I'm in my last year of Honours Computer Science at Wilfrid Laurier University, and I'm wondering how I can "break into" the UX industry in Waterloo. Most of the job postings I've seen for UX related roles have been for people with at least 3-4 years expierience in the field. How do I get started?
Currently I'm employed by Manulife Financial as a part-time Interaction Designer on a small internal team of 7. Before my current role, I was basically doing George Jetson's job - watching information flow by, watching for things that were peculiar, and pressing buttons to keep the process going. My current role didn't actually exist until I informed the project lead - a friend of mine - that they really needed someone to come in and spend some time on their interface.
The project is being developed in C# .NET, and in my spare time I had been teaching myself how to put theVisual Studio Forms Designer through its paces. I whipped up a quick demo of how you can make interfaces scale to fit different monitor sizes to show the project lead I was capable, and they ended up creating the role and hiring me for it. However, since getting the job I've learned a lot about the technical aspects of creating interfaces, and even went so far as to bugging teachers at WLU to create a User Interface Design course which I completed in the fall of 09.
That said, I find when I read requirements in the job descriptions for these UX roles, I'm not sure I could adequately preform the tasks for the role. I'd like to think with my Interaction Designer role with Manulife I've got my foot in the door, but I'm finding it hard to take the next step.