From Savannah Carlin
⚡ If you’re trying to switch into the a UX or product design role, you’ll probably see job descriptions that say “2+ years design experience” for even junior roles. This can feel discouraging since it’s hard to get design experience without just...getting a design job. Read on for some creative ways to get “real-world” design experience.
The first few freelance projects are the hardest, but after you get a few you can start to build up a network and great case studies. Here’s two ways to get your first few clients:
- Research local small businesses, share some opportunities you see on their current website/app, and see if they would be interested in working with you to make those improvements
- Find lists of startups in your area or an industry you’re in, (crunchbase.com and angel.co are great), also startup accelerators and incubators. Pre-seed/seed startups will often be open to ideas for UX improvements and engaging freelance designers
Volunteer projects are great ways to get experience on a cross-functional team
Virtual volunteering with nonprofits
Find nonprofit projects that need UX design
Tech For Campaigns
Volunteer for tech teams helping progressive political campaigns
- Research local nonprofits or ones aligned with causes you care about, and reach out to see if they could use help with things like their website’s information hierarchy, donation flow, or other area
- Reach out to students in bootcamp programs for software engineering/software development. Partner with them to design and build a simple app together.
- Participate in cross-functional hackathons, when the hackathon is over, continue to work on the concept
- Build your own app with no-code tools like Notion, Coda, Zapier, Webflow, and Squarespace. Share your project with others in your industry for feedback and visibility