Swift Projection: From Software Developer to Aspiring UI/UX Designer

In order for us to truly live to our potentials, we must strive for what our heart wants. Passion plays a big role in our lives; it opens doors for us to fully make the most of our capabilities and carries us to places where we want to be. Being in the industry – fresh from the university, we tend to let our decisiveness rule over and pick the job that eventually we get tired of. However, life doesn’t stop when we are tired, in fact, it opens doors for us to actually look onto the bigger picture and think of the greater opportunities in store for us.

As young developers, it’s never too late to try and to dive into the diverse fields. We might be hesitant at first, but trying out new things might unleash the best of us. In my case, at the moment, I am trying to discover the wonders of UI/UX Design while at the same time being a full-stack developer. And to those of you who are interested, then let me share how I reach this point in time.

I always hated being a frontend developer before because it wasn’t as challenging as being a full-stack developer is. As years pass by, I already reached my goal to become one; however, I ended up being frustrated and tired because of the problem-solving cycle. But, as I progress, I realized that in all fields, I’d feel the same way, I will end up being bored if I wasn’t doing something I really like.

It’s not that I am saying that I didn’t enjoy the way to become a full-stack developer but there was something wrong, it was like I am for something else. Then and there, I was able to notice the swift projection of my skills when it comes to integrating and critiquing designs. It wasn’t really far from what I wanted from before. I always wanted to become a designer but wasn’t able to really hone my skillset since my mind was diverted or should I say converted to the backend process and all.

During the quarantine, I had more time to learn and to console myself with the things that I am very much passionate about so I decided to involve myself with UI/UX Design. As I recalled, I consulted with my fellow peers who are UI/UX Designers as well and provided me with some tips, I’d like to share to you as well. Here are some tips, you can follow to begin your designer career. (Note nothing is easy the first time around, you just have to enjoy the ride and make it from the best of your capabilities)

  1. Scribble your Designs on Paper. This scribble will act as the skeleton or base of your design. Some might ask why scribble, why not do it directly on designing platforms? Scribble or sketches works the same with pseudocodes in programming. Why we do pseudocodes? – so, we can transcribe our understanding to a partial code. Since, the more we understand the process the more ideas will come across our minds.
  1. Interpreting your designs to Prototypes. This is the most interesting and fun part when you see that slowly the sketches turning to lively prototypes. Some of the applications I can suggest that you’ll use:
    1. Adobe XD – I would suggest using this if you are using Illustrator and Photoshop to place images in your prototype since the three applications are both from Adobe, it’s easier to integrate things.
    2. Figma (Recommended) – For beginners, I would suggest they’d use Figma since Figma is lighter than Adobe XD and Adobe Photoshop. And you access it on your web browsers directly.
    3. Adobe InDesign – I haven’t used InDesign for web prototypes but I was able to use it for magazines and flyers but I know the same with Adobe XD and Photoshop you can do a lot of good prototypes here.

Basically, whatever application you use, it won’t matter as long as you choose what you are comfortable using with then it’s okay.

  1. Watch Video Tutorials. The first thing that you thought, people will do is to watch video tutorials of designs or prototype events or actions. But I believe that watching will not help you if you won’t apply it so I would suggest you bring out first your creative side then you’ll know if you are interested or not then go improve yourself by watching tutorials. A lot of UI/UX Designers share their knowledge and provide very effective and efficient trainings for free. I know there are also paid courses in Coursera or other learning sites that can provide you more but for a beginner who is just starting to lit a fire in their new journey, I’d suggest you start off with watching free tutorials then if you really want to go deep then you can go enroll yourself to courses that will expand and improve your skillset.
  1. Read. The same with video tutorials, reading will also allow you to ponder things from those experienced UI/UX Designers or standard UI/UX protocols so you will be able to follow the norm and the standard in designing. (You can opt to watch videos if you are not that into reading). Here are some articles you might want to visit and start reading to improve your prototypes.
  1. Critique. The only way we can improve ourselves is to look for other stuffs that we could see the lapse. Don’t get me wrong this is just to exercise the critical thinking and the creative juices you have as a designer. You have to look into similar sites so you’ll know the norm on how to design those type of website based on the process. You can also improve in a way to you can avoid those lapses and not do it on your prototypes.
  1. Join Bootcamps, Design Discussions, or Webinars. These talks might be boring but if you try to really dig deep and listen, a lot of designers can provide more than enough wisdom to you. I know everybody has their own style of design but we can derive something useful from.

To you who is reading, if you are thinking twice, it’s never too late to try and learn. You can still be a full-stack developer or whatever you want to be an Architect or etc. and at the same time become a designer, it won’t be easy at first but I believe that when your passion kicks in, regardless of how busy your schedule is, you’ll always find time to insert it in between. There is nothing wrong challenging yourself once in a while, that makes our lives more interesting and fun!

Happy Learning!

WRITTEN BY Theressa Marie Tan | LinkedIn

PHOTO BY Kelly Sikkema