A lot of user experience professionals who are active in our industry today have faced the question “How to build a UX portfolio if I have never worked in UX?” when starting their career.
Let’s be honest: it’s a bit unfair.
“Portfolio” is a mandatory field in almost every job application form, regardless of the level you’re applying to.
But wait. I’m only able to be hired as a UX Designer when I have a certain number of projects on my portfolio. But if I have never worked in UX, how am I supposed to build a portfolio of interesting and relevant UX case studies?
You might be thinking: “well, with my school work”.
The reality is: not everyone goes through four or five years of design school before trying to find a job.
As much as education systems sound great in theory, the reality is way less linear than that. People come to UX from many different places.
They are developers, engineers, project managers, game designers, writers, art directors, strategists — and after some research (and a lot of thinking) they come to the conclusion UX is where they want to focus their careers moving forward.
To add to that: not everyone has access to higher education, and not every country has the same education system as the US. In Brazil, for example, bachelors and masters focused on interaction design or HCI were almost nonexistent a few years ago.
But yeah, not impossible.
Let’s break down a few possible paths to get you unstuck from this beautiful, painful paradox.