How to Get Your First UX/UI Design Jobby@avrorashuhalii
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How to Get Your First UX/UI Design Job

by Product DesignerJanuary 30th, 2022
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For the past two years, I have been working with aspiring designers who have completed courses and wanted to find their first job. Finding a job is a hot topic. The competition is now higher than ever and the requirements for candidates are getting broader.

I have been fortunate to mentor and train hardworking designers who truly dedicated themselves to learning. For many, looking for a job is a long tedious process. I want to share some alternatives to finding jobs that you can use if you are currently looking for a job as a junior designer.

1. Design Internship

More companies are willing to invest in new talent. It can be a good starting point in a design career.


  • The company has prepared a development plan for a young designer. This means that interns will initially know what their goals are for the coming months and what they need to do to achieve them.
  • Interns work with a mentor. Often, the programs are led by several senior designers who help young designers.
  • Interns learn quite a lot and see how processes run in large companies.
  • Interns understand how to work in a team of developers and managers.


  • The internship takes from several weeks up to 2-3 months.
  • After an internship, designers often have to look for a new job.
  • Only a few companies offer free internships.
  • The company may be located in different locations, which means that designers need to move to another city or country.

Useful links:

  2. Ideate Labs
  3. WayUp
  4. GraduateLand
  5. Some companies such as Meta, Google, Disney, Amason, Spotify, etc. provide internship opportunities on their sites.

2. Take Part in Hackathons or Design Contests

Such events are often held free of charge and take from 2 days to several weeks, breaks included.


  • The hacker will understand how to work in a team with people from different companies.
  • The hacker will learn to work within limits. Such restrictions can be time (the date and time the project was delivered), technologies used by developers, the amount of work (create a design in such a way that developers have time to implement everything that has been designed), and that the product (project) is convenient to use.
  • A ready-made case in a portfolio. Personally, from my experience in 1 year, I compiled 4 projects in my portfolio that I am proud of and am preparing to add to my portfolio.
  • Getting to know a lot of people, which is never a bad thing.
  • Free interesting lectures or workshops are often held during hackathons.
  • The hacker will quickly become familiar with new technology.


  • The end product does not fully depend on you (if this is not an individual competition)
  • Sometimes you have to change or add people to the team.
  • Spending more energy.
  • Most hackathons require you to find your own team. So, you will have to look for people on your own. But rules vary.

You can find hackathons here:

  1. Eventbrite
  2. MeetUp
  3. Dare2Complete
  4. UXHack
  5. MLH

3. Volunteering

There are many volunteer projects and they often need additional specialists.


  • Volunteers are immersed in a real project with the opportunity to implement everything they know. It is possible to practice not only UI but also to offer UX skills.
  • Teamwork.
  • Complete project for a case study in a portfolio.


  • Team members are not always motivated.
  • Limited working hours for members. Many can work alongside helping at volunteer projects.
  • Nobody knows how long you will stay there. It might end before you know it.

Volunteering opportunities:

  1. Volunteer Match
  2. Catchafire
  3. Reach Volunteering
  4. UX Rescue
  5. Goodcompany

4. Freelance

I understand that it’s scary for novice designers to take freelance work because they want someone nearby who can help. But still, taking a small project as a landing page even once is a pretty good option.


  • Freelancers choose how much their work costs
  • Direct communication with the customer. Often, on small projects, there is only one point of contact, which is good for a junior designer, since the project can be closed faster.
  • Freelancers learn time management.
  • One project = one case study in a portfolio.
  • Flexible Work Schedule: It is possible to work on several projects.
  • No need to go to an office, so no additional time costs.
  • There is an opportunity to choose with whom to work, what project to choose, or turn down.


  • No mentor and lack of live communication.
  • Unstable Earnings: Projects do not come every week.
  • Freelancers have to look for clients themself.
  • Do their bookkeeping and pay taxes.

Freelance platforms:

  1. Fiverr
  2. Upwork
  3. Freelancer
  4. Behance

5. Practice more

If you do not have the opportunity to do all the above, another option would be to practice your skills on your own. Some platforms offer various tasks that are aimed at developing design skills. Tasks come every day and they are always different. You choose how detailed your design should be, spend 2 or 8 hours if you want. Organizations often offer to share their work with other members to get feedback.


  • New tasks every day.
  • Opportunity to develop UI skills.
  • Opportunity to receive feedback on your work from colleagues.
  • 1 day = 1 new project in a portfolio.


  • You work on your own.
  • You won’t learn how to work in a team or with a manager.
  • No earnings.

Find your challenges :

  1. UXchallenge
  2. Daily UI
  3. UX tools
  4. Memorisely
  5. 100 Days Product Design
  6. Creative Challenge

In conclusion

What they all have in common is that junior designers get some experience that will be useful in the future. After you have tried one of the alternatives, you will have a broader idea of what the processes consist of. I hope this knowledge will help someone to sail through the interview in the future. It is a good opportunity to have at least one portfolio case if just to try at least one of the options. Last but not least one of the most important things is that it is a nice chance to meet new people.

I usually use LinkedIn because I often find out about interesting events from my contacts there. On the ADP list platform, you can find a design mentor who can help with CV or portfolio review.