UX Design Internships: A Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn about UX design internships to find out if you want to pursue one. Discover what duties you'll have, what qualifications you'll need, how an internship can benefit you, and more.

[Featured image] A UX designer is working on their laptop while in an office.

A UX design internship is an opportunity for students or others to learn about a career in UX design and gain real-world experience. Typically, companies will offer temporary positions in the summer or part-time during the school year for either school credit or hourly pay; this opportunity may also lead to a full-time position. 

User experience (UX) involves how using a product or service makes a consumer feel, and UX design refers to the process of making that experience meaningful. This process contains a variety of elements, including:

  • Branding

  • Marketing

  • Packaging

  • Design

  • Function

  • Usability

What will I do as a UX design intern?

As an intern, you'll work with UX designers to complete projects that may be at any stage of the design process. Some specific duties you might have include:

  • Conducting user interviews

  • Assisting with user testing

  • Helping evaluate user research

  • Creating design mockups

  • Creating prototypes and wireframes

  • Recording feedback from stakeholders

Read more: What Does a UX Designer Do?

What qualifications do I need for a UX design internship?

To get a UX design internship, it helps to have key qualifications, such as a variety of specialized skills and a certain level of education. Prior work experience may also help you perform your duties as a UX design intern. Read on, to learn more about the qualifications: 


UX design interns benefit from two categories of skills. These include technical skills,  those that can help you perform work tasks, and workplace skills that help you interact with other people on the job.

Technical skills:

  • Familiarity with software like Photoshop and Illustrator

  • Research skills

  • Graphic design skills

  • Knowledge of information architecture

  • Knowledge of usability design

  • Experience with user-centered design

Workplace skills:

  • Ability to multitask

  • Ability to work well alone and with others

  • Attention to detail

  • Creativity

  • Design thinking

  • Good verbal and written communication

Read more: 9 Essential Skills for UX Designers


Typically employers will hire students pursuing a bachelor’s degree for a UX design internship. However, in some cases, companies may be more interested in UX-related experience and projects rather than education. Bootcamps and UX design courses are an example of ways to gain UX design experience to help you in your pursuit of an internship.


Consider pursuing a degree in a field like:

- Computer science

- Design computing

- Digital media design

- Graphic design

- Human interface technology

- Interactive media



Although prior work experience isn’t always necessary, it can still make you a more attractive candidate for a UX design internship. Since UX design requires a substantial amount of research and planning, it’s important to have a basic understanding of research methods so that hiring managers understand your methodology to gather data. Employers may take a second look at your application if you have any experience in:

3 benefits of UX design internships

Here’s how an internship can make a good first step to becoming a UX designer: 

1. Gain experience in the field.

Working as a UX design intern provides you with practical, hands-on experience you may not get in a classroom. It’s also an opportunity to develop skills for your resume, which can make you a more marketable candidate for future jobs. You may even get a job offer from the company you intern for. 

2. Learn more about the industry.

Working as a UX design intern allows you to learn more about the design industry. It’s also a chance to see where you might want to go with your future career.

3. Have an opportunity to network.

A UX design internship may expose you to a variety of professionals in the field. Not only can these people be a great source of knowledge and information, but they also make valuable contacts for future employment. 

Read more: What Is Networking? How to Grow Your Network

Tips for finding a UX design internship

It helps to strategize when looking for any position. Use these tips for finding your UX design internship:

Consider where you want to intern.

Decide whether you want to work for a design studio or a company that sells products or services. If a business has a design team, explore their work on the company website to get a better understanding of the people you'll work with. 

Other considerations you might have include:

  • If a stipend is offered for interns

  • Whether the company has a practice of hiring interns for full-time positions

  • Whether the company specializes in a particular facet of UX design that interests you, such as information architecture, prototypes, or user research

Use available resources.

A number of resources can be useful in an internship search. Try these ideas:

  • Check with the career services center at your college or university.

  • Go to career fairs.

  • Connect with fellow students or professors at your college or university.

  • Get internship information through online communities.

  • Follow UX designers on social media.

  • Make your professional social media page accessible to HR managers and recruiters.

Create a portfolio.

Your UX design portfolio gives hiring managers an example of your work and an idea of your skill level. Be sure to include the following elements:

  • Visuals for a few projects

  • A case study for each project that includes details about your design process, any problems you had, the solutions you formulated, and what you learned 

  • Contact information and an ‘About Me’ section

Read more: 7 UX Designer Portfolio Examples: A Beginners Guide

Be ready for a design challenge.

When choosing an intern, companies may ask candidates to participate in a design challenge that helps highlight knowledge and skills. You may be asked to complete a whiteboard challenge in front of your interviewer, or you could receive a take-home challenge, which may take up to a few days to complete.

Examples might include:

  • Designing an imaginary product or service

  • Designing a process that improves a product or service

Interview tips for UX design internships

A UX design internship interview provides great practice for getting a future job. To help prepare for your internship interview, take advantage of these tips:

  • Learn about the company by exploring its website, mission statement, and blog.

  • Dress professionally.

  • Bring your resume and portfolio, even if you've already provided them.

  • Prepare one or two questions to ask at the end of the interview.

  • Thank your interviewer before you leave, and follow up with an email expressing appreciation for the interview opportunity.

Read more: 12 UX Designer Interview Questions and Answers

Getting started on Coursera  

To get started in a UX design career, consider earning the Google UX Design Professional Certificate on Coursera. This program can help you prepare for an internship in UX design or an entry-level job in the field. In the seven-module course, you'll explore UX design concepts and discover how to follow the design process. Upon completion, gain a sharable Professional Certificate to include in your resume or LinkedIn profile. 

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