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How to Become a UI/UX Designer in 2023: A Step by Step Guide

14 minute read | September 14, 2023
Sakshi Gupta

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Sakshi Gupta


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Great user interface designers create seamless, pleasurable product experiences that center user needs, ensuring user loyalty to a product or brand. Because great design is integral to the success of a product or brand, UX/UI designers are in high demand. And given our growing reliance on digital interfaces, that demand for UX/UI designers is only going to grow too. 

But while it’s clear that UX/UI designers are in demand, the path to becoming a UX/UI designer isn’t as clear-cut. Many pursue a self-taught learning path, which is a totally visible way to become a UX/UI designer, but can seem a bit daunting at first. 

If you want to know how to become a UI designer or UX designer, start with this guide. Below, we’ll detail how you can teach yourself the tenets of UI/UX design and ultimately land your dream job.

Who Should Become a UX designer?

A UX designer is a crucial part of the design process, responsible for creating user-friendly and intuitive experiences. To excel in this role, a UX designer should possess a range of aptitudes including:

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Soft Skills, Like Empathy

A UX designer needs to empathize with users, understanding their goals, motivations, and pain points. By putting themselves in the users’ shoes, the UX designer can design experiences that truly meet their needs.

User Research

A UX designer should have a strong aptitude for conducting user research. A UX designer has to gather insights through interviews, surveys, and usability testing, enabling them to make informed design decisions based on user feedback.

Information Architecture

A UX designer should have a solid understanding of organizing and structuring information. They should be able to create intuitive navigation systems and logical content hierarchies that facilitate easy user interaction.

Interaction Design

A UX designer should possess a deep understanding of how users interact with digital products. They must be skilled at designing user interfaces (UI) that are visually appealing, functional, and easy to use. This requires a combination of UX design principles and user interface design skills.


User interface design experts need to be proficient in prototyping tools and techniques. A UX designer should be able to quickly create interactive prototypes to test and validate design concepts with users, allowing for iterative improvements based on feedback.


Soft skills are essential for any UX designer, as they often work closely with cross-functional teams including developers, product managers, and stakeholders. Effective communication, active listening, and teamwork are crucial for successful collaboration and ensuring that design goals align with business objectives.

Analytical Thinking

UX designers should have strong analytical skills to interpret user research data, identify patterns, and draw meaningful insights. This aptitude allows a UX designer to make data-driven design decisions and continuously improve the user experience.


UX designers must possess a knack for problem-solving. They should be able to identify user pain points, brainstorm creative solutions, and iteratively refine designs to address those challenges effectively.

Enjoy the Iterative Design Process

UX designers should be familiar with the iterative design process, which involves continuously testing and refining designs based on user feedback. This aptitude allows the UX designer to create user-centered designs that evolve and improve over time.


The field of UX design is constantly evolving, with new technologies and design trends emerging regularly. UX designers should have an aptitude for staying updated on the latest industry developments and be adaptable to incorporate new tools and techniques into their design process.

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UI/UX design syllabus

What Does a UI/UX Designer Do?

User experience and user interface designers use design thinking to understand users, define their problems, and create innovative solutions that can be prototyped and validated through testing. As part of the UI/UX design process, designers conduct user research and create wireframes, prototypes, and mockups. Designers also facilitate user testing to gauge how users interact with a design solution. 

Can You Become a UI/UX Designer on Your Own?

Yes! Self-taught UX/UI designers exist, but learning user experience or user interface design on your own can be difficult. You’ll need to create your own learning path, which can be a fraught process without any prior design knowledge. Because of the difficulties of this, many choose to instead enroll in UI/UX design bootcamps or UX certification programs, where you’ll also be able to develop a professional design portfolio with the help of an industry-expert mentor, like a UI design lead or UX team leader. But if you’re committed to the self-taught path, then read on! 

What Is the Average UI Designer Salary?

UI designer salary range

User interface design professionals with less than a year’s experience will earn around $59,143 per annum in the USA. People that are more senior will probably earn around $95,000 per year. Having said that, the salary for a UI designer can vary depending on where you live and how much experience you have.

UI designer salary by years of experience

How To Become a UI Designer or UX Designer

Want to become a UI/UX designer but don’t know where to start? Let’s break down the process step by step.

  1. Take a Course

  2. Make a List of Your Career Interests

  3. Build Your Foundational Skills

  4. Develop Soft Skills

  5. Reinforce Your Skills with Free Resources

  6. Design Products That Align with Your Interests

  7. Get Feedback on Your Designs

  8. Get Real-World Experience

  9. Combine Everything into Your Resume & Professional Portfolio and Apply for Jobs

  10. Stay Updated

  11. Job Search and Career Paths

1. Take a Course

Embarking on a UI/UX design course like Springboard’s offers invaluable advantages for aspiring designers. It equips you with a structured curriculum, honing essential skills and concepts. Through hands-on projects, mentorship, and constructive feedback, you rapidly accelerate your learning curve. Moreover, courses often provide industry connections and internship opportunities, elevating your job prospects and ensuring a solid foundation for a thriving career in UI/UX design.

2. Make a List of Your Career Interests 

Think about your passions and transferable skills. Are you interested in graphic design? Are you obsessed with typography and color theory? If you have an eye for design, you might be interested in a career as a visual designer. On the other hand, if you’re curious about human-computer interaction and find yourself thinking about ways to make digital products easier to use, you might be interested in interaction design. UI/UX skills will open up a variety of career paths within the design industry. 

3. Build Your Foundational Skills

UI/UX design courses like Springboard’s UI/UX Design Career Track can help you master design fundamentals and develop the practical skills you need to get hired. Students enrolled in bootcamp programs like Springboard learn to use Figma, Sketch, and other industry-standard design tools. Each student is also paired with a design mentor to guide them through the curriculum, which covers all phases of product development. 

UI designers need to understand how users interact with digital interfaces. Study interaction design principles to create interfaces that are easy to navigate and intuitive to use. Familiarize yourself with techniques such as information architecture, wireframing, and prototyping to effectively communicate your design ideas.

A key aspect of UI design is understanding the needs and preferences of the target audience. Learn how to conduct user interviews, surveys, and usability testing to gather insights that will inform your design decisions. User research helps you create interfaces that are tailored to the users’ goals and expectations.

4. Develop Soft Skills

UI designers need to collaborate effectively with cross-functional teams, including UX designers, developers, and project managers. Develop strong communication and interpersonal skills to effectively convey your design ideas and work well within a team. Additionally, cultivate skills such as problem-solving, time.

5. Reinforce Your Skills with Free Resources

Use free design tutorials to sharpen your technical skills and brush up on basic principles of design. Experiment with free resources like:

  • HackdesignThis free resource offers lessons focused on specific areas of UI/UX design, including typography, mobile app analytics, content strategy for interfaces, designing with code, and more. Hackdesign’s lessons are created by top designers involved with companies like Airbnb, Tech Crunch, and more. Design challenges, tool guides, and more are included. 
  • Figma. Figma offers a collection of design exercises and practice files. Use this free resource to brush up on developing user storyboards, reducing complexity, creating design briefs and mood boards—and more. Figma’s content covers design thinking, accessibility, user research, and other key components of effective UI/UX design. 
  • UX Project Checklist. From icon usability to micro-interactions, this Github resource covers every component of a successful design project. Use this checklist to evaluate your projects and see where you can make improvements. If you’re stuck or want to learn more about different project components, the checklist offers deep-dive articles on each item. 

6. Design Products That Align with Your Interests

Designing products that dovetail with your passions and unique domain knowledge can help you land a job in that sector. So if you’re a foodie, then create an app that helps users find new pop-up restaurants in your city. Apply this approach to the types of projects you tackle as well. If you’re interested in UI design, focus on creating mockups with beautiful interfaces. If you’re interested in user research, dig into user interviews and create strong user personas. Envision the job you want and tailor your work to your ideal design career path. 

7. Get Feedback on Your Designs

Join a design community to ask questions about and get feedback on your design projects. You’ll also be able to use these forums to network. You might even build relationships with designers who could connect you with a future employer. Vibrant design communities include: 

  • UX Stack Exchange. This question-and-answer forum caters to UX designersUX researchersinformation architects, and interaction designers. From usability to interaction design, each post on the forum is tagged by subject matter, which makes information retrieval a breeze. 
  • Designer Hangout. This invitation-only network is recommended by industry experts like Jared Spool and Laura Klein. As part of Designer Hangout, you’ll get feedback on your designs as well as opportunities to progress your career through networking. 
  • Dribbble. Dribble is a community of designers sharing their work. Other users can leave suggestions or praise for your design through comments on the platform. 

8. Get Real-World Experience

Practical experience goes a long way in the eyes of potential employers. To demonstrate your technical skills, you’ll need to bring your designs to life with real projects and collect these projects into a portfolio that you can show to hiring managers. Try redesigning your favorite websites to improve usability, consistency, or user control. Get a design internship, or offer your services as a designer to friends, family, and local businesses free of charge. 

9. Combine Everything into Your Resume & Professional Portfolio and Apply for Jobs

Once you’ve built a resume and compiled your best work in an online portfolio, you’ll be ready to design jobs. Search for opportunities using industry-specific job boards like UX Jobs BoardAngelList. Reach out within your network for connections to prospective employers. If you enroll in a career-focused bootcamp program like Springboard’s UI/UX Design Career Track, a career coach will help you build your resume and create a job search strategy. 

10. Stay Updated

UI design is a rapidly evolving field, with new trends and technologies emerging regularly. Stay updated with the latest design trends, tools, and best practices by reading industry blogs, attending design conferences, and participating in online design communities. Continuous learning and staying current with industry developments will help you stay competitive as a UI designer.

11. Job Search and Career Paths

Once you have built a strong portfolio and acquired the necessary skills, start searching for UI design opportunities. Look for job openings in design agencies, tech companies, or startups. Career paths in UI design can vary, with opportunities to specialize in areas such as mobile app design, web design, or even move into UX design or management roles. Explore different career paths and identify the areas that align with your interests and goals.

Get To Know Other Design Students

Jeffrey Surban

Jeffrey Surban

UX Designer at Citi

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Dominick Andre

Dominick Andre

UX Designer at Fidelity Investments

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Josh Abenojar

Josh Abenojar

Senior Consultant, User Experience Design at Booz Allen Hamilton at Booz Allen Hamilton

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Learn From the Experts: How To Become a UI/UX Designer

Wondering how to approach your design journey? Take cues from professional designers who made the jump. Here are a few videos in which pro designers discuss how they launched their careers:

Brandon Groce. In this video, designer and Adobe Partner Brandon Groce explains how he built his design career from the ground up and offers tips to help viewers do the same:

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Nicky Arthur. In this video, Springboard grad Nicky Arthur explains how she transitioned from graphic design into user experience design. She discusses her career switch as well as her passion for research and usability testing: 

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Pete Bruno. In this video, Springboard grad Pete Bruno explains his journey from working in construction to working in UX design. He talks about the importance of building a strong portfolio, how to evaluate design challenges, and more: 

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Available UI/UX Jobs

Once you’re ready to start your career in UX/UI design, you can apply for a number of jobs:

User Experience Designer

User experience (UX) designers are responsible for the overall experience that users have with a product or service. They work with stakeholders to understand user needs and then create designs that are both functional and enjoyable to use.

User Interface Designer

User interface (UI) designers are responsible for the look and feel of a product or service. They work with UX designers to create designs that are both visually appealing and easy to use.

UX Researcher

UX researchers conduct research to understand user needs and behavior. They use this information to inform the design of products and services.

UX Writer

UX writers are responsible for the written content of a product or service. They work with UX designers to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

UX Architect

UX architects are responsible for the overall structure and navigation of a product or service. They work with UX designers and UX researchers to create designs that are both user-friendly and efficient.

UX Engineer

UX engineers are responsible for the implementation of UX designs. They work with UX designers and UX researchers to ensure that designs are implemented in a way that is both user-friendly and technically feasible.

Pete, Reyna, and Valena

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Look to Springboard.

Springboard is an online tech learning platform that provides everything you need to land a job as an analyst, designer, or developer. Including a Job Guarantee.

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FAQs About Becoming a UI/UX Designer

Read on for answers to frequently asked questions about how to launch a design career.

How Long Does It Take To Learn UI/UX Design?

Designers rarely hold formal degrees in UI/UX. Most enroll in bootcamp programs to build the skills they need to get hired. This type of design program will typically require six to nine months of study, depending on your schedule, pace, and learning style.

Self-learning will likely take longer, as you’ll need to build your own curriculum, answer your own questions, and separate the wheat from the chaff when evaluating resources, exercises, tutorials, and advice.

Can You Get a UI/UX Job With No Experience?

It is possible to get a UI/UX job with no professional experience, but you’ll need an outstanding portfolio to do so. If you enroll in a design bootcamp, you’ll be able to build applied skills through hands-on, project-based learning.

As a student in Springboard’s UI/UX Design Career Track, you’ll gain job-ready skills through mini projects, four portfolio projects, and a 40-hour industry design project that solves a business problem for a real company. In addition to honing your technical skills, these projects will comprise the professional design portfolio that you need to get hired.

What is UX design?

UX design, or User Experience design, encompasses a multifaceted approach to crafting digital products and interfaces that prioritize user needs, preferences, and interactions. At its core, UX design is centered around enhancing the overall user experience by seamlessly blending aesthetics, functionality, and usability. This iterative and user-centric process involves a series of strategic steps and considerations to create meaningful and engaging interactions.

User Research: UX design begins with thorough user research, where designers delve into the target audience’s behaviors, motivations, and pain points. This foundation ensures that UX design decisions are rooted in user insights.

Persona Development: Creating user personas helps UX design experts empathize with diverse user segments, guiding the design process to address specific needs and aspirations.

Information Architecture: Organizing content and features in a logical and intuitive manner ensures that users can navigate through the product with ease, finding what they need effortlessly.

Wireframing and Prototyping: UX design experts visualize the structure and layout of the product through wireframes and prototypes, allowing for early testing and validation of concepts.

Usability Testing: UX design involves rigorous usability testing, where real users interact with prototypes, uncovering potential issues and opportunities for improvement.

Visual Design: UX design involves crafting visually appealing and cohesive interfaces involves creating a harmonious blend of colors, typography, imagery, and iconography to enhance user engagement.

Interaction Design: UX design defines how users interact with elements, ensuring that interactions are intuitive, seamless, and aligned with user expectations.

Responsive Design: UX design involves creating designs that adapt gracefully to various devices and screen sizes guarantees a consistent and enjoyable experience across platforms.

Accessibility: Inclusive UX design considers accessibility, making products usable by individuals with disabilities, promoting equal access to information and functionality.

Microinteractions: UX design involves adding microinteractions—small, subtle animations and feedback—to enhance user engagement and delight.

Iterative Design: The UX design process is iterative, involving continuous testing, feedback, and refinement to ensure the product evolves in alignment with user needs.

Collaboration: In UX design, designers collaborate closely with stakeholders, developers, and other team members to ensure a holistic and cohesive design approach.

User-Centered Focus: Above all, UX design maintains a user-centered focus, valuing the end user’s perspective and striving to create products that resonate, satisfy, and resonate with their needs, aspirations, and preferences.

What Do You Do As a UX designer?

UX design professionals perform various tasks:

A UX designer must conduct user research to understand the needs and motivations of users
A UX designer must design user flows and wireframes to map out the user journey
A UX designer must create prototypes of products and services to test with users
A UX designer must gather feedback from users and iterate on designs
A UX designer must collaborate with other UX design professionals, developers, and product managers to bring products and services to market

UX design professionals need to have a strong understanding of user experience principles and best practices, as well as experience with a variety of UX design tools and technologies. UX design professionals also need to be able to work independently and as part of a UX design team.

What Can I Do To Prepare For a Career as a UX Designer?

If you are interested in a career in UX design, there are a few things you can do to prepare:

Earn a degree in computer science, design, or a related field
Gain experience in UX design through internships, volunteer work, or personal projects
Get certified in UX design, such as the User Experience Professional Association (UXPA) Certified User Experience Designer (UXD) certification
Stay up-to-date on the latest UX design trends and best practices

Completing a UX design bootcamp is a great way to launch your career as UX designer.

Can I Specialize as a UX Designer?

There are many different specializations that you can pursue as a UX designer. Some of the most common specializations include:

Interaction design: Interaction designers focus on the way that users interact with products and services. This type of UX designer will design user interfaces, gestures, and other interactions to be as efficient and enjoyable as possible.
Visual design: Visual designers focus on the look and feel of products and services. This type of UX designer will create the visual elements of products and services, such as typography, color palettes, and imagery.
Information architecture: Information architects focus on the organization and structure of information. This type of UX designer will design the way that information is presented to users so that it is easy to find and understand.
User research: User researchers focus on understanding the needs and motivations of users. This type of UX designer will conduct user research through interviews, surveys, and usability testing to gather data that can be used to improve the user experience of products and services.
UX writing: UX writers focus on the words that are used in products and services. This type of UX designer will write clear and concise text that helps users to understand how to use products and services.

As you can see, UX design can open up several careers! Look for a UX design bootcamp that offers insight into different career paths to find the one that’s right for you.

Since you’re here…
Not sure where you’ll find the time to learn UX and UI skills? We’re here to help. Our fully flexible UI/UX Design Bootcamp takes just 12-15 hours a week over 6 months and is proven to increase student salaries by $25,033 on average per annum. We’ve helped over 10,000 students make the switch without quitting their day jobs – shouldn’t you be next? Jump in today with our free design fundamentals course

About Sakshi Gupta

Sakshi is a Managing Editor at Springboard. She is a technology enthusiast who loves to read and write about emerging tech. She is a content marketer with experience in the Indian and US markets.