Many people ask me how to start a career as an UX Researcher. It’s difficult when you have no experience and you can’t stop your regular job to start as an intern. Even when you are free to start as an intern you can face some difficulties, e.g. more experienced candidates than you 😉
To work as an UX Researcher you need to:
- develop your knowledge about research (e.g. you can study sociology, psychology, etc.),
- gain knowledge about user experience (e.g. by reading blogs and books, making some online courses, reading a lot of articles presenting some cases)
- build your research experience
I am going to focus on the third point. I would like to tell you how I built my experience before I started to work as a UX Researcher. It was a long time ago. I was a student of sociology and I worked as a Junior SEM Specialist in the big digital agency in Cracow. I met there for the first time User Experience Designers. I was surprised and fascinated about their job. I started to look for information how to become an UX Designer and then I found information about UX Research. Amazing! Job from my dreams! Ok, but how to get it?
I had been reading a lot about techniques which are used by UX Researchers. When I had felt ready to start my own research – I just did it. I created fictional research problems and I tried to solve them. For example, before Mother’s Day, I asked my friends how they are looking for a gift for their mothers. I asked them to be my respondents. They showed me how they are looking for the gift. I also prepared usability test of allegro.pl and I asked them to complete tasks from my scenario. At the end, I wrote a report. That is just one example, but you can always find a good reason to organize your test and make the first steps as an UX Researcher. Remember, you can choose subject you like and have a fun!
After I completed few of my own research projects I had been looking for a „real projects”. I proposed to some NGOs user research or ux audits of their websites. Naturally, I should explain to them what the „user experience” actually is (btw, it was great, because I got my first experience as a speaker during a presentation about UX!). I made the NGOs projects with my friends: I asked them to be my respondents during the research or to help me recording the research session. It was fun for all of us and we made something good. I am sure you can find many NGOs around you and… help them! 😉
After the first research experience, I had no problem to get an intern in UX agency. I was ready to talk about real projects I made by myself. It was a proof that I really want to do this job. When we want something, there is no power to stop us.
So, just find some interesting subject and let’s do it!
And follow my blog 😉