DePaul University Career Center's Blog

Navigating the Path to a Successful Career in UI/UX Design: Insights from Rija Aamir

Ira Deshmukh

DePaul University’s Tech and Design Career Community ‘How I Got This Job’ session for the Spring quarter was an enlightening gathering that focused on experience design. The event featured Rija Aamir, a distinguished DePaul Alum and experienced Junior Associate Designer at Publicis Sapient. The event provided valuable insights and advice for aspiring designers and developers seeking to navigate the industry successfully.

Switching Paths and Emphasizing HCI

During the interview, Rija shared her inspiring journey of transitioning from a web developer to a UI/UX designer. She emphasized the importance of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) courses and personal projects in shaping her career. She highlighted how these experiences enriched her skill set and paved the way for her success in the industry.

Navigating the Job Search Process

Rija also shared her own efforts to enhance her skills, particularly in tools like Figma and XD, and emphasized the importance of aligning one’s skill set with the job description. She candidly discussed the challenges of finding a position in a slow market and encountering unrealistic requirements for entry-level roles. Despite these hurdles, Rija encouraged attendees to stay true to themselves, maintain a strong personality, and never stop improving their craft.

Staying Informed and Networking

The significance of  staying updated on industry trends through platforms like Medium, LinkedIn, newsletters, and websites such as Dribbble was also stressed on. Rija highlighted the importance of networking and recommended connecting with senior leaders through coffee chats. Recognizing that the job search process can be lengthy, she shared her personal experience with imposter syndrome and advised seeking support from others. She mentioned the value of receiving portfolio reviews from professionals in their network and utilizing platforms like Design Buddies for constructive feedback.

Building Essential Skills

Rija further emphasized the importance of developing presentation skills as a UX designer. Effective communication with clients and the ability to articulate design decisions are crucial for building trust and conveying information properly. Accepting critiques with an open mind is another valuable soft skill that helps designers grow and improve their work.

Recommendations for Electives and Internships

Rija Aamir provided recommendations for electives at DePaul University, suggesting project management-related courses that offer valuable skills for managing design projects. The inclusion of “Business Disaster and Recovery” under Information Systems is anther grate course to take, as it provides new perspectives on approaching UX design. Rija stressed on the the significance of internships, but she mentioned that they are not essential. Instead, she encouraged students to focus on building a strong portfolio, practicing presentation skills, and considering additional courses or certifications in HCI to increase job opportunities.

The Power of Personal Projects:

She suggested utilizing online UX design challenge generators to work on personal projects that align with career goals. These projects can serve as valuable additions to a portfolio and demonstrate a designer’s skills and creative problem-solving abilities.

From the personal experiences of professionals like Rija Aamir, to practical advice on navigating the job search process and building essential skills, attendees gained valuable information to shape their own successful careers in the tech and design industry. By embracing continuous learning, staying informed, networking, and focusing on personal projects, individuals can forge a path towards a fulfilling and impactful career in this dynamic field.


Have specific questions on building your LinkedIn profile? Want someone to review your profile? That’s exactly where we come in. Whether you’re a freshman or alumnus, it’s never too early (or too late!) to utilize our services. Book an appointment with Ira, or another member of the Career Center advising community through Handshake, or by calling the front desk at (773) 325-7431.

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