UX careers are in demand across Canada: Here is advice to help you strengthen your career prospects in this field
Published May 8, 2023.
Estimated reading time: 3.5 minutesIn summary:
- The demand for UX professionals in Canada has skyrocketed in recent years, making it an attractive career option for those with experience or interest in technology.
- There are a number of programs and resources available to help immigrants and refugees break into the UX industry.
- The UX community is welcoming to newcomers who wish to build their professional networks and learn more about this growing field.
User experience (UX) is a rapidly growing field in Canada, with a high demand for skilled professionals across a range of industries. In today's digital age, creating user-friendly products and interfaces has become a top priority for businesses seeking to improve customer satisfaction and engagement. As a result, the demand for UX professionals in Canada has skyrocketed in recent years, making it an attractive career option for those with experience or interest in technology.
According to recent statistics, the demand for UX professionals in Canada is expected to continue growing in the coming years. In fact, a report by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) found that the demand for UX designers and researchers was among the top 10 in-demand digital occupations in Canada. Additionally, the same report suggests, this year alone, there will be 10,000 job openings in UX design, across the country.
For skilled immigrants and refugees with experience or interest in technology, pursuing a career in UX can be a promising option. Many companies in Canada are actively seeking to diversify their workforce and are looking to hire individuals with a range of backgrounds and perspectives. By leveraging their existing skills and experience, immigrants and refugees can find expanding career opportunities in the field of UX.
Want to better understand the education, certification or training steps you need to take to reach your UX or UI career goals in Canada? Visit Windmill’s Educational Pathways.
In addition, there are a number of programs and resources available to help immigrants and refugees break into the UX industry. For example, many universities and colleges across Canada offer UX design courses and programs, which can provide valuable training and networking opportunities. Additionally, there are a growing number of mentorship programs and industry associations that can help newcomers connect with established professionals and gain a foothold in the field.
In partnership with Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s (SAIT) Careers You Never Knew Existed podcast, the Windmill Microlending blog is featuring insights to help immigrants and refugees launch or advance their own UX careers in Canada. That’s why we’re featuring advice from recent podcast guest, Emilie Mazurek, a UX professional based in Alberta. Mazurek is a senior user experience designer focused on delivering strategic and meaningful digital experiences. She comes from a non-traditional background of biochemistry & hospitality and has been working full-time in the industry for a little over two years. When she’s not working you can find her arguing with her parrot, Cheeto, giving unsolicited hot chocolate reviews or finding any excuse possible to book another vacation. Listen to her full podcast episode here.
Emilie Mazurek (pictured) shares her insights into succeeding in a UX career in Canada. You can follow her on LinkedIn here.
UX CAREER INSIGHT #1: UX jobs are not just tech jobs
Emilie says: There's a misconception that, like, "Oh, [UX] it's just in tech”, but that's not necessarily the case. Basically, anybody that has a digital product can benefit from having a UX designer. I'm even seeing companies now where it's like they're solving for things like social media [user experience issues]. They need to have UX designers to make sure that their website is designed well. Even more obscure products, like there are companies that are trying to make science more approachable for the everyday person and trying to tell stories and just have different apps and products. So, there are a ton of companies, and it seems to be expanding.
UX CAREER INSIGHT #2: The UX community is welcoming
Emilie says: That's one of my favourite things about the UX community: it's so welcoming, inclusive, and collaborative. Even just on LinkedIn or in different Slack groups, so many people are just willing to help with a portfolio review, offer advice, share opinions, or even talk about an experience they had. The information is absolutely available if you're just willing to look, and people are so friendly and helpful.
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UX CAREER INSIGHT #3: Soft skills are hugely valuable
Emilie says: Initially, I had this idea that you had to be very technical and understand how to use the tech stack, and while all that's true, arguably, the way more important thing is actually the soft skills. Being able to communicate clearly with your team, even on deadlines and expectations, and asking the right questions to users or customers that you're interviewing. There’s also collaboration. I collaborate with a ton of different people on every project, so I have to make sure that we're all on the same page. Otherwise, there's going to be friction, and it's not going to work out in anyone's favour. As well, I would say problem solving is hugely important because sometimes you're going to be given “Hey, we need this to work like this”, and you're not given the solution. You have to come up with it, or you have to find it. Being creative in the way you problem solve is also really important.
UX CAREER INSIGHT #4: You don’t have to code
Emilie says: That's one of the best parts about [UX], when I was looking into it, I was like, "You don't have to code. Are you kidding me? That is awesome.” I get to do the fun part. Like, I get to talk to people, design something that actually works, and then somebody else builds it. That is super cool. So that was another misconception I had when getting into the industry, like, "Oh, I need to learn how to code.” But, if you can just talk to people and ask questions, you definitely don't have to know how to code. On the other hand, I do think it is beneficial to be technical, you are going to be analyzing a lot of data, from testing, to make sure that your design is working the way you think it is. So, if you're able to analyze data, or if you can be technical with the way you're designing [that can be valuable].
LISTEN: Alberta-based UX designer, Emilie Mazurek, talks about the diverse educational pathways you can take to achieve career success in this growing field.
UX CAREER INSIGHT #5: Your past experience can be valuable
Emilie says: I would definitely look at your past [career] experience and start thinking about what might be relevant to UX and how you can frame it in that way. That would be a good place to start but you're probably going to need some education or schooling, as well. There are three main courses that people tend to take. You can actually go to university and get a degree in user experience design or interaction design. That's an accredited way to obviously have a certification and a strong jumping-off point. For me, that wasn't my favourite choice because I'd already been to university and didn't really want to invest that amount of time. And that's another reason why the industry is so great: there’s not necessarily a perfect, clear-cut path to being a [UX] designer. For example, I did a three-month boot camp, and that worked great for me. I learned all the fundamentals, or as much as you can learn in 12 weeks. That gave me a really good base for me to jump off, keep learning from, and basically get my foot in the door.
Learn more about SAIT’s UX virtual training bootcamp here.
You can also find a listing of some welcoming UX communities across Canada, below:
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