Self-taught UX/UI designers versus formal degree holders in UX/UI industry


Is it true that a degree holder in UX/UI designing get more preferences as compared to the self-taught designer in the industry? If yes, can certifications through online courses like IDF fill this gap? What advice you want to give to those who don’t have any formal education/can go for regular and formal education because they are in jobs but want to peruse a career in it?


Neither. UX designers with job experience do. My best advice is to read up on UX, build a portfolio of personal and freelance work. Also networking is key. Keep doing this until you land a full-time job. It’s not easy.


I agree with ux_dude. Experience and networking will get you far in this field.

I recommend having a strong portfolio that showcases your design process and thinking, network with people in the industry and continuous practice.


It also depends upon the company. If they are traditional, they may want a degree versus a startup. As others have said, work on your portfolio and networking help the most with landing a job. Certifications such as IDF fall under self-study as well. :grinning:


I think the most important thing is experience, and a top notch portfolio showcasing your UX design process. You need to be super detail oriented.

You get bonus points if you have:

  • Great UI design skills (designing mockups on sketch, low and high fidelity)
  • HTML, CSS and JS knowledge. If you are able to actually build a prototype using those technologies then you would be a Full stack UX designer, and that’s super valuable.

Those things are more important than a degree. If you have a degree + what I listed above then of course it would also help big time…


On the degree part, it really depends on the place you live (country level). Degrees have different values in different cultures. But I can’t imagine if you have an awesome portfolio, you’re motivated and can show your way of thinking (mindset) that you wouldn’t get a job within this or any other industry. My degree helped me a lot, not because of the degree, but the time I spend on it to get it. I used all that time to improve my skills and keep being focused since I was constantly working to get my degree.

I’ve done about 14 IDF courses. For me, it was information overload and also a lot of old information/examples they used. I didn’t learn as much as I wanted there, but I think it can be a good and relatively cheap place to start gathering knowledge. The most things I’ve learned is by writing case studies and doing real UX assignments on my job.

What helped me a lot during my career is that I’m able to program, I can do HTML, SCSS, JS and PHP (WordPress). I can create the visual part that I’m designing and know the possibilities there. Communicating with the development team is easier that way.

Best way to start is in my opinion by reading some case studies on Medium. Create and do your own case study. That’s also a great first portfolio item for on your website and might be asked for when you’re applying for a job.