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Break into tech with the right UX problem

Get a break as a UX Designer in the tech industry without experience

Breaking into the tech industry as a UX Designer (or other adjacent roles in design) is extremely challenging especially if you are early in your career or do not have relevant experience. Like other roles in tech, candidates find themselves confronted with this "chicken and egg problem" - how do you get a job in design without experience if every single job asks for 3-5 years of experience? On top of this, how do you really stand out as a designer so that companies remember you?

Recently, we partnered with our friends at Design Buddies where Vikram, a Sr. Designer at Salesforce, and Bosky, Founder of PMDojo discussed a number of challenges UX Designers face at least once in their career. Read on to learn about some of the topics that we discussed at the event.

Design process over Tools

It is easy to get distracted and focus our effort on learning design tools such as Figma, Framer, Sketch, or others. However, sharing and demonstrating our design process is more useful than showing the assets we have designed or what tools we used. Why? Tools can be easily learned and tools are becoming easier to use and this trend is likely to continue.

UX design is a craft and hence there are many nuances to learning and honing this craft. To stand out, we should share our unique perspective on the design process. UX design is less about following a checklist but a creative lens of looking at the problem and solving it. It is about demonstrating our curiosity. Instead of focusing on showing the design assets such as user flows, wireframes, or prototypes, it is critical to demonstrate how we overcome the design challenges and what we learned along the way. This is pivotal in making us stand out in jobsearch as a UX Designer.

Don't waste your time in "fake projects"

Fake projects are problems that we as UX designers solve to in our portfolios. However, they exhibit a few dangerous patterns such as:

  • They exist in a constraint-free world where the UX designer does not have to consider constraints or make trade off decisions; something that designers in the real world always have to work around

  • The UX designer is unable to measure the impact from their design. Essentially, they are unable to demonstrate how their work contributed to the business or users

  • The UX designer is unable to demonstrate how they are able to collaborate as a cross-functional team. Fake projects are usually done individually or with friends and do not represent how product teams work in the real world

Dont show us the UX process; rather take us on a journey

The UX process is fairly straightforward and simply following this set of steps does not help UX Designers to stand out in job search and neither do they help in honing their craft.

This is why, learning the craft of storytelling is key to our success as designers. It is easy to get bogged down in the details of the different UX templates such as a user persona, empathy map or a customer journey map and others. Companies are not looking to see if you can fill in the blanks; rather can you think about the problem from different vantage points and how you do you go about solving it. Are you curious about the problem? Are you someone who is quick to jump into the solution? How do you use your detective skills to understand the problem and define the overall experience? How do you explain your design and how do you react when your design decisions are challenged? How do you know good is good enough? How do you measure the impact from your work?

Watch a few candid moments from one of our sessions in PMDojo where we learned how to become better storytellers.

Embrace learning about business acumen

Good design is more than just aesthetics. To elevate our career as a UX Designer, it helps to embrace our understanding of the business. Our designs do not exist in a vacuum but within the context of a real business. This means our craft is dependent on shifting our paradigm to think more strategically and make those trade off decisions. The experience we design for a product can have big implications on the viability of both the product as well as our role and career. Hear below how the six factors can play a role in how we design.

Insights from the event on how to break into tech as a UX designer:

How can I gain real-world experience as a UX Designer?

Assuming you are self-taught or graduated from a UX Bootcamp, here are a few tangible ways you can take to gain real-world experience:

  • Reach out to startups and ask if they have a project you can work on

  • Work on a side project (check out PMDojo's free community to find a buddy to work together)

  • Join PMDojo's learning tracks to gain real-world and industry experience and work with a cross-functional team including developers to launch a live product 🫶

⭐️ Gain real-world experience by collaborating cross-functionally as a team to launch a live product with PMDojo. ⭐️ Apply here:

How complex should the UX problem be?

The complexity of the problem is not as important as much as it is to demonstrate your design process, how you make your decision decisions and how you overcame the challenges. One common mistake many early career designers make is to follow a checklist. The real world is complex and hardly ever matches a theoretical world of checklists. "Fake projects" or theoretical projects do not have constraints such as business or technology or user and this is why launching a real product where you can solve a design problem is so important.

How can I stand a chance in a competitive job market where every day there are more and more junior designers coming up?

This is a great question and something to think about is how can you differentiate yourself from the competition and hone your craft but also really get better at these skills which companies seek but are unfortunately not taught in any boot camps or traditional courses:

  • Business acumen (watch the video above)

  • Data and metrics to measure your impact and make data-informed design decisions

  • Storytelling so that you can align others with your design vision

  • Influence your Product Managers, Engineers, and cross-functional teams

  • Present in front of senior leaders

The key here is to not just focus on producing design assets but building on strengths, skills, and confidence so that being a junior designer you will NOT be overlooked. Just take a look at what Mandy shared (she is from the Design Buddies community and recently transitioned as a UX Designer)❤️ after joining PMDojo Industry Track.✨

⭐️ Gain real-world experience by collaborating cross-functionally as a team to launch a live product with PMDojo. ⭐️ Apply here:


🎥 Event Recording

If you want to catch up on the event, feel free to watch it below. Simply click the image below to watch the recording.


Scholarships for Design Buddies Members

PMDojo has partnered with DesignBuddies to bring you scholarships to accelerate your career in design🎉. These scholarships are open for Core or Industry Tracks and pay a portion of the program fees. PMDojo’s curriculum is multidisciplinary and has been designed by Hiring Managers and help you gain industry experience, learn, stand out and elevate your career in product roles. This is a 10-week, apprenticeship-style program where you learn in a live and immersive way to collaborate cross-functionally, and launch a live product in the market while being supported by senior leaders from the tech industry. PMDojo has 3 unique learning tracks to support your learning goals:

  • Core Track: Collaborate as a cross-functional team (including a developer) to take a real user problem from ideation, design, and launch. In 10 weeks, you will launch a live product in the market and measure impact with live learning, mentorship, career support, and confidence

  • Industry Track: Everything in Core Track + you get matched up with a real company to help launch a product for them in 10 weeks

  • Lite Track: Take a real user problem, test it and design a validated interactive prototype and build a compelling portfolio in 6 weeks. You will get to work solo with access to office hours

⭐️ Spots fill up quickly and their cohorts are always sold out.⭐️ Apply here:


­If you have any questions, simply join us for a live Q&A Session to learn more.

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