How To Progress in The UX Industry



Hi Everyone!

My name is Umar. I am from the UK and I’m a software engineering student (Year 3/4) and have just begun my summer break. I’ve been working in a team setting as lead UX designer for the design of an app(similar to Eventbrite but more localised i.e. giving you a broad view of current events in specific cities geared towards a specific niche) ranging from gathering requirements to focus groups involved in the niche to uncover whether there really is a problem that the app could solve; all the way to creating a working prototype. Even though I can do all this, from start to prototype, I am only a beginner at adobe cc. What should I focus on if I love making wireframes and designing applications and websites?

Also, do you think I can get an internship based on what I have done, and what job roles they could be?
Here is a link to the prototype i have created :
Here is the link to my portfolio -

In addition to this, I have also been reading UX books. One of them being ‘Don’t make me think by Steve Krug.’ I have also been in attendance at one UX meetup so far and plan to attend many more.

I look forward to your replies!

When I grow up I want to be a UX Designer

Welcome @umarkhokhar_95 – great to have you on board. :slight_smile:

I’d love to hear your take on this @heather_wydeven

@SteveCrow has done some research into tools and what to learn, so he would potentially have an opinion on whether you pursue Adobe CC or consider other avenues.


I think it would be great for @umarkhokhar_95 to learn a tool like Sketch specifically made for wireframing (sounds like he will pick it up very quickly, it’s very easy), then learning Ilustrator and perhaps a bit of Photoshop too. That should provide a good foundation - but really there are so many tools, so many ways of doing things - the process, the thinking behind the design - is really what’s most important versus specifically the tool. Still I get it, employers scan resumes for what tools you know so that’s important too. Getting comfortable with drawing (boxes, arrows, simple controls) is a great skill to have too, we are NOT talking fine art illustration here


Thanks, Hawk; I appreciate the warm welcome and also for inviting Steve to answer my question.

Thanks for the suggestion Steve. I am looking into purchasing a Mac, so I guess I’ll start learning Ilustrator in the meantime? Thanks for the helpful tips, I’ll get right into it. I saw a course on Lynda for making UX low-fi designs on Adobe CC with boxes etc; I guess I’ll have a look at that.

Also, could both of you perhaps have a look at my portfolio, if its not too much trouble. I am intending to use it as a portfolio piece for applying for a UX internship; alongside my CV and Cover letter ofcourse :slight_smile:


I took a very quick look and here are my initial thoughts - I tried to look at it like a busy hiring manager would and the first idea I have for you is to try and think of your portfolio document like a presentation, like a story you are telling about yourself. You’ve got 20 seconds to tell me your story and…GO! tough right?

Playing the role of a busy manager, there is no way I am going to read all that information at the top, instead I scanned through it visually searching for keywords, trying to get a general impression.

The second thought I had was - where is the information about the user research that was done? Research is so fundamental to explaining HOW you came up with the high fidelity design you showed…

Let me share with you a link to this article and video which explains it all SO much better than I can:

There you can see what you are competing against. Now don’t get scared by what you see! Everyone will understand that you are at the very start of your new career, you don’t have a ton of experience to talk about yet and it’s probably not expected that your portfolio is going to be as polished as the ones in this video BUT many are approaching that good. How can you stand out?


Thanks for the meaningful advice Steve!

After looking at those portfolios, I am determined as ever to get a website up and running where I can show even more of my work!

Your response has really encouraged me to really get out of my comfort zone and start doing!

Thanks again Steve!


No worries, you are going to be just fine!


I had a look at your portfolio too, @umarkhokhar_95

Your imagery and process documentation are great. Do more of that! The text heaviness at the start is going to let you down.

Steve’s advice is bang on – I want to see at a glance who you are and what you’re passionate about. If you hook me with that in the first 5 seconds I’d be motivated to read on.

Great start though. :slight_smile:


Thanks for ultimately leading me to this forum! @HAWK

I received the email from you about the AMA on slack yesterday. Funnily enough, I was reading through the usability testing section in Steve Krug’s book. I proceeded to create a slack account (I was supposed to create one for a university module sponsored by a company - oops. More on that Later). Then, of course, I asked a question but was directed by yourself to ask it on this forum and am very glad to have found it.

About the University Module - I was actually a UX designer for that coursework project’s system design, [we won the prize for second place] ( (Scroll to the bottom, me in the blue chequered shirt :grinning: )


You’re welcome. I’m glad you found us. :slight_smile:


I’ve bothered you enough today, but I just want to ask one more question.

I’ve been considering getting an iMac (Strictly PC only user - developer side of me) for a while now.

Do you think it would be wise to purchase an iMac for UX/UI purposes?
Especially if I am really serious about shifting from Software Development to working in this industry and I see Mac experience written on some job reqs.


@umarkhokhar_95 Looks like you’ve gotten some great advice so far! In terms of tools, I’d echo what’s been said about learning Sketch. It’s a bit easier to tackle than Creative Suite and growing in popularity. I also agree with what’s been shared about the process being more important than the tools. Tools can be learned easily enough, but what makes you a great designer is the way you approach solving problems and communicating your designs.

As far as whether or not you should purchase a Mac… I think that’s a personal preference, though I will say most designers I know work on Macs.

You sound very motivated and like you’re doing the right things to further your experience. Keep it up!


I’m an ex-dev but I made the switch ~8 years ago and haven’t looked back. As Heather says, it’s definitely personal preference, but if I was you I’d do it! :wink:

I have an iMac but never use it, ever. I have a Macbook Air which is more than powerful enough for any work I’ve ever needed to do and my bf is a full stack dev and he uses an Air.