UX Graduates: Where to Start?

All your questions answered on how to land your first role as a UX practitioner/ designer:

UX Graduates

In the last year, User Experience Design (UX) in Singapore has risen both academically and commercially in popularity. Starting out as an organic movement within pockets of individual native practitioners sharing knowledge to businesses with transformation needs, coupled with self-instigation of the designer in visual or development remits to better understand product and services created via methods of human interaction with computers, UX has expanded to a point of interest across various trades and professions outside the usual design practices most are familiar with here.

With a necessity to discover user needs but having the lack of expertise locally, a small but growing acknowledgement from organizations and agencies to hire new graduates from this area, (even mid or early career transitionary types) seem to be emerging. Government bodies were also early adopters to UX, especially when there’s a connection where the practice plays a pivotal part in civil and public service design. Increasingly private as well as public institutions are providing courses related to UX for individuals that want to pursue this career path as a formal profession.

So, what happens after you’ve done that course? That’s always a thought on the minds of people we speak to and network with that are new to this practise. Over the next few weeks we will be covering all your questions to help you land your first role as a UX practitioner/ designer: 

Finding the right opportunity

Q: I’ve just completed my course in UX and learnt a bunch of things from research to wireframing and some front-end development even. It was great to get my hands into all components but really, I want to focus on a specific area. How do I get that message across?

As an entry level UX practitioner, we’d highly recommend you to be explorative and curious across the spectrum and gain deeper knowledge for executing UX projects end to end in a commercial/corporate environment. But if you want to emphasize a stronger interest in a specific area, you could:

  • Write a soft cover, not more than a couple of constructive sentences outlining the area that you want to focus on. Be as concise as possible.
  • On top of that, Your CV and portfolio should have reflective examples that draw attention to the focus areas. This can be illustrated by adding detail in narration on case studies in your portfolio and naming tools or software that are essential for the function in your resume. Example, for research and testing it could be eye tracking, ethnological research, card sorting, user interviews, test analysis, data extraction and reporting.

The list could go on, so be specific. Using keywords resonates better with the person viewing your application. You could also cater your application title to reflect the job brief. Be honest with yourself and never inflate your title just to match the job for the sake of it. Your UX portfolio above all will be the best indicator to the specialism you have the potential for.

Q: What type of businesses here are hiring UX people?

The majority of UX hiring in Singapore would be from financial sectors such as banking and insurance. Others include information technology and software companies developing both internal and external facing platforms, product companies both industrial and digital, management consultancies as well as interactive design agencies. 

Q: If I’m not getting the right response to my applications, what else can I do to get my foot into the door of this industry?

If you are really not getting much response after numerous applications, another way to breakthrough into the industry is to put yourself forward as an intern. Attend UX talks and meet ups to network yourself through word of mouth. Research companies that design products and services that you are passionate about and spread the word that you’re open to internships. Of course, this isn’t an option everyone can afford to propose, but it’s resilience and perseverance that will stand out above others in a growingly competitive space. It’s  big possibility that the hiring market is not able to accommodate your fresh experience at the time. Headcounts and budgets to bring in talent in are always changing, so while the market seems buoyant to adopt UX practitioners, the reality of over expectations from younger fresh graduates and mid-career switch applicants, coupled with the lack of roles in the right positions can cause disappointment – so be realistic.

We hope as an applicant you succeed in getting your first UX job!

While it’s unlikely new entrants to the job market in Singapore will be able to find a role through us, we hope to provide as much useful information to applicants by keeping abreast of shifts and trends in the industry. We’re also continuously building relations with academic institutions in preparation of talent immersion. If you’ve got your first gig and are looking to make the next shift, we’d be able to assist you in your job search more adequately, contact our UX consultant Fanny Yap or visit the Cogs job board for new opportunities across the region.

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