UI/UX Design — Fading Trend or Here to Stay?

Two years back, while I was a Graphic Designer, a UI/UX Designer suggested, “You might want to switch to UI/UX Design, it pays more.”I declined then. I had the clarity to know I wouldn’t pursue something just for monetary gain. My significant shift from a 4-year stint as a C-Level/Manager Assistant to Graphic Design taught me that.Back then, I wasn’t aware that UI/UX Design was in vogue. The concept of “trendy jobs” eluded me. Despite my earlier role as an Assistant being considered prestigious in Vietnam, I had a lingering desire for years: “I need a career shift.” So, the idea of people chasing “in-demand jobs” without introspection was foreign to me.It was only after I designed a website for my blog, personalized it, crafted a landing page for a freelance client, and got involved in Web & Mobile Graphic Design, plus UX testing and feedback for UNIQLO’s app, that I gained profound insight. That experience ignited my passion for UX.
The Decline of the UX Trend: A Surge of Low-Quality and Unskilled Entrants I tuned into a video by Wesley Hong, a prominent YouTuber and Senior UX Designer in the US, discussing the decline of the UX Design buzz. He has a grounded perspective on his surroundings, particularly in the UX realm. I couldn’t agree more when he highlighted the subpar quality of various bootcamps luring individuals with promises of quick transitions to a trendy UX career, accompanied by claims like “Guaranteed job placement.”The allure of UX rose predominantly during the pandemic, as countless individuals faced job losses, home confinement, and an uncertain future. Work-from-home roles, notably Designers and Developers, gained immense traction, with numerous ‘A Day in the Life’ snippets flooding platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. Truth be told, I too was captivated by this portrayal.In the wake of this trend, a myriad of online bootcamps, both established and emerging, aggressively marketed their programs. While there were undoubtedly commendable offerings, the rush to capitalize on the trend birthed a plethora of hastily-assembled, mediocre courses. Consequently, in a matter of months, swarms of students emerged, vying for entry-level positions. During the initial phase, securing an entry-level role seemed achievable, resonating with the prevalent trend. But fast forward to the present, with a saturated market of bootcamp graduates coupled with tech layoffs, breaking into the UX world isn’t as straightforward, leading to widespread disillusionment.Participating in various UI/UX Facebook groups, I’ve observed a daily outpouring of despondence from individuals struggling to secure entry and even mid-senior roles, especially amidst tech sector layoffs. It’s even more disheartening to witness individuals branding themselves as UI/UX Designers, yet undercutting the market with substandard, sometimes plagiarized, portfolio pieces.
But there is a ray of hope for those who have a real passion for UX. The current state of the entry-level UX scene is undoubtedly chaotic. I’ve had my share of concerns, but Wesley Hong’s insight offered a glimmer of hope. His perspective that the waning of the UX Design trend implies that the designers who persevere, continually striving to improve and secure jobs despite the odds, truly possess a fervent passion for the craft. Such individuals, undoubtedly, will emerge more resilient and resolute in their professional journey.The vast expanse of the UX domain is something only earnest learners can truly comprehend. Personally, I find myself incessantly juggling tabs, delving deeper to enrich my knowledge, understanding that there’s always room for growth and practice. With the trend now behind us, aspiring entry-level UX Designers must confront the reality that transitioning to a UX career in just a few months is a bygone promise. However, this is the opportune moment to introspect: were you lured by the trend or genuinely driven by passion? Are you prepared to constantly receive feedback on your designs?Working in design isn’t about unfettered autonomy, as one might experience with personal projects or favored designs. The profession demands that your work endures scrutiny, receives varied feedback, and often undergoes revisions. Not all feedback is tenderly delivered, and believe me, I’ve been there. I’ve known fellow designers who, after immersing themselves in the field for a while, started to second-guess their choice. Feeling progressively despondent, they sought advice on potentially pivoting to a different career path.
So, let’s be clear and have a real understanding of yourself firstSelecting a career demands a profound understanding of oneself and the desired profession. Multiple strategies can aid in this introspection. In my journey, I undertook personality assessments, reminisced about my childhood passions, and indulged in deep self-reflection to gauge my inclinations. Additionally, I made efforts to genuinely grasp the day-to-day life of a UX Designer by connecting with seasoned professionals. This helped me discern between the glossed-over depictions on social media platforms like YouTube or Instagram and the ground realities. It’s evident that most showcase the rosier facets of their lives on social media, with few daring to unveil their struggles to the vast expanse of the virtual audience.Mastering the art of self-discovery is, in my perspective, a critical and ongoing endeavor in one’s life. Perhaps, I’ll delve deeper into this topic in a subsequent post. My aspiration is for budding UI/UX Designers, those truly impassioned about the craft, to maintain their resolve amid the prevailing economic challenges. Let’s jointly foster optimism, persist in our belief, continue our educational pursuits, and relentlessly strive for excellence in our chosen domains.
When the time is ripe, the perfect opportunity shall present itself! 🙂 
For those interested, here’s Wesley Hong’s insightful video: Link.

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UI/UX Design — Fading Trend or Here to Stay?

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