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Art by Diana Traykov

How did you land your first design job? We asked, you answered.

There’s nothing like reminiscing on your first job. For many, it may have been babysitting, working in food service, as a camp counselor or instructor, or even tutoring. A first job is memorable because it’s often your first taste of independence, earning your own money, or a moment of entrusted responsibility.

Landing your first design job is no different! You may even feel more sentimental about your first design job. While your first job may have been mainly motivated by financial gain (nothing beats those hard-earned babysitting bucks), your first design job was likely more intrinsically valuable.

And if you’re still working towards landing your first design job, this one’s for you! We asked our community how they landed their first design jobs, and here’s what they said.

How I landed my first design job

“I literally simply knew how to make a website. That’s all you had to know in the mid-late 90s.”– Powell–Studio

Being a first-mover on new technology definitely has its advantages! Nowadays, companies are struggling to find NFT, and Crypto experts as the world rapidly moves towards adopting Web3 technology, and millennials are being “aged out” of the internet. It pays to stay up-to-date on upcoming trends and continue your education in areas that are interesting to you.

“First little job I found on Craigslist when I was still in school! I was designing menus for a restaurant. I cringe just thinking about my menus lol.” – Joanna Behar

We all cringe at our old work! It means we’ve evolved since we started, and it is definitely a good thing (no matter how “icky” it makes you feel). Design is a field that is constantly evolving and is influenced by new trends, so it makes sense that old work doesn’t quite float your boat nowadays.

“My mother told me she’d buy me a new Gaming PC, so I started learning HTML, CSS, and PHP just to create a website for a friend of hers in just about 3 months. I did it but never took the money. I got my own PC three years later and started my own company with the knowledge I got.” – Panos Sakalakis

There’s nothing like the incentive of a gift from a parent to motivate kids. This time it paid off, and Panos’ mother was probably ecstatic this experience helped launch a career. Practice projects and sometimes just as valuable as paid experience, especially if they help you build a portfolio or get started with a new skill.

“I was in college. One of my roommates asked me to go with him to a company presentation at uni. The company divided us in teams for a competition. My team won and we were invited to an interview, which I aced. It was almost 6 years ago and I’m still working for that company.” – Iulian

Sometimes lady luck plays a hand in the future of your career, and all you can do is lean into it. Many other community members also said that they were simply “in the right place at the right time,” which means the more opportunities and situations you expose yourself to, the more potential you’ll have for landing a “lucky” chance.

“Bootcamp from @theSchoolOfCode forever grateful!” – Becki Floyd

Bootcamps and online design courses have launched many great careers for many of our community members. And while finding the right course can sometimes be a challenge, you will almost 100% come out of it with a new skill set and some portfolio projects that would be suitable for a new career.

“My company’s CEO asked if I could design an internal employee newsletter between taking customer service calls. I told him I needed InDesign. Then I taught myself InDesign.” – Jeremy Brown

Sometimes, the good old “fake it ‘til you make it” comes in handy. If you’re confident in your learning abilities and have a boss or potential client that has faith in you, you might hit your next big career break!

But now, here’s the most important question.

Are you an aspiring designer?

If you’re ready to turn your passion to design into a thriving career, join Dribbble & Google designer Daniele Buffa on April 10, 2023 for an immersive, 4-week Introduction to UI Design course designed to help new designers learn the tools and techniques to bring their creative ideas to life. Enroll now!

Online Design Course

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