How to become a product designer in 2024

Jan 17, 2024

How I would get into product design if I had to start all over in 2024. 🤬

Problem #1: You don't know what you don't know.

1. To deal with this, I would take a course knowing that you need to be the driver of your own experience. Just taking a bootcamp will NOT do the work for you. Choose wisely.

Free Option:

• Sign up for Google’s UX Bootcamp on Coursera and pay for 1 hour mentor sessions. You NEED feedback on your work. I do coaching if you need it at The Craft. There's also

Paid Option:

• Get on The Craft’s Product Design Accelerator waitlist. The Craft teaches you to think from a business perspective, how to collaborate, design systems, accessibility, how to interview, and more.

Kickass UX with Colton and Ludovic. Particularly good for people transitioning from graphic design.

Problem #2. You need to learn A LOT.

1. Read Newsletters:

— Better by Design by Patrick

— Jakob Nielsen on UX

— Growth.Design 

— Conscious design by Sera

— The Cursor by Maureen

2. Read books:

Don’t make me think by Steve Krug

Emotional Design by Don Norman

Refactoring UI by Adam Wathan

Hooked by Nir Eyal

Sprint by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky

3. Listen to podcasts:

Deep Dives with Michael (Ridd)

Design Life with Charli and Femke

Beyond UX Design Podcast with Jeremy Miller

Honest UX Talks with Ioana and Anfisa

(My podcast comes out Feb 9th!)

4. Play with Figma and scope out popular design systems to familiarize myself with. To start: Apple Human Interface & Google Material.

Problem #3: You need to stand out. It’s hard to get that first role.

1. Create case studies based on industries of interest (e.g. healthcare, productivity, sustainability, etc.) Don’t do all 3 on one industry. Diversify.

2. Create my website. Write about my learnings.

3. Update my Linkedin profile and post. This is where recruiters will look.

4. Follow 5 LinkedIn design creators and engage regularly. Some of my favs who’d be great for new designers:

— Trevor Nielsen

— Maureen Herben

— Redona Dida

— Christopher Nguyen

— Joseph Louis Tan

— Thijs Kraan

— Jeff White

Problem #3: It’s a really rough market.

1. Get real experience. If you can’t nail down an internship, ping companies of interest or a local company and work with them for free. At this point, experience is the key to interviewing successfully.

2. Leverage connections. You’re more likely to get your profile looked at through an internal company referral.

3. Message 5 designers at companies of interest. Ask if you can buy them a coffee in exchange for a chat about their experience. Ask them about the interview process, what their company looks for when hiring, etc. If you feel comfortable, ask them if they could refer you to their company.

4. Look at companies that just raised money and send cold emails to the (design) recruiter expressing interest in working together. Tailor the message.

Problem #4: You’re going to fail at first.

STOP. 🛑 

Inevitably, you will need to pause your application process when you notice you keep getting rejected. Don't beat a dead horse. This is a clear signal that you need to change something. Fix either your resume, case studies, interview skills, or portfolio presentation. Do that and then continue applying.

Ask for feedback every. single. time. you. interview. How else will you improve?


Yes, in 2024, it is hard to get a job. But NOT impossible.

• Be smart.

• Set your expectations.

• Give yourself a break.

Don’t give up. You got this!

Share this to make design more accessible. 🔁