The Ultimate Guide to UX Internships [2023]

Learn how to get a UX internship in 2023 with our ultimate guide to UX internships.

As a critical part of creating user-friendly products and services, User Experience (UX) designers are in high demand. With UX design rapidly evolving, it’s no surprise that it’s becoming increasingly popular as a career choice. However, breaking into the field can be challenging. A UX design internship is one of the most effective ways to gain experience. An internship provides practical experience and opportunities to network with professionals.

In this ultimate guide to UX internships, we’ll explore everything you need to know to land the perfect internship and maximize your experience. From the benefits of a UX design internship to where to find the best opportunities, we’ll also examine the essential skills of a UX intern and the different career paths you can pursue.

Whether you’re an aspiring UX designer or looking to enhance your skills, this guide will help you navigate the world of UX internships and set yourself up for success in a rewarding and exciting career.

“The demand for UX designers is indeed increasing daily, and while this means more opportunities, it also means more competition. Having an internship under your belt is one of the best ways to stay on top of the hiring pool.” Carl Wheatley, Design Recruiter @ Meta

How do UX internships work?

A UX internship is a temporary position where an individual works for a company or organization to gain experience in UX design. Typically, internships last a few months, and interns are expected to work on real projects alongside experienced designers. A UX internship aims to provide hands-on experience to individuals just starting in the field and help them develop the skills and knowledge needed to become successful full-timeUX designers.

The benefits of a UX design internship

There are many benefits to pursuing a UX design internship. For one, it provides a valuable opportunity to learn from experienced designers and work on real projects that have an impact. In addition, starting as a UX design intern can be a great way to build a professional network and make connections in the industry.

Another benefit of UX internship programs is that they help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in user experience design. By working on various projects and receiving feedback from experienced UX or graphic designers, interns can better understand their abilities and areas for improvement.

79% of UX leaders believe the demand for UX skills at their organization will increase over the next 1-2 years. Journal of UX Leadership

Types of UX internships to consider

Knowing what industry you want to work in can help you narrow down your internship search. But beyond that, there are two basic types of companies you’ll want to consider: 

  • Design Agencies: These agencies work with a diverse range of companies, and as part of their team, you’ll be involved in projects for various clients.
  • Design Teams: These are companies that have their own internal design team. If you join such a team, your focus will be solely on developing the company’s products or services.

Each job type offers its own set of advantages. When working with design agencies, you’ll have the opportunity to gain a wider breadth of experience. This diverse experience can be particularly valuable when you’re ready to pursue full-time UX design jobs. On the other hand, joining an internal design team allows you to dive deeper into projects and gain more comprehensive experience, working on a variety of projects for a single brand.

Where to find UX internships

Finding a UX internship can be challenging, but there are resources available to help. Design job boards such as Dribbble, AIGA, and Coroflot are great places to start your search. These sites allow individuals to search for UX design internships based on location, experience level, and other criteria. Company websites are another option where you can find UX internships listed under the “careers” or “jobs” section. Finally, networking can be an effective way to learn about internship opportunities by attending industry events, connecting with designers on social media, and reaching out to companies.

Here are seven great places to find UX internships:

  1. Dribbble’s Design Job Board: Not only do designers showcase their work on Dribbble, but we also offer a UX Job Board where companies post UX design internships and other design-related job opportunities.
  2. Indeed: Indeed is one of the largest job search engines, with a section specifically for UX design internships. You can search by location, company, or keywords to find opportunities that match your interests.
  3. LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool, and many companies post UX design internship opportunities on their company pages. You can also search for opportunities using keywords and filters.
  4. InternMatch: InternMatch is a job board specifically for internships, and they have a section for UX design internships. They also offer resources and tips for landing an internship and making the most of your experience.
  5. Glassdoor: Glassdoor is a job search engine that provides company reviews and information about salaries and interview processes. They have a section specifically for UX design internships, and you can filter by location and company.
  6. Behance: Behance is a platform for creative professionals to showcase their work. They also offer a job board where companies post UX design internships and other design-related job opportunities.
  7. Coroflot: Coroflot is another platform for creative professionals to showcase their work, and they have a section specifically for UX design internships. You can search by location, company, or keywords to find opportunities that match your interests.

Related: 21 Essential UX Interview Questions & How to Answer Them

What skills do UX interns need to have?

As a user experience intern, there is a specific skill set and qualities that you should have to be successful in the field. It’s important to note that certifications and bachelor’s degrees may help aspiring designers land a job, but their experience and design skills are prioritized.

Here are some of the most important skills that a UX intern should possess:

  • Design Thinking: Design thinking is a methodology designers use to solve complex problems and find creative solutions. As a UX intern, you should understand the design thinking process, which includes empathizing with users, defining the problem, ideating potential solutions, prototyping, and testing. You should be able to apply this methodology to your work and be comfortable working in a collaborative environment.
  • User Research: User research is essential to the UX design process. As a UX intern, you should understand research methods well and be able to conduct user research effectively. This includes creating user personas, conducting user interviews and surveys, and analyzing data to uncover insights about user behavior.
  • Wireframing and Prototyping: Wireframing and prototyping are critical skills for UX designers, and as an intern, you should be comfortable using tools like Sketch, Figma, or Adobe XD to create wireframes and prototypes. You should be able to translate design concepts into low-fidelity wireframes and high-fidelity prototypes that effectively communicate your ideas.
  • Visual Design: While UX design focuses more on user experience and functionality, visual design is still an important aspect of the job. As a UX intern, you should have a good eye for design and be able to create visually appealing designs that are consistent with branding guidelines.
  • Communication Skills: As a UX design intern, you will be working with designers, developers, and other stakeholders, and you will need to communicate your ideas effectively.
  • Problem-solving: UX design is all about solving problems, and as an intern, you should be comfortable working in an environment where you will encounter many complex problems.
  • Adaptability: The field of UX design is constantly evolving, and as an intern, you should be adaptable and willing to learn new skills working on-site in a fast-paced environment.

By honing these skills, you can set yourself up for success as a UX intern and be well on your way to a successful career in UX design.

Career Paths for UX Interns

A career in UX design can take many different paths, and there are several different roles that UX interns can eventually grow into.

Here are some of the most common career paths for UX designers:

  • UX Designer: They are responsible for designing and enhancing the user experience of digital products such as mobile apps, websites, and software. They conduct user research, create prototypes and wireframes, and collaborate with developers and other stakeholders to bring their designs to life.
  • UX Researcher: UX researchers conduct user research to inform the design of digital products. They create user personas, conduct user interviews and surveys, and analyze data to uncover insights about user behavior. Learn more in our UX Researcher Career Guide.
  • UX Writer: UX writers are responsible for creating the text and messaging that appears in digital products, such as product descriptions, error messages, and other user interface copy. They work closely with UX designers and developers to ensure the messaging is consistent with the overall design and user experience.
  • UX Strategist: UX strategists develop strategies that improve the user experience of digital products. They conduct market research, create user personas, and collaborate with UI designers and developers to create a cohesive UX strategy.
  • UX Manager: UX managers oversee the work of UX designers and other UX professionals. They are responsible for managing projects, setting goals and objectives, and ensuring the design team works effectively together.

By understanding these career paths, UX interns can start thinking about their long-term career goals and the necessary steps to achieve them. Whether they want to specialize in a specific area of UX design, like product design, or become a product manager, they can choose from various paths in this rapidly growing field.

UX internship vs. Apprenticeship

While UX internships and apprenticeships may seem similar at first glance, some important differences exist. Apprenticeships are typically more structured and formal than internships, with a set curriculum and a specific timeline for completion. Apprenticeships also often provide more comprehensive training and design mentorship.

Another key difference is that apprenticeships are often paid, while many UX internships are unpaid or offer minimal compensation (usually summer internships). While unpaid internships can be a great way to gain experience, they can also present financial challenges for individuals who need to support themselves during the internship. 

Ultimately, choosing between a UX internship and an apprenticeship will depend on your goals and circumstances. Apprenticeships can be an excellent option for those seeking a more structured and formal training experience and mentorship. At the same time, internships may be a better fit for those looking for hands-on experience and the opportunity to make connections in the industry.

Apply for UX internships that align with your career goals.

UX design is an exciting and rapidly evolving field, and internships can be valuable for gaining experience and making important connections in the industry while searching for a full-time role. Whether you’re just starting to learn UX design or looking to take your skills to the next level, a UX internship can be a great way to get started.

By developing a solid understanding of design principles and best practices, building a professional network, and gaining hands-on experience, individuals can set themselves up for success in a career in UX design. With the right skills and mindset, a UX internship can be the beginning of an exciting and rewarding career path.


Get answers to your most frequently asked questions about UX design internships.

What does a typical day look like for a UX intern?

A UX intern’s specific tasks and responsibilities can vary depending on the company and the project they are working on. However, typical duties may include conducting user research, journey mapping, creating wireframes and prototypes, collaborating with other designers and developers, and presenting design solutions to stakeholders.

What is the difference between a UX internship and a freelance position?

A UX internship is a temporary position where an individual works for a company or organization to gain experience in UX design. In contrast, a freelance position is a self-employed, independent contractor who works with clients on a project-by-project basis. Learn how to become a freelance UX designer.

What is the best way to prepare for a UX internship?

To prepare for a UX internship, developing a strong understanding of design principles and best practices and becoming familiar with design tools such as Sketch, Figma, or Adobe Creative Suite is important. Developing soft skills such as communication, collaboration, and the ability to receive feedback and critique is also important.

Related: Top 12 UI/UX Design Courses to Launch Your Career

Can I get a UX internship without any experience?

While having prior experience in design or a related field can be helpful when looking for a UX internship, it’s not always necessary. Many companies are willing to hire self-taught UX designers and provide on-the-job training and mentorship. The key is demonstrating a strong work ethic, a willingness to learn, and a passion for UX design.