UX is about process, not (necessarily) design. Your portfolio should highlight your process, with a focus on taking me from problem identification to solution implementation and analysis. That may involve some level of graphic design, but it doesn’t necessarily.
Only include design if it’s relevant to illustrating your solution or process; otherwise, omit it. If I see a portfolio of interfaces and design, my initial thoughts are that you are a graphic designer, not a UXer. That’s not the vibe you want to give off.
I like to think of learning software as part of a wider UX toolbox. Every piece you learn, you get to put in your toolbox and take out at the right moment for the right job.
Axure and Sketch are both widely used, and they’re great tools to have in the box. However, let’s think about what they accomplish versus what else you might need to be an effective UXer.
Axure is a rapid prototyping tool that can be used to create basic mockups or quick, hi-fidelity working prototypes of concepts. Sketch can be used for these things as well, but often has other uses to boot - such as building and maintaining pattern libraries and creating more powerful, in-depth interactive mockups.
What else might we need to do as UX professionals? Some pieces might include:
- Rapid, low fidelity (LoFi) prototyping
- Rapid, high fidelity (HiFi) prototyping
- Data Analytics
- Remote UX testing
- A/B testing
Here’s what I use for each of these pieces.
- Pen and Paper
- Whiteboard and marker
Remote UX Testing
WebEx (used to present, run, and record moderated testing sessions remotely)
A Word of Warning
These are the tools I have in my box; however, every company will have their own tools that they use and their own methods of going about performing each of these processes.
While learning to use these tools is important, what’s more important is understanding they why behind these tools. Why are they good for their particular uses? Why would I use one over the other? Being able to answer these questions goes far more to the core of what it means to be a UX professional.
While I’d encourage you to learn some of these tools, I’d encourage more that you understand the concepts behind using them.
I hope that’s all helpful! If I can answer any questions or provide any clarification, let me know