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5 Reasons You Need a Great UX/UI Design Portfolio

Plus, what sets Touro College GST graduates’ portfolios apart from the crowd.
By Elizabeth Nelson

If you’re embarking on a career as a UX or UI designer, the first step in your journey is getting the best education you can. A master’s degree in Web and Multimedia Design from Touro College Graduate School of Technology certainly offers that, but it’s not all you’ll need in order to land the job of your dreams. To get that coveted offer letter, you’ll also need a great portfolio — one that shows your skills to their best advantage, so prospective employers know exactly what you can do, and why they should hire you instead of one of the many other applicants you are likely up against. At Touro College GST, professors are immersed in the field, often holding full-time positions as designers themselves, so they’re very aware of the latest trends, as well as what companies are looking for in new employees. They understand how competitive the fields of UX and UI design are, and their courses are geared toward helping students succeed. Touro professors don’t just want graduates to get hired — they want them to thrive in their new roles. Building a great portfolio helps with both: while the end result secures an interview and (hopefully) a job, the process of creating it helps hone students’ skills and puts their knowledge to the test.
In addition to showing off what job candidates can do, the best UX or UI portfolios are easy to scan, tell a clear story, convey enthusiasm, and are unique. Employers don’t want a portfolio that “looks like it was made in a factory,” as Dominika Juraszek, chair of the Web and Multimedia Design program at Touro GST, puts it. “The design field is constantly changing — there’s no slowing down. We help students sharpen their portfolio skills and create a presentation that’s more customized.” Why is it so important to have a great portfolio? Here are five reasons:

1. A great portfolio gets your foot in the door.

Without a portfolio, you won’t stand much of a chance of being invited to interview for a full-time job, much less get the job. Your portfolio is as important as your resume or your business card, and maybe even more so: while you might not need a business card in today’s largely virtual world, you can’t apply for a design job without a portfolio.

2. A great portfolio shows who you are.

Your portfolio is your chance to create a full portrait of who you are as a designer. It’s not just an opportunity to demonstrate your skills, it’s a place where you can express your aesthetic sense, your approach to problems, and even your personality. Get creative, and don’t be afraid to be yourself! Employers want to know who you are, as well as what you can do.

3. A great portfolio sets you apart.

The popularity of UX/UI design boot camps means there’s no shortage of people competing for design jobs. Having a degree from Touro GST, however, will automatically put you ahead of the pack. “The students that come out of those boot camps have very similar portfolios, because they’re based on a formula,” says Professor Juraszek. “You come in, you do this, you follow the leader. Here’s a template and they all spit out the same kind of design, word for word.” Touro GST grads have unique and creative portfolios that stand out from the crowd.

4. A great portfolio lands you freelance work.

While you’re pursuing that full-time job offer, it’s nice to have some freelance income, and your portfolio can help you land those gigs that can tide you over until you have a steady paycheck coming in. Of course, not everyone is looking for full-time work, and if you prefer to freelance, even more reason to have a stellar portfolio to advertise yourself to potential clients. Freelance projects have the added bonus of being a great way to polish your skills and get more experience under your belt — and will often yield fresh material for your design portfolio!

5. A great portfolio keeps your skills relevant.

In a rapidly changing and evolving field like UX/UI design, it’s imperative to keep up with the latest trends and technologies. Keeping your portfolio up to date with fresh content not only shows potential employers that you’ve got the skills they need, it helps you stay in touch with what’s happening in your field. Even once you have a job, it’s smart to maintain a current portfolio, so you’ll be ready to take the next step in your career.

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