The 3E Approach to Building a UX Career

Saurabh GuptaCo-FounderZeux InnovationSaurabh is an award-winning UX design and innovation leader with proven passion for UX and strong belief in design’s ability to simplify, and amplify customer experience.

As the connection between user experience and business success gets clearer, executives are increasingly seeing UX as a strategic imperative. In the Indian digital landscape, you no longer gain an advantage by just having fast servers, lots of features and endless offers - everybody has that. Differentiation is measured by the experience associated with how you deliver your core value proposition to the user.

As UX design moves from the fringes to the mainstream, there is understandably a huge surge in the demand for UX talent. So, if you have been looking to get into UX, now would be the perfect time to capitalize. However, UX designers that attract the right kind of attention in the market are those that have demonstrable and recognized UX skills. The onus is on you to fortify your UX skillset and make your experience design resume as attractive and distinctive as possible. Not unlike other fields, building expertise in UX also requires the 3E approach: Education, Experience & Exposure.

1. Education
The ideal background is a formal education in Human Computer Interaction (HCI)/Interaction Design.

External certifications also help and give you a good baseline to start from. UX designers often also come from computer science, industrial design, visual communication, marketing, and even architecture.

But what really makes the difference between a high quality UX professional and a run-of-the-mill UX designer is a solid background in psychology, particularly applied and cognitive psychology.

2. Experience
Experience-wise, it would be important to have first-hand experience in successfully performing a combination of the following roles as part of a user-centered design process:
• A Researcher connects with end users and understands their needs
• An Analyst derives insights and communicates findings.
• A Designer creates design solutions that are efficient, easy to use, build trust,persuasive and motivate people.

3. Exposure
Exposure to relevant UX conferences, experts, forums, publications, specialized training programs, and trend reports, is also a good indicator of UX potential and underlying passion for the field.

In the early days of UX in India, companies used to have a lot of trouble assessing a candidate’s qualifications to work in the UX field because the people who were making hiring decisions were not able to tell who does or does not have the right UX skill set.To add to the problem, UX titles/designations were being given out very casually by companies because most people thought UX is just common sense. As a result of this, a lot of people who claimed to have an UX skill set on their resume didn’t actually have any demonstrable user experience capability. But companies have learned from their mistakes and have become a lot more savvy and smarter about spotting the fakes and weeding them out from their UX hiring funnels.

So, just like with everything else in life, for your UX career as well, honesty is always the best policy. Be truthful and authentic about your 3Es. Remember, a lot of companies hire for the right attitude, passion and potential and are not necessarily looking for people who come with a 'been there done that' mindset.