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Is UX Design Hard To Learn A Guide to Getting Started

Is UX Design Hard To Learn? A Guide to Getting Started

7 minute read | May 3, 2024
Meg Clayton

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Meg Clayton

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Launching a career in UX design can be challenging, especially when you consider the steep learning curve and whether or not you have a development and design background. If you don’t have a design background, then you may be wondering about what the field requires and how to build a career as a UX designer. What skills do you need to get started? How can you get better at UX design? 

You’ll find the answer to these questions, along with a lot of other useful information about UX design, in the guide below.

Is UX Design Hard to Learn?

Embarking on the journey to learn UX design may seem daunting at first, but it’s not inherently difficult with the right approach and resources. This field demands a blend of creative thinking, technical skills, and a deep understanding of user behavior, which can be mastered through practice and continuous learning.

Whether you have a background in design or are starting from scratch, the path to becoming proficient in UX design is paved with dedication and the willingness to immerse oneself in new concepts and tools. So, while it challenges your abilities, it also equips you with the skills necessary to make impactful, user-centered design decisions.

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What Makes UX Design Hard To Learn?

It can be challenging to learn UX design for several reasons, including:

  • Changing careers. The requirements of UX design may be very different from what you do in your current profession. If your current job is far from design-related, this shift could prove challenging. However, dedication to learning and taking a few courses should make the process easier.
  • It can be challenging to find resources. Although there are plenty of UX design-related resources available online, aspiring learners find it challenging to find and access the tools and resources they need. New trends and updates in tools and software are constant and it’s difficult for beginners to find a definitive answer on what they should be using. Not to mention, not all online content is created equal and it takes time and knowledge to get a feel for what’s trustworthy. That leads to many people seeing UX design as a difficult field.

How Long Does It Take To Learn UX Design?

Becoming a UX designer isn’t necessarily a long process. It usually takes two to four years to become a UX designer, even without a bachelor’s or master’s degree. You can take an introductory design course and then hone your skills through a UX/UI design certification course

If you have formal education in the design or development fields, you can learn the fundamental aspects of UX design in a shorter time, such as a year or a few months.

This can be enough to land you an entry-level position where you’ll continue to study, learn from your surroundings, and develop your skills. Being a constant learner is essential to staying valuable and relevant within the field.

How To Get Started With UX Design

If you already have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in design and development, you can go ahead and take an advanced course or certification to polish your skills and improve your resume. But if you’re a beginner, here’s what you need to do to get started.

  • Take a Course

    Advance your UX knowledge with online courses taught by industry experts, designed to improve your design thinking and prototyping skills. These courses will help you understand user needs better and learn the workings of a UX design team, aligning your outputs with business objectives.

  • Build Your Foundation

    Start your UX journey by mastering key design basics like composition and color theory through books and online courses. Develop an online portfolio to showcase your understanding of accessibility and user-centered design, and learn about the roles of UX designers to guide your career path.

  • Utilize Free Sources

    Explore the vast array of free UX resources available online, including video tutorials on YouTube and insightful articles on Medium and Dribbble. Dive into free e-books that cover interaction design, usability testing, and other essentials to enhance your design skills comprehensively.

  • Ask for Help

    Seek advice from experienced UX designers to understand industry trends and avoid common pitfalls. Their insights can help refine your approach to UX design, ensuring a smoother transition into the field and aiding your professional growth.

How To Get Better at UX Design

Here are some ways to improve your UX design skills to remain competitive and ensure job progress.

Find a Mentor

A mentor can help you improve your user interface design skills and provide you with valuable feedback. They can help you get better at creating effective user experience designs people would love to use.

Remember that learning from a mentor doesn’t end when you finish your course or UX design bootcamp. It’s an ongoing process because even the best designers will continue to learn over time.

Build a Portfolio

Your portfolio represents who you are as a UX designer. Before you begin applying for jobs, build a portfolio that showcases the best work you’ve done and the breadth of projects you’re capable of tackling. You can create a portfolio website with free web hosting services like WordPress or Squarespace if needed, but a professional-grade portfolio is always worth the investment. The way you present your portfolio as a designer will impact how viewers respond to it, and a paid tool with no advertisements or design limitations will do a much better job of allowing your work to shine.

Stay Up-to-Date With New Tools

Make sure you’re knowledgeable about new UX design trends and tools, along with their usage. With new tools released frequently, you must be up-to-date on the latest trends to create better designs and improve user experience.

Find a Specialty

Are you more inclined towards UX research, or would you prefer working as a UX writer? After taking a course and building your foundation, you can decide which specialty you’re interested in. Some options include:

Focus on Your Soft Skills

Besides your core UX design skills, it’s also important to hone soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. UX design is a team effort, and you’ll need to communicate effectively with other designers, clients, and stakeholders to get your work done.

Problem-solving skills are essential as they allow you to develop solutions for various problems that may arise during the design process. Critical thinking will help you evaluate designs critically and create better solutions.

Get To Know Other Design Students

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What Are the Requirements To Get Into UX Design?

The basic requirements to get into UX design include:

  • A strong understanding of design principles—such as balance, typography, colors, and contrast—clearly demonstrated in a professional portfolio.
  • Knowledge of UX design tools such as Figma, Sketch, Invision, Balsamiq, etc.
  • Knowledge of common software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Experience in user research, including quantitative and qualitative data collection.
  • Understanding of brand design, including brand palettes, style guides, and logos.
  • Knowledge of wireframing and prototyping.

It used to be the case that hiring managers asked for a degree in graphic design, human-computer interaction, or a related field. But now, it’s very common to see successful UX designers who don’t have a degree in the subject. It’s more important to have the required skills and demonstrate your dedication to UX design, all of which you can learn from a bootcamp.

Differences Between UX Design, UI Design, and UX Research

To navigate the fields of user experience, it’s crucial to distinguish between UX Design, UI Design, and UX Research. Each discipline plays a unique role in the creation of digital products, focusing on different aspects of user interaction and design. Below is a comparative overview designed to clarify the primary focuses, key responsibilities, and tools used by professionals in these areas.


Is UX Design a Good Career?

UX design is a great career option, as it offers stable growth projections. The demand for UX designers is surging and will only increase in the future as more users rely on digital products to complete tasks every day. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobs for UX designers are estimated to grow by 8%.

How long does it take to learn UX design?

The time it takes to learn UX design can vary based on your background and commitment. Generally, it takes anywhere from a few months to two years to acquire the necessary skills to become a proficient UX designer. Beginners might start with basic online courses and gradually move to more advanced studies, such as bootcamps or certifications. Continuous learning and practical experience are key to advancing in this field.

Can you transition into UX design with no prior design experience?

Yes, transitioning into UX design without a design background is entirely possible. Many successful UX designers have come from non-design disciplines. Start by learning the fundamental principles of design and user experience through online courses and resources. Engage in practical exercises like redesigning existing products or taking on small freelance projects. Networking with other designers and participating in design communities can also provide invaluable insights and opportunities.

Does UX Design Pay Well?

UX design is a high-confidence job, and designers earn $115,743 per year on average in the United States. Even the UX designers on the lower end of the job scale can make up to $81k per year.
A survey showed that 84% of product designers got a salary raise in the last year or two. Professionals also expect a 20% salary hike in the coming years.

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About Meg Clayton

Meg Clayton is a UX/UI Designer specializing in smart-home experiences, connected consumer products, and mobile applications. She is with Keurig Dr Pepper, leading the IOT UX/UI design strategy for connected coffee makers and mobile apps. She previously was with Whirlpool Corporation, where she worked on brands such as KitchenAid, Maytag, Whirlpool, JennAir, Amana, and more. She has experience working cross-functionally with engineers and software developers, marketing teams, and global product teams to deliver experiences to the market.