How To Be a Professional UX Designer In Singapore

UX designer

If you’re an empathetic listener, problem solver, creative type, or a combination of the three, then perhaps you should consider pursuing a career of UX design in Singapore.

UX designing is a hot career path, a burgeoning field that CNN ranked fourteenth as the most promising career paths.  It’s believed that in the next ten years, UX design positions would have risen by at least 18%.

It’s one of the most rewarding, interesting, challenging, lucrative, and sought-after career paths. You get to work in a team — and quite a lot, with the software you’ll be using to create compelling web experiences and apps.

It takes a lot of determination and hard work to be a competent UX designer. You have to be comfortable with sketch and Adobe. You have to be comfortable with interacting with a group of live users. And most importantly, be concerned with how they interact with your prototypes, mock-ups, and wireframes.

Let’s just say that becoming a UX designer is no easy feat. It’s a steep learning curve. A lot of challenges keep popping up along the way. It takes a lot of determination and love for what you do to continue pushing, even when you have all the reasons in the world to throw in a wet towel and try something else.

UX designer

So what exactly is UX designing?

A simple Google search on what UX designing is should present all manner of definitions. This is due to the fact that UX designing doesn’t come in black and white. It has so many layers to it that attract mixed reaction depending with which angle one is looking at it.

But in a general sense, UX designing is the art and science of designing the experiences that your users have with a product from the beginning to the end. As a UX designer, you’ll be using a series of programs such as illustrator, wireframes, mock-ups, sitemaps, and storyboards to do your job. Once done, you have to go ahead and test it out with a sample of users and use their opinions and reactions to adjust your design accordingly.

The Difference between UX designer and UI designer

A UX designer and UI designer are not the same, although people have this nasty habit of using them interchangeably. They’re however very close. Their use cases therefore overlap quite a lot. But while UX design focuses on user experience, UI design focuses on the interaction bit of it.

UX is all about the journey a user goes through while interacting with your product. UI, on the other hand, is more concerned with the manner at which users interact with the visual elements of your products.

If we were to use the analogy of a car to explain everything, then UX would be about the experiences of driving your car around. It would encompass everything – from looking at the car to sitting down to driving and parking it. It’s the logical, intuitive, and enjoyable experience of driving a car.

UI, on the other hand, would be about the manner at which the user interacts with the car – from touch and sight. It would be about ensuring everything, starting from the dashboard icons to side mirrors, to horn buttons, to the gas cap, release lever, and everything else is at their most logical places.

That explains why some people like to think of UI design as some subset of UX design.

Qualities of a Great UX designer

UX designing is not linked to any career path, community, or class. Anyone can excel in this field, but there are qualities that can determine your level of competence in the field, and they include:

Passion: To excel as a UX designer, then it should be much more than a hobby to you. It should be more than just a career, but something you’re really passionate about. It must feel like the air you breathe. You should be fascinated by the patterns and how everything works or how your users will be interacting with your products.

Empathy: UX designing also requires you to wear the experiences of users. You have to feel their experiences and frustration. Once in a while, try to put on their shoes and experience everything from their point of view. Understand why they’re having a problem interacting with your product and adjust it accordingly.

In other words, nothing you do is about how it feels to you, but the experiences your users have with it.

Humility: UX designing is not a one man’s journey. You have to be a team person. You have to know how to work with other people, collaborate with people from other departments, including UI designers, programmers, users, and C-level executives. The job requires that you absorb feedback from everyone you’re involved with, and know-how to apply them to your design for beautiful user experience.

Self-starting: No one will jump-start your career as a UX designer. You have to figure out everything on your own first. Start by teaching yourself the basics and doing a few projects to build your portfolio.

Be genuinely interested in Tech: You don’t have to be a techie to excel in UX designing, but you must be genuinely interested in matters tech. Be genuinely interested in how online users interact with technology in general, with a strong drive on how to make everything easy for them.

So how do you become a UX Designer in Singapore?

Starting a successful career as a UX designer is not always straightforward. Unlike other career paths, there’s no specific degree or course that you can take and earn the job title at the end of it all. With UX designing, so many different components do come into play.

Having said that, here’s our advice on how you can best approach it, and in what particular order:

Plan everything after you’ve carefully researched about it

This is the first step in establishing a successful career as a UX designer, and which people hardly talk about. You don’t just dive head-first into anything without first doing some little bit of research to find out what lies underneath it all.

Dig up all the industry resources you can lay your hands on and read up. The point is to get a feel of how the industry operates. Find blog posts, videos, and podcasts, and consume them all. Books should be your all-time friends in this.

If this is your first time dabbling in UX design, try doing a short taster course. Here’s a link to a course you can start with

This course is only meant to equip you with the mindset of a designer. You have to start thinking like a UX designer before you delve deeper into the field. 

Take a Nano-degree or a full course in UX designing

This is where things may begin to get a little complicated. You’ll be digesting more info and knowledge.

You don’t necessarily need a certificate or degree. Instead, what you should be more interested in is the skill you acquire. This is where you absorb loads of skills, principles, and methodologies. It’s where you learn how to get practical and build the designs. It’s also where you learn to work with different software and perfect your skill.

You may be required to do some little bit of background reading. If this is your first time, you need to come up with a structured plan comprising of curated content and a detailed lesson plan.

The next thing you’d want to do is find the right course. Try checking out with udacity, udemy, or skillshare and pick a course based on the reviews left behind. In which case, a good course should be able to take you through the necessary background, arranged in their rightful order. You need this structure to avoid getting lost along the way.

In other words, there should be a smooth flow of the information you digest. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time finding sense in the new things that you learn.

Even more important than what you learn is how you learn it. You’re not just absorbing content, but getting hands-on experience on the various aspects of UX designing. That means you should learn as you do. Every lesson that you learn must be equipped with the knowledge you need to create buyers’ personas or draw wireframes. So learn to embrace a more practical approach.

Forget about paper qualifications for a minute and focus on honing your practical skills. If anything, the people that will be hiring you won’t care a bit about your papers. All they’ll be interested in is that you’re able to transform their ideas into tangible products they can use. They’ll only care that you’re able to create things and that you’re conversant with various industry tools.

So forget about earning a degree, graduating, or earning better scores on paper and focus on making yourself more skilful.

Create a Portfolio

Your portfolio is the golden ticket to landing a lucrative UX design career. It’s what you’ll be using to demonstrate your skill and convince both employers and prospective clients to consider hiring you. In other words, it’s what other people use to gauge your expertise in the field of UX designing.

You don’t have to be a seasoned designer with years of hands-on experience. You can even create a portfolio as you learn. Pick a project that’s directly connected with what you’re learning and use it to gauge how well you’ve understood that particular lesson.

There’s a catch-22 in this, considering you’re not experienced enough to come up with something outstanding. Your skill and understanding is only bound to get better with time. But even with this, there’s a whole lot you can do with the little skill you’ve acquired. Don’t be afraid to show it off with the small, unsolicited mock-up projects you get.

Get Someone to mentor You

You need a mentor with almost everything that you do in life, not just UX designing. You need a mentor to show you the way and help you improve your designs and understand the finer details of what makes a great design. You also need a mentor to teach you about industry standards and how to navigate it.

The question running in your head right now is “where is this magical mentor going to come from.” How do you go about looking for one? Or rather, where can you find them?

You’re lucky if you have a UX designer within your immediate circle of friend or family members. Otherwise, you’ll have to look outside and figure out how to approach one. Start by looking for industry meet-ups on and find out if there’s anyone you can befriend and offer to become their understudy. Be sure to explain your situation.

Let them know that you’re new in the field and that you’re looking for someone to show you the ropes and offer you some valuable insights that may help you improve your projects.

Have the Right Story to tell Your Employers and Prospective Clients

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s certainly going to take you a long while before you land your first paying gig – unless you’re one lucky chap.

Speaking of which, how fast you land your first job will depend on how convincing you are. This demands that you come up with a convincing story that you’ll be using to sell yourself.

It doesn’t matter if you’re changing careers or fresh from high school; you must learn how to market yourself to both employers and clients. Find out what potential employers and clients are more interested in and adapt accordingly.

Figure out how to tell your story more convincingly. Create a flowing and cohesive narrative that clearly paints your progression into the field of UX. Start with what inspired you to consider this career path in the first place. Talk about your passion, and how everything you’ve been doing has been a learning curve for you.

Your resume must highlight all the key elements of UX. Talk about how your previous jobs have helped perfect the elements. The jobs don’t have to be necessarily related to UX designing. For instance, you can talk about how working as a nurse helped you to be more empathetic with everything and how you were able to transfer this one quality to your newfound career path.

Change your wording, the frame and point of reference all to reflect the mindset of a UX designer, and you’ll be on your way to landing your first designing gig with little effort on your part.

The Final Thought

Once you’ve jump-started your career in UX design, everything you do from that point henceforth must be one that betters your skill. You might also want to specialise by choosing between Information architecture, voice design, or crude UX.

Read this bearing in mind that UX design is a super-broad field. You can only be good at one thing and not everything involved. Hopefully, this post has helped you figure out how to proceed to the next step as you embark on this career path.

Get in touch with us for professional website design services in Singapore. 


Author Bio

Tom Koh is the CEO of MediaOne, a leading Asia digital agency. He comes packed with 2 decades of international digital marketing experience. In his spare time of maybe 20 minutes a day, he loves coaching, blogging about all things digital and trying to figure out how to make his dog do the roll.

September 20, 2019

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