UX Designers Wanted: Why Breaking into the Industry is So Hard

Bryan Li
3 min readMar 9, 2023


The UX industry has been rapidly growing in Canada and North America, with companies increasingly prioritizing user-centred design in their products and services. As a result, UX design has become an in-demand field, with many opportunities for designers to build rewarding careers. However, breaking into the industry as a Junior Designer can be challenging, with factors like increased competition, specific skillset requirements, and a lack of relevant experience making it difficult to land that first UX job. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the reasons why Junior Designers struggle to break into the UX industry in Canada and North America and provide some tips for how to increase your chances of success.

  1. Increased Competition: The UX industry is growing rapidly, which means there are more designers vying for the same roles. This increased competition means that Junior Designers need to work harder to differentiate themselves from other candidates, whether through a standout portfolio, unique skills, or experience.
  2. Specific Skillset Requirements: UX design has become more specialized recently, with companies often looking for designers with particular skills or experience. For example, some companies may prioritize designers with experience in information architecture or user research. This can make it more challenging for Junior Designers with broader skillsets to land their first UX job.
  3. Lack of Relevant Experience: One of the biggest challenges for Junior Designers is a lack of relevant experience. Many companies prefer to hire candidates with prior UX design experience, even for entry-level roles. This can create a Catch-22 situation where Junior Designers can’t get experience without a job, but can’t get a job without experience.
  4. Remote Work Challenges: With the pandemic, remote work has become the norm for many companies. This can make it even harder for Junior Designers to break into the industry as they may not have as many opportunities to network or build relationships with potential employers.
  5. Limited Mentorship Opportunities: Mentorship is a critical part of learning and growing as a Junior Designer. However, finding a mentor can be challenging, especially if you don’t have a personal connection to someone in the industry. Without mentorship, it can be harder for Junior Designers to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in UX design.

So, what can Junior Designers do to increase their chances of breaking into the UX industry in 2023? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Build a Strong Portfolio: Your portfolio is your calling card as a designer. Make sure it showcases your best work and highlights your strengths and unique skills. Be sure to tailor your portfolio to the types of roles you’re applying for.
  2. Gain Experience through Side Projects: If you’re having trouble landing your first UX job, consider working on side projects or freelancing to gain relevant experience. This can help you build your skills and demonstrate your ability to design for real-world scenarios.
  3. Network: Attend industry events, join UX design groups on social media, and connect with designers and employers in your area. Building relationships and getting your name out there can help you learn about job opportunities and get your foot in the door.
  4. Be Open to Different Roles: While you may have your heart set on a specific UX design role, consider applying for related positions, such as UI design or product design. This can help you gain experience and build your network within the industry.
  5. Seek Out Mentorship: Look for designers you admire and reach out to them to see if they would be willing to mentor you. Alternatively, consider joining a mentorship program or finding a peer mentor to help you navigate the industry.

Breaking into the UX industry as a Junior Designer can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. With perseverance, hard work, and a willingness to learn and grow, you can land your first UX job and start your career in this exciting field.



Bryan Li

A UX Designer with 3 years working in the B2C industry. I’m passionate about using design to empower others. https://bryanli.ca/