3 ways to break into tech as a Product Designer
Whether you’re transitioning careers or breaking into the tech industry, here are 3 ways you can start your journey to becoming a Product Designer.
1. Find a mentor
When I started by career journey, I wanted to meet people in the UX industry! I wanted to pick their brain and ask them questions about important skills, interview tips, compensation and overall day-to-day life.
I highly recommend ADPlist to find a mentor. This platform has over 5000+ mentors ranging from big tech companies and small start-ups. It’s a great way to get connected and build your network.
2. Grow your skills
If you’re new to the field of product design, it’s important to start with basics. How do Product Designers think? How do they solve problems? What does the design process look like?
To understand this process, I recommend taking the IBM Enterprise Design Thinking Practitioner course. When I worked at IBM, this was the basic training course all designers took and it’s free!
Obtaining a degree or certification can be an excellent addition to your resume. My UX journey started with a Master’s degree from the Univeristy of Waterloo. Other resources can include design bootcamps such as BrainStation, Springboard and DesignLab. Do what works for you!
3. Build your portfolio
A portfolio is a must for any designer. It’s the best way to showcase your skills and should contain case studies that demonstrate your end-to-end design process. If you’re just starting out in the industry, I recommend 2–3 high quality case studies.
Here are some elements your portfolio should have:
- Tell a story: What problem are you trying to solve? Who are your target users? What’s the business problem?
- Product thinking: Show your design process through user research and different design iterations. Remember to show design tradeoffs you made and how the final product took shape.
- Focus on impact: How did your design make your product better? Did you meet your metrics? Most importantly, focus on the impact YOU made for the project. Specifically call out in team projects what you worked on.
Here’s an amazing portfolio example by my friend Janice who is a Master of Information student at the University of Toronto.
Product design is such an exciting field and I hope you found these tips helpful towards pursuing your own career journey in tech!
Good luck and happy designing!