How to start building your first portfolio when you do not have any experience...?


Hi there!

Hope you all had a good day.

Last year I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Applied Psychology and since then I am interested in working in UX field. I work in recruitment and do not have any experience in UX. I read some books, articles, etc., did some tutorials and I figured out that portfolio almost often is a key to professional UX career. Due to the fact I do not have any experience at all, I still do not know where should I start. I am really motivated to move to that field (not only because of being tired of my current job :D), so I would really appreciate your help.

If someone could tell me:

  1. Is it possible to build a good portfolio without working on any professional projects? How should I start?
  2. Do you know any online course related to building your first UX portfolio?
  3. Or maybe do you know someone / are someone who needs an UX intern to help them on some projects?

I would be very grateful if you could help me.

Thanks in advance!


A career change

Hi @justyna182

To answer your first question - yes it’s easy to start and with UX it’s all about process.

I would suggest reading up on the process of developing a UX design from brief to prototype. This will give you a good platform into understanding what would be required of you from a job perspective.

For example: Brief > Research > Ideation > Feedback > Design > Feedback

As for your portfolio - I would suggest using a simple web builder like squarespace, wordpress or WIX (I’m assuming you haven’t learnt to code yet - so this should ease the pressure off when putting your portfolio together).

Look at other portfolio sites that are out there and see how they lay their sites out. - look at this site to show examples of how existing sites are laid out and why they are laid out like that. Good content for your portfolio site is actually writing about your findings from sites you’ve come across online.

As you’ve graduated from your Master’s degree - congratulations - draw from that experience and write about how that links to user behaviour and ultimately improved user experience.

In terms of the adding actual content to your site perhaps look at : which I used as examples of design briefs and how you would go about suggesting the UX/UI for it.

In summary - it’s all about your take on UX and how you would suggest ways to improve a users experience.

Hope that starts you off in the right direction :slight_smile:


@annabelle_andre has some really excellent points here. I’d add a few things:

1.) To help new UXers get some experience and networking in the UX world, I’m running a UX project around fixing the airline boarding process. Hopefully it’ll be a great practical experience piece that you can put in your portfolio while also helping you gain some worldwide contacts as well. If you’d like to join in, we’d love to have you! Drop by to find out more.

2.) @joenatoli runs an excellent class on portfolio building. Check out

3.) See above :slight_smile:

If I can do anything to give you a hand, let me know!


Hi @justyna182,
Just adding on to what the others have said:

  1. Another online portfolio course is,
  2. Do volunteer work. You can find projects on and
  3. It is important to understand the UX process and they why behind why and when certain activities are done. See if you can find a mentor as well.


I could give you some advice on how to build a website–maybe we can trade knowledge and skills. Here’s my online portfolio:
I did it with a templating system called Bootstrap, and I purchased the template for $10 but I already know web design and development so all I had to do was customize it. Since I wasn’t looking for a web design job I didn’t minify my files or optimize my images, but I know exactly what to do regarding stuff like that.
So maybe we could Skype or talk on the phone–
Reach out to me via email if you’re interested. I hope that you do, because if anything, I’m looking to network.



Hi @justyna182

A really good place to start your UX career is
It is somewhat expensive ($6000 for tuition) but they really do start you off on the right foot. It’s a course that’s broken down into many little digestible parts, and it covers a broad scope of field. CF also has a job guarantee within 6 months of graduating from the course, which is why I originally chose this course.
There’s nothing like hands-on experience when trying to apply for a job and this course lets you do that. At the end you’ll end up with a portfolio that’s ready to be shown to anybody working in HR at the company of your choice.
I know you’ve just graduated from your Master’s program, but CF might be a good place for you to start your career in UX if you’re serious.

Best of luck!


Hi @justyna182,

Lots of great advice already, but I wanted to point you to a specific article by Joe Natoli that may help:



Thank you all for your advices and being so helpful! <3 It’s really nice of you!
Now I have some time to take a deeper look into this and that is what I am about to do. But I will come back to you with all questions that show up during this process for sure. :slight_smile:


Okay, I’ve got first question - should UX portfolio include not only wireframes, but graphic design as well? I know that this is more UI and that’s why I’m wondering. The fact is I probably have no idea about graphic. :stuck_out_tongue:

And second one - what type of software would it be good to familiarize with at this point? I’ve already watched some tutorials and tried to use Axure and Sketch. But do you think that anything else might be useful? Do you know any tutorials, etc.?

Thank you!


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:

  • Wireframing
  • 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
  • Balsamiq

LoFi Prototyping

HiFi Prototyping

Data Analytics

Remote UX Testing

  • WebEx (used to present, run, and record moderated testing sessions remotely)

A/B Testing

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 :slight_smile:


Thank you for your help! It’s so kind of you! :hugs:

Do you know any examples of sites that I can redesign for my portfolio? Or any advice how to look for this sites in the internet? Thank you!


I sure do.

Here you go:


Hello, me again :blush:

I am just about to start building my own portfolio and I am wondering if I can use PowerPoint to do it? I just want to waste time to learn more complicated software and I am pretty comfortable with this one (because it’s not difficult at all).

I already know that the projects and the process is the most important thing, but in terms of other details - do you know if for title page I can use some random graphic (f.e. the one I found on or not really and I should use my own photo or graphic designed by me? I am talking just about a background to what I am going to do. Same question if it comes to font?

Thank you for your help and soon I’ll be back with more questions. :wink:


One more question - if I want to use an icon / logo on a menu page with my projects, am I allowed to use real logo of a page I am redesigning? And if I want to use any other icons found somewhere on the Internet, can I do it?


Hi ya,
There are no real rules. If you’re comfortable with PowerPoint, that’s fine as long as you clearly demonstrate your process.

As far as images go, you need to be a little more careful. You don’t have to use your own imagery but if you use stock imagery, make sure you’re not infringing copyright. Canva should be fine. Ditto for using other people’s icons. If in doubt, ask them first.


Hi Justyna,

to be honest, I was in an almost identical situation myself. I used to work as a recruiter and knew that I wanted to change this job and got interested in UX. After a year of learning myself from mostly free sources I landed a job as a UX Designer!

Everyone has already answered your questions so I’m not gonna repeat it. Just few recommendations.

As for MOOC courses, try these: - I did wireframing and prototyping - really great course!

As for the books (I’m judging by your name you’re Polish): “Badania jako podstawa projektowania User Experience” (Research as the basis for User Experience Design - only in Polish) by Iga Mościchowska and Barbara Rogoś-Turek. I think that’s a must-read.

Also: Steve Krug’s “Don’t make me think”, Don Norman’s “Design of Everyday Things” - thanks to them you’ll understand better what it’s all about :slight_smile: Also must-reads.

And… you go girl! Nothing is impossible :slight_smile:


Hello there! :slight_smile:

I haven’t been here for a while - I was focused on completing my portfolio (that I completed around 1.5 month ago) and going to my first job interviews for UX position.

I would like to thank you all for your help, tips and guidance. :slight_smile:

My first round of interviews unfortunately ended with no job offer, I got to 2nd stages, but later companies decided to hire someone more experienced. I have to start sending my CV & portfolio agan, however, I am trying not to lose my enthusiasm :wink: .

I have got another question to you - what would you recommend to do now (to become a better candidate for next recruitment processes)?
I feel quite comfortable with Axure, but maybe I should learn Adobe package or something else?

I can share with you my portfolio if you have some spare time to have a look and give me a feedback. :wink:

It is great to hear that you have been in the similar position (working as a recruiter for some time) and now you are UX Designer! :slight_smile: Congrats!
If I can PM you at some point to ask some questions, etc., it would be much appreciated! :slight_smile:


I think doing what @jdberi said is the way to go.


I just discovered UX mastery, as a UXer wannabe I’m finding this thread really helpful.
Thanks @justyna182 & co


Welcome. If you have other questions or challenges you’re totally welcome to start new topics. :slight_smile: