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Starting a Career in User Experience (UX) Design in 2024

3-4 min read
Where to start? Certificate courses on Coursera are as good a place as any.
Starting a Career in User Experience (UX) Design in 2024

What a difference 24 hours makes. So after a lot more reading and discussion, I've updated this article to include a 'Reality' section before a final 'Conclusion'.


Must be something in the air. Over the past few months I've had several fine arts students ask me about how to get started in the field of UI/UX - never mind the impact that AI is going to have in this area. Or perhaps it's the impending impact of generative AI in their immediate field of study that's forcing them to think hard about where they're going.

Google's Take

And so I decided to audit a couple of UX courses, including completing Google's certificate course: Foundations of User Experience (UX) Design - available at

Overall, I found the course to be very good, despite its Google-centric approach. The introduction to career paths in UX was excellent, though I didn’t fully agree with their pros and cons of different company types and workplaces.

The module on equity-focused design was superb, prompting me to rethink approaches to inclusive design and accessibility.

The introduction to design thinking as a UX framework was also quite effective. However, the transition from design thinking to design sprints felt jarring. While there is a thorough explanation of both concepts and how they differ at the end of the design sprint module, a smoother segue at the beginning would have helped.

I think it would also have been helpful if there was a clearer explanation of the differences between a UI Designer and a Google UX Visual Designer (at Google, visual designers are embedded in product teams and arguably have broader responsibilities than UI Designers - including brand design and more).

While the course explains the varied roles of UX designers in smaller organizations, I wish there had been more context on when early-stage user research occurs. This topic is addressed in the last module — particularly foundational user research, but the connection between business, service, product, and startup planning including target market, market fit, and the initiation of UX research (UXR) — isn't entirely clear, or at least I don't think it's clear who should be doing this at the earliest stages of business planning. Is it the CEO? The founder? Or should companies and startups be pitching to UXR specialists from the get go? Conversely, I've seen UXR tools used in later stages of product design that felt out of place as they're typically used in early stage strategic product planning and user research.


Thinking a bit more about Google's course, and how things look in 2024, I think it's worth adding a few comments about what most UX designers will experience as they either get started, or continue on their journey in UX design.

In reality, there are only a few companies that are as 'UX-focused' as Google, or as profitable and can therefore afford to invest in larger teams of specialized UX designers. Most companies, and most of the companies that junior or beginner UX/UI designers are going to work for are simply trying to 'get stuff done' as quickly and as efficiently as possible. There won't be long or deep discussions about the nature of their users, or 'sticky notes', or even wireframes. What there will be is a lot of competitor research, some 'well worn' and 'solved' UX/UI design patterns, along with quick development of visuals - including high-fidelity sketches, so that projects can build and test as quickly as possible. These companies should still value quality UX/UI design - especially inclusive and accessible products but, there's more...

There are also a lot of real-world companies that lack a basic understanding of UX design. I think this occurs most often in companies that are building products like websites or mobile apps that — while important, are not their core business. For some quantitative evidence of this, compare Google’s (and others’) best practices in UX design with several UI/UX job listings on JobsDB in Thailand. Many listings include skills and qualifications from completely unrelated disciplines. For someone looking for their first job in UX design it's going to be incredibly confusing and difficult to decipher what's going on here.


And so in the end, I think the Google course is excellent, and includes some really important foundational modules on UX design and is absolutely worth taking - as long as you keep the 'Reality' section above in mind. Understanding the fundamentals will help junior UX designers make sense of both the reality they discover when they are just starting out, as well as hopefully filter out companies that should be avoided.

There is also one last caveat: Thai is not one of the languages available, which presents a significant barrier for many would-be Thai UX designers. The Georgia Institute of Technology offers a highly regarded course that includes Thai content, available at I plan to explore their course next, as well as possibly completing the remaining courses in Google’s series.

And then I'll think a bit more about what to say to the fine arts and communication design students that are seriously considering a career in UX design.