How to start building a UX portfolio with zero experience?

I want to eventually become a UX/UI Designer. I currently have no experience in the field since my background is marketing. I’ve read on this site that experience often trumps education and strong portfolio of projects is important. How can I go about building my portfolio without a job in the UX/UI field?

Thank you!

Hey @justinnlorenc – welcome! :slight_smile:

You’ll find a whole lot of portfolio information by searching the portfolio tag.

One that might be particularly relevant to you is this one.

This article is also good – Point 6 covers your question.

Hope that helps! Feel free to ask more questions – as many as you like!


Check out Joel Marsh’s post How to Get UX Experience for more suggestions on getting experience and building a portfolio.


One thing I’d like to add is that it’s possible to make your own experience. When I was first starting in the design world, I made a point of creating my own projects that would broaden my horizons and give me something to show along the way.

My first big break came when the company I was working for began to recognize the need for better internal communications systems. I was working in a call center at the time, but took the initiative to learn a handful of development languages and design techniques, and began writing and reviewing code using Notepad and IE between calls.

My first go-round was absolute crap. As I refined my skills, I was able to build something that I was not only proud to put in my portfolio, but was able to pitch to my company C-Level management and end up with a promotion to design and development job (straight from the call center).

That’s rather an extreme example. I’d recommend sitting down and creating some very focused interfaces for very specific things. For instance, one of my recent projects was creating an interface that showed whether or not each Denver sports team had game that day. It was great to do some focused icon design work, to brainstorm a simple UX to swap between teams, and to play with a different designs that really made the experience fun.

One last thing to consider is pairing up with a budding developer, especially if you don’t have the coding knowledge to create every project yourself. You can do this by putting out feelers in your social network to see who might be up to work together on a project, or you may even look into a few open-source projects as well. Getting experience working with a development “team” (no matter the size) will put you a step ahead of someone fresh out of school with a good portfolio but no interdepartmental communication skills.

Hope that helps. Good luck!