So, you want to be a UX professional…

If you think you might want a career in UX, you should become familiar with all of these sources:

Jakob Neilsen: Nielsen Norman Group
Look through Neilsen’s site, NNgroup.com . Read the reports and articles.

Jared Spool: User Interface Engineering
Look through Jared’s site, UIE.com .  Read All You Can Learn, Articles, and anything else.

Jesse James Garret: The Elements of Use Experience
Read this classic book about UX. See the original diagram that is the basis for UX design.

Steve Krug:
Don’t Make Me Think — read this.
To get you started, here’s a free sample chapter.

Look through job descriptions of UX job openings.
UXPKC job board.

Prepare a portfolio:
Look through some UX portfolios.
See a UX case study — something like this would be great for your portfolio!
See Tim Gillissen’s portfolio: He’s a UX designer/developer at VML.
See Sheila Mullings portfolio: She’s an Experience Designer at VML. (Be sure to check out her Elevator Pitch!)
See Adrian Cunanan’s website.

This article about sketching and wireframing is useful so you can see the steps involved in UX work.
This image is a summary:

If you’re really serious, get a mentor!
UXPCK has a mentorship program. Check it out. Join. Meet people who work in UX in Kansas City… many of them are Bearcats!
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