Hey, designer! 👋
Last year I reviewed the Google UX course and made a video on every one of the seven segments. I also wrote a popular UX Collective article:
Did you know that over 300 thousand people enrolled in the Google UX Course since it launched?
That’s a lot of competition. Luckily the number of people who actually finished it is much smaller — around 25 to 30 thousand. It’s a huge dropoff but still the number of new “Google Certified designers” each year is significantly higher.
In any case — Congrats!
You made it to the end! That’s a lot of hard work, time and effort. You deserve a little celebration. 🥳 You did great!
But what now?
Should you print out the certificate, frame it and hang it on your wall for everyone to see?
Should you proudly hang the certificate on your wall and sit back?
Here’s what you should do now in five easy steps.
Don’t sit back!
Many people think that when they get the certificate, that’s it. Companies are going to fight for the opportunity to hire them and all will be great. No.
You got the basics in and now you need to work really hard to learn more and polish those skills.
Try to read industry articles daily (uxdesign.cc is an obvious recommendation), see different perspectives, read case studies from various companies to see how their approach differs to what Google teaches.
Because as I stated before, Google teaches some things “their way” that is not necessarily how the industry does things. Even searching for some of the processes and their names can yield much less result than using the name they’re more commonly known by.
A course certificate is just a jpg
Work on your portfolio
You need to remember that the certificate itself is pretty worthless. Some say:
But hey, I am a Google Certified Designer now, aren’t I?
No. You finished a course created by Google, but the certificates are issued by the platform — Coursera, which is ironic because the platform is famous for bad UX. At best you’re a coursera certified designer, because no Google designers graded your work. It was peer graded, with all the flaws of that approach.
You won’t get a job based on just finishing the course and having those course projects in your portfolio. Chances for that are slim.
Add two more case studies to your portfolio.
Which portfolio do you think recruiters will prefer?
Most people who finish the google course don’t do it. That means that if you do it, you instantly stand out from that crowd — this is what you want.
When they see 50 portfolios with similar 2 case studies, a portfolio with 4 different ones will instantly be more interesting. This is how our minds work.
Do design tutorials and if you’re planning to be a designer and not a researcher learn UI design.
If most of your portfolio is low fidelity, it will likely blend in and go unnoticed.
Sadly that’s also the Google’s course biggest issue. I really liked most of the course, but the UI part, don’t get me started on that. It’s actually the reason I created my own UI courses, so people can truly learn to make good UI, but even my courses aside, just practice UI — from YouTube tutorials and learn from medium articles.
Pretty UI’s sell better because people buy with their eyes, and that means recruiters buy with their eyes too.
You can use heatmap tools on your portfolio to find out what your “users” find attractive.
The better looking your projects are, the bigger the chance people will actually click on them and read what you wrote in the case study. People don’t have time to dive into boring, academic papers if there’s no interesting cover to them.
First impressions count! Designers, work on UI!
Good advice that I will try to cover in more detail is to have a variety of projects.
Have a mobile app, a website and something different in your portfolio. Like a smartwatch app, or a browser extension. Or a parking meter, atm, smart fridge — the possibilities are endless.
Try to make some interesting projects like a watch app or browser extension
Focus your portfolio on projects first, then on yourself, but try to present yourself in a way that is fun and shows you for who you are.
Oh and always have a photo of yourself in your portfolio, people viewing it react better to faces than to text — that’s just human nature.
Most good portfolios follow similar patterns.
Networking is after the portfolio the second most important aspect of your design career. The short story is that you need to create a Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, make them consistent and start participating in the design community.
Where should designers start? At hype4.academy of course, but right after that check out these sites!
There are many groups on LinkedIn, join them and get active. I’d recommend starting with UX Design that’s run by the UX Collective. It’s the largest and most active group of its kind on LinkedIn. Of course there are also others — the more you join the more you can learn.
While there, leave feedback under projects from other designers, be a nice person and be active. That will help you get seen.
Eventually you can also start posting your own projects to groups and to Twitter, but I always suggest to comment on projects of others first. Learn from that, then post yours.
So… What’s next?
If your goal is to get a job in design, and you completed one course already — that’s great — you’re on your way there. But don’t think for a second that the course is all you need to do.
I believe that if you’re motivated enough to complete a big, complex course like this, you’ll do fine with all the extra work you need to do after.
Just keep going, I believe in you!
If you want to see more examples, I made a short video about those next steps as a part of a free series to help designers find their way after courses and bootcamps.