We all need someone to lean on when we are starting down a new path. A mentor can be very helpful to people beginning a new career journey in user experience (UX) or user interface (UI) design.

What Is a Mentor?

A mentor is a more experienced person who can lead a less experienced person on the journey to learn a new career. In fields like UX and UI design, having someone to turn to if you need to ask a question, get feedback on a portfolio or design, or are looking for career information, can be highly beneficial. Changing careers can be scary and having someone to talk things over with can really help.

Who Can Be a Mentor?

Mentors are usually experienced professionals who can provide guidance, feedback, and support to a new designer or design student. Age isn’t really important but mentors are usually older than their mentees because they have been in the field longer.

Mentoring Is a Relationship

The connection between a mentor and their mentee is a relationship and like any relationship, it evolves over time. It starts out more formal and if the fit is right, becomes more like a pleasant business connection or even a friendship. Like any relationship, mentorship needs to be fostered in order to build trust. You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and just start pouring your heart out, so you don’t want to do that with someone you would like to have as a mentor, either. So how do you find a mentor?

How to Find a Mentor

Vy Alechnavicius, a UX Designer and creator of the YouTube channel vaexperience, lists three paths for finding a mentor.

Mentor Yourself

When you are first starting to explore UX/UI design and decide if it is the field for you, you can direct your own journey with books, free courses, and videos. Find YouTube channels offering advice on different aspects of design, as well as how to interview for a job or put together a portfolio. Look these people up on sites like LinkedIn to see how much experience they have. Speaking of LinkedIn, that brings us to the next place to find a mentor.

Join the Design Network

Online communities like LinkedIn, Twitter, Medium, Slideshare, YouTube, and Instagram are all places where designers share ideas. Reach out to designers whose work you like and ask questions. Start off by asking for advice, but don’t jump right in by asking them to be your mentor. The best mentorship is between people who have a relationship, so find a person you think has something to teach you and approach them via comments or email. Be succinct and respectful and don’t expect an immediate response. Professionals are busy and many tend to schedule responding to correspondence weekly or even monthly, so don’t snap back in a few days if you don’t hear anything. Be patient.

Build a Rapport

Once you have established a relationship and have been in contact with a person that you think would make a good mentor, you can reach out and ask them, but keep in mind that they might say no. In this case, have a backup plan, such as asking if they could give you some direction or ideas where to find more guidance.


Natural mentorship happens over time. It is surprising how many people just happen to meet someone who ends up acting as a mentor. Former teachers or colleagues, someone you meet through a friend, or someone you connect with at a meetup or conference can all end up as mentors. Take every opportunity that comes your way to network and make connections. You never know how it will pay off.

Courses, Bootcamps, and Certificate Programs

Some UX/UI design courses provide students with a mentor and for the most part, graduates find that this is helpful. Look for a course that offers one-on-one mentoring for the most effective use of time. Find out how often the mentor can meet with you and where. A remote class can provide mentors from all over the world and this could be useful in a diverse and quickly growing field like UX/UI design.

What Does a Mentor Do?

A mentor shares knowledge and experience with a mentee. Mentors can help with technical issues, finding a job, career coaching, preparing for interviews, and negotiating salaries. They can help you build a portfolio by improving your case studies and whiteboard challenges. But a good mentor doesn’t only help you find your first UX design job. They can help you push through creative blocks in the design process and provide empowerment and support. Their role is to give expert feedback.

Where to Learn UX Design

If you would like to learn more about UX design in order to switch to a new career, one of the best ways to do that is to sign up for classes. You can choose classes that meet in-person or online to learn design software and other applications. Some people prefer to attend brick-and-mortar sessions when learning new information, but that isn’t always available. Live online classes have a similar set-up with a real-time, remote instructor who can answer questions and take control of your monitor—with permission—to show you how to do things. Training is part or full-time and available weekdays, weeknights, or weekends.

The best way to prepare for a career shift to a field like UX design is to enroll in a bootcamp or certificate program. These are intensive training courses that run from a few weeks to a few months and another plus of training is that you will leave class with a professional-quality portfolio that you can show to prospective employers.


It’s easy to learn UX design and start a new career. Check out Noble Desktop’s UX design classes. Choose between in-person sessions in NYC at Noble’s location or sign up for live online UX design courses and attend from anywhere. Use Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me to find other UX design bootcamps in your area.