The underrepresentation of women in Nigeria’s tech industry is nothing new. As a rising career field, UI/UX Design has become popular among many women looking to begin their tech journey. However, because tech is a male-dominated field, the journey can be difficult for women at times.
In this article, we’ll go over common problems women face getting into UI/UX Design, as well as ways to solve these problems.
After listening sessions with several young Nigerian women on their way to becoming UI/UX Designers, we identified common problems that they face when trying to break into the industry.
One of the most common responses was the inability of beginners to reach mentors and senior designers in the industry.
Many people starting out in tech assume that they need a mentor, although this isn’t always the case. Even if you don’t have a mentor, you can seek assistance from many people in the tech community. Many people eventually find mentors without knowing it.
There are different approaches to finding a mentor. The best method is openly asking questions in an active community(e.g Twitter). This way, you get enough assistance and have access to these people who respond. Your network will undoubtedly extend over time.
Connecting with Women
Another common problem is connecting with other women. It is typical for women to desire to stay in touch with other women in a male-dominated field, typically as mentors and for motivation.
Seeing women in tech is often motivating for beginners because they understand the difficulties they may have had to overcome. Recently, there have been several communities and organizations working hard to bridge the diversity gap in tech. Such as SheCodeAfrica, SheDesignsAfrica, LadiesWhoDesign, and many more.
As a beginner in UI/UX Design, joining these communities contributes greatly to your growth. You get to meet designers at different levels in the career ladder, receive feedback from the community when you share your work, and find opportunities. Some communities also offer mentorship programs to help structure the learning process for beginners.
Lastly, the struggles of finding internships and job opportunities. This is the most common problem for beginners across the different paths in tech.
A good hack for this is to share your work and document your learning, especially as a UI/UX Designer. To gain experience, you can also contribute to open-source projects. This allows the public to recognise your progress and assist potential clients and employers in understanding your design abilities and learning process. It also helps you in creating a comprehensive portfolio for recruiters to go through when making hiring decisions.
It’s easy to get lost in the early stages of your design career. Therefore, it is critical that you identify your goals, continue to learn, and strive towards them.
Share your work, get involved in communities, and expand your network. Stop doubting your abilities and start believing in your ability to succeed. These practices will help you position yourself in the industry and identify your strengths and weaknesses.