Is it a flag that a UXer might not be as practically experienced as another? Sure. It’s a mistake, however, to equate experience with skill, especially when it comes to those with solid education. Whether it’s a concept or actual production piece doesn’t matter to me so much, as long as it follows a set process and shows how a UXer approaches a problem.
I have the NDA problem out the wazoo. I currently work on a product that is not available to the general public, and I cannot share my work. My previous gig had agreements with each client (as I understand it) that prohibited me from sharing my designs, even if they were displayed publicly. Prior to that, I worked on a credit management system that was internal only and also not to be shared publicly.
It’s made building a portfolio very difficult.
My approach has been to write, make videos, and interact with the UX community as my means of showing my skills and thought process. I haven’t been actively looking for a job recently, so I honestly have no idea how well this will go over with future employers, should I ever want to leave my current role.
For what it’s worth, you can see my professional site at DenverUXer.com.