Hungry for Action

Has anyone ever worked, without pay, for a UX professional, in order to gain experience in the field?

I am working on breaking into UX Design as a career and I have been reading constantly, for months, about being and becoming a UX Designer. I love reading about it, and learning more everyday, but I have come to a pivotal point where I could use a more hands-on approach. Has anyone had any experience with reaching out to UX professionals and presenting them with monetarily free free assistance in order to gain experience? Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated. And even better if you could refer me to someone that might fit the description of the UX professional I am describing. I am just ready to dive in!

Thank you in advance!

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Hi there!

After reading your post I was directly thinking of Growth Mentor a place where you can find a mentor.

Besides that I’m always suggesting to start writing case studies, you can take the one I wrote as an example. I’ve learned so much from this and had so much input from this community.

But … this is not the answer to your question. I’m currently working on a project that still needs UX, for now, I’m focussing on rebranding and the design of the website. If you want, we can try to figure out a way so you can work on the UX of the application we’re building. Hit me up on LinkedIn or in a PM for more information.

I hope I’ve helped you enough!

Never work for free. If you’re good at something, someone out there will pay you to do it.

The old quandary of experience and employment. You need both to get the other. It’s not an impossible problem, but it is hard. Start looking for a first-time role. If you can prove you know what you’re doing, you should be able to land a junior job somewhere.

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What Doug said. Never work for free. Do you have any friends who work at big name brands, agencies, or startups? If so, I would hit them up to see if you could help them do UX for on some projects. That’s how I built up for my portfolio. You should also hit up recruiters but I would not do until you have a decent portfolio and some experience.

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Wow, awesome! Thank you for the insight. I’ll definitely look into the mentor site and take a look at the Case study. Great references!

And yes, definitely. I’ll connect with you and we can discuss further. Thank you!

Great! Thank you for more resources. I’ll take a look. Any in particular that you’ve used and found helpful?

Yeah it is a bit of a catch 22… I see where you are coming from though. I guess my thought was that it would be more of an unpaid internship and that even though there would be no monetary compensation, I would be gifted with valuable experience and feedback. I am definitely working on trying to put my previous customer service experience and my current baseline knowledge of UX in a form that could be presented for a fist time role. It’s just one of those things that probably doesn’t look great on paper, but if given the opportunity to talk face to face, could be convincing enough for a job consideration. Trying to utilize my network as much as possible. Thank you for the insight!

Yes, I do! And my first steps have been getting on the phone with people I know who are in UX design or people that may be able to refer me to someone that is in the field. I’m working diligently on trying to get an opportunity to gain more experience. I would definitely love to get paid for the work I do, but while I am still employed in another field, getting UX experience with reputable feedback seems more valuable. At least until I can build something to show employers for potential first time positions.

Perfect - thank you!

I’d add a caveat here. If you have the time I think it can be valuable to volunteer your time to a worthy organisation (a non-profit / hospital / school / museum), provided they are willing to give you flexibility and let you use the project in your portfolio.