page? Why would I structure the page this way? What is the ultimate goal for my user(s) using this website/app/webpage? Who ARE the real user(s), anyway?) rather than the *what*.