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How to Land an App Designer Job

Posted by Donna Recchione on Oct 17, 2018 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights, hiring trends, Job Trends, Job Search Tips, IT, Candidate

Do you have a background in design and are looking for a job? Do you want to get into the ever-growing tech industry field? If so, becoming an app designer may be the right career choice for you. Mobile apps are not going anywhere. In fact, many users tend to bypass websites in favor of apps. Why log into your Facebook account online when you can just pull up the app on your phone? Same goes for all other apps, like Google Drive, Firefox, games, finance apps and more. Most of these apps are downloaded to a phone through Apple's App Store or Google Play, depending on the user's device. To develop these apps, companies use coders, but leave the design part up to an app designer who fashions the appearance, interface style, and layout of mobile apps.

This industry, which fits under the broader field of UX design, is growing rapidly, which means job security for you. In fact, UX design jobs were ranked by Glassdoor as being one of the best jobs in the United States. Out of fifty job titles, UX design jobs were ranked at twenty-seven. Glassdoor based their ranking system on factors such as hiring opportunities, excellent pay, and high job satisfaction. The average salary for an app designer is just upwards of $60,000 a year. 

If you're looking for a job as an app designer, here are seven tips to keep in mind when pursuing this satisfying and lucrative career.  

1. Know the Design Tools

Every industry has its own standards, including app design. It's now your job to educate yourself on these standards. With a background in design, you're probably already experienced with such tools as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. However, you'll need to go beyond these tools to land yourself an app designer position. Some of the important tools you'll need to familiarize yourself with include:

  • InVision: This program creates design prototypes, workflows, and presentations. 
  • Sketch: This is a design software used for editing images and drafting projects. 

Furthermore, you will need to know how to create skeletal frameworks that are basically the blueprints used to design an app's appearance and layout. This is a vital component of app design known as wireframes. Take the time to get trained on the following:

  • Balsamiq
  • Axure
  • UXPin

2. Start Practicing with your Own Design Projects

According to James Smith, Senior UX Design Lead at password management app company Keeper Security, it is paramount that you have a portfolio of design projects you initiated and completed on your own. This helps you to really get a handle on app design and show potential employers that you "know your stuff."  When developing these mock-up programs, you will be able to implement real-world app design by including user stories, personas, and user research. 

3. Your Portfolio Should Include Design Projects

When looking for an app design job, your portfolio is how you will present yourself to the potential employer. Your portfolio should include the design projects you've worked on as a designer. However, according to Tom Hacohen, Head of Design at home remodel and design site Houzz, you should take this a step further by using your portfolio as a design project in and of itself.  Hacohen goes on to further explain that the layout, navigation, and hierarchy of your portfolio should catch the attention of recruiters, who most likely have viewed numerous other design portfolios that day. To make yours really stand out, Hacohen says that you need to put the time in to organize your portfolio in a well laid out format.  

4. How to Find the Right App Design Jobs

Once your portfolio is completed, it's time to start looking for a job. The best place to start is by browsing job boards that are specific to design jobs, such as:

  • Behance
  • Dribbble
  • AIGA
  • Coroflot

However, don't rule out job boards such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster to find the right design job for you.

5. Be able to Talk about What You've Learned and Keep on Learning

As technology is known to evolve constantly, you will need to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in app design by constantly learning new skills through online courses, articles, and more. According to Samantha Pede, Senior Product Designer at the design hosting site Dribble, there are many resources out there for you to utilize, including: 

  • The Hipper Element by Joel Marsh
  • HackDesign
  • UXPin Free Books

6. Prepare for the Interview

Once you have landed an interview for an app designer job, there are a few key things to keep in mind. According to Smith, you should be prepared to present between three and five projects that you feel are your best work and of which you feel comfortable talking about to employers. Be prepared to explain in detail how you approached and completed the design project. Furthermore, the design projects you include in your portfolio should reflect the position you are applying for at the time. After choosing the right design projects to include in your portfolio, spend time practicing talking about these design projects with friends to really get a handle on articulating how you created the design project(s). 

7. Be Flexible and Open to Various Opportunities

If you want to land the best app designer job, keep yourself open to opportunities. These opportunities often come from the places you would least expect, according to Pede. For example, the nonprofit sector may present an opportunity for you to be part of a cause you are passionate about while getting your foot in the door of the app design field. You should also consider intern positions at a company you would love to work for in the future. While you may not get the exact job you want right away, it's important to stay positive and flexible and to never give up. View your first app designer job as a challenge, something that will push you forward toward your dream job

The Bottom Line

By using the tips above, you will be able to find the right app designer jobs to apply for and get yourself prepared for the interviewing process. Don't forget that the portfolio projects you choose and your ability to explain them to potential employers is probably the most important point when trying to outshine the competition and land the job. Even if you don't get the job on your first, second, or even third interview with different companies, don't give up. Use these interviews as a warming-up process to prepare for interviewing for the dream job that is most likely right around the corner. To further your search, reach out to ICS to see what open jobs we have available. Click below to see what we have right now.

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