UX design is a rapidly growing field, making it an attractive career option for many. Yet, entering this domain can be daunting. One effective way to gain a foothold is through a UX design internship, which offers real-world experience and networking opportunities.
This comprehensive guide aims to equip you with all the information you need to secure the ideal internship and make the most of it. We’ll delve into the perks of being a UX intern, where to find these opportunities, the skills you’ll need, and the various career trajectories available to you.
Max Overton, a Design Recruiter at Amazon, emphasizes the value of internships: “The rising demand for UX designers is a double-edged sword; it offers more chances but also intensifies competition. An internship can give you a distinct advantage.”
Understanding UX Internships
A UX internship is a short-term role that allows you to work within a company to acquire practical UX design skills. These internships usually last a few months and involve working on actual projects with seasoned designers. The goal is to offer newcomers hands-on exposure and skill development, preparing them for full-time roles in UX design.
Why Choose a UX Internship?
Interning in UX design offers numerous advantages. It gives you the chance to learn from experts, work on impactful projects, and network within the industry. Moreover, internships can help you identify your strong suits and areas that need improvement, thanks to feedback from experienced designers.
According to the Journal of UX Leadership, 79% of UX leaders expect the demand for UX skills to rise in their organizations in the next one to two years.
Types of UX Internships
When looking for an internship, knowing your preferred industry can narrow down your options. Generally, you can choose between:
- Design Agencies: These firms serve multiple clients, offering you a broad range of experiences.
- In-House Design Teams: These companies focus on their own products or services, allowing you to specialize in specific projects.
Both types have their merits. Agencies offer diverse experiences, beneficial for future full-time roles, while in-house teams let you delve deeply into a single brand’s projects.
Where to Find Opportunities
Securing a UX internship can be a task, but multiple resources can aid your search. Job boards like Dribbble, AIGA, and Coroflot are good starting points. Company websites often list internships under their careers section. Networking, both online and at industry events, can also uncover hidden opportunities.
Eight Platforms for UX Internship Searches
- Dribbble’s Design Job Board
- UXUIJobs.com (you’re here now!)
Essential Skills for UX Interns
To succeed as a UX intern, you’ll need a specific skill set:
- Design Thinking: Understand and apply this problem-solving methodology.
- User Research: Be proficient in conducting research to understand user behavior.
- Wireframing and Prototyping: Familiarize yourself with tools like Sketch, Figma, or Adobe XD.
- Visual Design: Maintain a strong aesthetic sense that aligns with brand guidelines.
- Communication: Effectively convey your ideas to team members.
- Problem-Solving: Be prepared to tackle complex issues.
- Adaptability: Stay flexible and open to learning in a fast-paced setting.
Career Paths in UX Design
As a UX intern, you can explore various career options:
- UX Designer
- UX Researcher
- UX Writer
- UX Strategist
- UX Manager
Understanding these roles can help you set long-term career goals.
UX Internship vs. Apprenticeship
While similar, internships and apprenticeships differ in structure, formality, and compensation. Apprenticeships usually offer more in-depth training and are often paid, whereas internships may or may not offer financial compensation. Your choice between the two will depend on your individual goals and circumstances.
UX design is a dynamic and rewarding field. An internship can be an invaluable stepping stone, offering hands-on experience and networking opportunities. By mastering essential skills and understanding your career options, you can pave the way for a successful future in UX design.
What Does a UX Intern Typically Do?
Tasks vary but usually include user research, wireframing, prototyping, and collaborating with other team members.
How Does a UX Internship Differ from Freelancing?
Internships offer structured learning within a company, while freelancing involves project-based work as an independent contractor.
How to Prepare for a UX Internship?
Focus on understanding design principles, familiarizing yourself with design tools, and honing soft skills like communication and collaboration.
Is Experience Required for a UX Internship?
While beneficial, experience is not always mandatory. Many companies offer training and value qualities like a strong work ethic and a passion for UX design.