What do I need to learn to get an amazing UX/UI jobs in 2017? – This is the most frequent question I get from Senior UX/UI designers. In this article, I will tell you the answer, which will give your career (and your paycheck) a huge boost.
1. Augmented Reality UX/UI
Augmented reality might not have been part of your life in 2015, but if you don’t jump on the augmented reality UX/UI bandwagon by 2017, you will miss the best jobs. I believe that the impact of augmented reality will be similar to the impact of smartphones. They might not be widespread even in 2017, but by the end of the decade, everyone and his cat will live in a world, where the offline world blends with the digital world through augmented reality. It is our job as UX-ers to make this as seamless and effortless as possible from the users perfective.
2. Remote User Experience Testing
Remote user experience test design and analysis is a vital skill for any UXer even today. If you still base your work on hunches, best practices or HiPPOs, I got some bad news for you: you will lose your job soon. Unless you start getting feedback from the real users. Now you could use a brick and mortar lab, outsource your UX research, or learn how to conduct remote user experience testing. You can’t get more than 5-7 users a day in an old school lab, and only from near your lab. If you want to test with 40 users from different cities, varying age ranges, genders and socioeconomic status, you must resort to remote UX testing. It’s vital if your company targets more than one country.
Learning it is quite easy. Dozens of books and workshops are available. You could opt for a more expensive day-long training like the one by Nielsen Norman Group, or download some free learning material from remote UX platform companies, like the UX Testing Handbook from WhatUsersDo.
3. Rapid prototyping
Testing a website/app after it has been released is usually too late. With the blazingly rapid pace digital projects, very quick evaluation is crucial. You should be able to create the next iteration as fast as possible to show it to stakeholders and real users (see the previous skill, remote UX testing). Development takes time, even if you have a big, dedicated team to start working on your new version right away. That’s why you should start using a rapid prototyping tool.
There are so many RP tools nowadays, that the choice seems really hard. But when learning rapid prototyping, your best bet is to pick the industry standard: Axure RP. Many big brands use it and it looks great on your CV. Learning another one will be a breeze after Axure. Also worth mentioning that Axure has the biggest selection of learning materials and events where you can learn it. I would especially recommend the Axure World conference (not just because I was a speaker there in 2014, but I believe it’s the best of its kind).
4. HTML & CSS
Most senior UX-ers already got a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS. If you don’t, you definitely need to learn it before the end of this year. Even if you don’t build websites, this knowledge will help you to understand the web better, and will make communicating with front-end developers miles easier. When you create expert reviews or tag user testing videos, this knowledge will be very hand. When you inspect competitor sites, you will be able to see behind the scenes, and understand how they were built. It is a very important skill in almost all UI jobs, and it can help you to land your dream job, even at manager or head of UX level.
Learning this will be the easiest among the 5 for most. I would suggest starting with an interactive, online course, like Code Academy’s HTML & CSS introductory course.
Will those 5 skills help you to land your dream job in 2017? Definitely, but they will not guarantee it. It’s important to keep an open eye of what are the desired and essential skills in job specs, and if you find any that you are missing, it’s probably a good bet to at least explore it, and know what it is. Now obviously there are some job descriptions almost requiring 30 years in neuroscience and formal training in drone piloting for a lead UX role, but browsing LinkedIn jobs will definitely help.
Good luck in the hunt! Pro tip: you can start looking for your 2017 dream job even today.
Note: If I missed the most important skill for a senior UX professional, please comment. If I have them all, you are welcome to share this article.