{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I am a junior UX/product designer with a background in business. I was wondering does anyone have any general advice for someone trying to get their first design role especially as a person of color? Also, do you feel that junior designers should take any design job they get just to get in the door?", "post_id": "605a036c0f0080002139e46d", "reply_count": 9, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "592119437817f900168fc4bb", "bowl_name": "Designers", "feed_type": "bowl" }

I am a junior UX/product designer with a background in business. I was wondering does anyone have any general advice for someone trying to get their first design role especially as a person of color? Also, do you feel that junior designers should take any design job they get just to get in the door?

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As a POC and someone who interviews intermediate uxers all the time, I’d like to give you a few advice based on my own experience as well as interviewing candidates:

1. Know your audience: When graduating bootcamp, you might a few good design projects well as basic knowledge on how the design process work - which should prepare you with an ability to get through recruiters’ screeners. However, I had seen too many portfolios and interviewees where they talk about general design process (like how designers do research, journey map, sketches, wires and etc)while failing to get into specifics (such as what specific insights designers discovered during said process, how they applied that insight, and how that made the difference to the final output) - as a hiring manager and designer, I expect the candidate would already qualify to have all that knowledge and therefore I don’t need to hear about general methodologies - make sure you actually apply the knowledge into something unique and specific to the challenge you’re solving.

2. Building portfolio may feel daunting if you’re starting out. I recommend doing additional one or two case studies apart from one you completed in the bootcamp. Don’t redesign a weather app or to-do list app, or linkedin or facebook UI (big big thumbs down) but pick a business idea you might be passionate about - something you would actually believe in and make a good business case out of it! Start with business canvas model and think about how you’d design a tool or platform to launch your business. Pretend as if you’re actually investing into the idea - that should give you sense of realism, and motivation to get shit done!

3. I’ve also seen too many Product designer/Uxers with sloppy creative. Wireframes are great and essential to your process, but make sure you spend extra hours making sensible UI decisions and your final design output must be visually tight at the end!

Hope my 2 cents help you and don’t give up!

likesmart

Hi Simone! 😊

During your interviews, one of the questions I’d ask is what kind of support systems they have in place for people of color. That way you know if it’s truly an inclusive place with resources available to you. Also, scope out their employees on LinkedIn if you can to see if they have POC in management / leadership positions.

Any job is better than no job, but it’s easy to fall into one industry for a while. I’d recommend bouncing around in different industries while you’re building your career to make sure to have some variety in your skillset. Unless you find something you love, and can see yourself learning a lot and sharpening your skills there for a while.

Good luck!!

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I feel like your portfolio is a big part in grabbing a recruiter’s attention. If you’re just starting out, it may be helpful to take on freelance jobs or pursue passion projects to help build your portfolio and show what type of design you want to do. If the job opportunity fits the kind of design work you want to do in the future, then I think it is worth exploring and pursuing.

I’d recommend checking out this design community led by Black designers: https://www.designtodivest.com
They also have a slack channel for job postings.

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Thank you to everyone that responded! In regards to a portfolio, I went through a bootcamp and I do have a portfolio. Right now I am doing volunteer UX work while looking for my first UX/product role.

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I just wanna chime in that I also took a course to go into design from a finance background. Every week I made updates to my portfolio and I interviewed with dozens of companies (10+ second interviews/design challenges).

A year passed and I was soo close to giving up. I took a break and recollected. Started interviewing again and I got 3 offers at the same time. If you really like it, don’t give up

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I'll tell you now, you'll have an easier time getting into any tech company. Love it or hate it, most bigger companies have minority quotas.

Build case studies as your portfolio. Then learn to tell your work experiences in the forms of stories.

I can second this mindset — if you google ‘companies that don’t require degrees’ the list that pops up means that they have DEI initiatives and are public about their interest (and investment) in improving their diversity headcount. Start there and put in two years while building a network.

There is a ton of opportunities in finance for UX/Product design, and many finance companies are pretty serious about diversity and inclusion. And I have found the work to be very interesting with clear avenues for advancement. A lot of FinTech activity as well, although the work/ life balance may not be nearly as good. I work for Vanguard in the Philly area, started 2.5 years ago, pretty deep in my career, love it.

portfolio is #1, if your portfolio doesn’t have much then I highly recommend a design course that will help build out your cases

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