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42 - How to get your first work as a UI designer


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So how do you get your first work as a UI designer? You've done the course, and you're really keen to get started, but how do you get work?

There's kind of like two streams, if you are young, or ready for a complete career change, you're going to ditch being a baker and now you’re going to become a UI designer, or you're young, a student, and looking to get into it, that direction, just starting as a junior UI designer. Find a job, any job, because it's really hard to get into, so just build a good portfolio, use the project we’ve made in this class, and build a couple of other projects on your own, or for friends or colleagues.

Just get a job, take any page, take anything, and know that after about a year you're going to learn a crazy amount from wherever you're working, and know that whatever job you take, even if it's not the most fabulous job, it's going to give you that kind of experience you need for that second job. Hopefully that job blooms into this amazingness, but, I've found from my experience, everyone, their first job, you get hired, you get treated a bit badly, you don't have very good skills, and after a year or two you're actually starting to get pretty good, but the business never sees that person that way, they kind of treat them as the junior, and their pay rates are quite low, and you get all the crappy jobs.

So you do that for a little while, and then you job jump. It sucks, but it's the way to kind of get ahead in web design, is to find another agency, show them, "This is me now. I'm two years more experienced. This is all the other stuff I've worked on, I've worked in agencies," so you know the language a bit more, and you get a better job that way, that’s one way to get started. It's just a kind of taking your job in the industry, and get going, but you need a portfolio to get started, so you need some projects that you've done, like this one, this course.

The other trend is if you are, say a designer, or working in that kind of creative agency, ready, or on your own stuff, or just bored with the design that you're doing at the moment, that is going to be a little bit different. You're going to have to just take on work on the side, probably, and probably, you might be like me-- if I change careers now, I'm 36, I've got kids, no mortgage to pay rent, but there's responsibility, so what you're going to have to do is burn the midnight oil. Give yourself a year or two, and say-- every-- not every night, but I'm going to use every Monday evenings, Tuesday evenings, Wednesday evenings to work on a project. In the beginning it can be just your portfolio, get it out of the way real quick, your own portfolio is the worst one, takes forever, but then take on any work you can. 

It might be friends, or family, just to get that portfolio going. Then you can start working on other side projects. Once you've got your experience going, you can start looking at stuff like-- There's things like Upwork, you sign up for that, or Freelancer.com, or 99designs. Although it's not going to give you the career breaking jump, because the pay is okay, and it's kind of freelance stuff on the side, but it's building that portfolio for yourself, and building that experience so that when you do get to a point, and you're like, "Actually, I am pretty good at this now, I've done a few jobs." They're not paying huge amounts, they're like paid tuition. You don't have time to go off and do an UI course. Do these smaller jobs, for these smaller pays, just to build that, and yes, it’s paid learning, and then once you get to a point when you’re feeling like, "Okay, I've taken my design skills from another area, and I've actually applied it there,  I'm confident of the language." Then you make more of a jump into-- for another job. So it might be that you start-- You need to start at the middle weight level, you need to be earning 60 grand a year, not starting at the bare minimum.

So, you jump into that sort of a role as a middle weight web designer, and maybe work with your app there, it’s not such a bigger hit on the family, or-- Or you might be just building your business out as a graphic designer, and you still don't freelance, but you're getting more and more UI work. It's my advice anyway. So, that's my advice. All right, next video.

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