6 Entry Level UI Designer Jobs To Break Into the Industry

Sakshi GuptaSakshi Gupta | 11 minute read | July 25, 2022
6 Entry Level UI Designer Jobs to Break Into the Industry

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Whenever a user interacts with a digital product—be it a website, app, smart TV, refrigerator, or automobile—they’re using a  user interface (UI). This interaction is critical in shaping the larger user experience (UX), and so organizations are doubling down on their investments in user interface design. And that demand benefits anyone looking to launch a career in UI design—there are currently over 16,000 open UI designer positions on LinkedIn. And those organizations are willing to pay competitive compensation to attract the best talent. 

But how, exactly, do you launch a career in UI design? Read on to learn more. 

What Is User Interface (UI) Design?

Usability.gov defines user interface design as “anticipating what users might need to do and ensuring that the interface has elements that are easy to access, understand, and use to facilitate those actions.” UI design is an integral part of UX, and focuses on the information architecture, visual design elements, interactions, and animations of a digital product.

What Does a UI Designer Do?

What Does a UI Designer Do? - entry level ui designer jobs
Source: Iscte-iul

A user interface designer meticulously constructs the screens of a digital product. They are responsible for designing:

  • Layouts, wireframes, mockups, prototypes
  • Graphic interface elements such as navigation, menus, buttons, and search
  • Visual elements such as images, fonts, icons, and logos
  • Micro-animations and dynamic interactions

They also regularly solve business problems with UI design, maintain consistency of brand, run A/B tests, and create style guides.

entry level ui designer jobs - Wireframe, Mockup and prototype
Source: Charity Mbaka

Entry-Level UI Designer Jobs

As an emerging field, UI design has a variety of opportunities for new entrants and experienced professionals alike. Depending on the organization’s size, the product you’re designing, team structure, and industry, you can be a generalist, performing a little bit of all design tasks, or a specialist, focusing on one specific area. Let’s look at a few of these entry-level UI designer jobs available today.

UI Design Intern

Most entry-level UI design careers begin with an internship. It offers an excellent opportunity to gain real-world experience across an organization’s spectrum of UI design. 

What You’ll Do

As a UI design intern, you will get a glimpse of every function within the design department. In this role, which typically lasts four weeks to three months, you will:

  • Assist teams in collecting and defining design requirements
  • Participate in research and experimentation
  • Visual design elements based on specific briefs
  • Observe retrospectives, feedback, and iterations sessions
  • Understand brand guidelines and style guides

How Much Can You Make

entry level ui designer jobs - ui design intern salary
Source: Zippia.com

As a user interface design intern, you can earn an average salary of $43,000 per year or $20.95 per hour. It is important to note that there are also a number of unpaid internships which do not offer a salary. 

Basic Requirements for This Role

A UI design internship is typically offered to students who are currently pursuing or have recently graduated from a university program in design-related fields. However, given the growing number of professionals transitioning from another career, it is also offered to aspiring designers without work experience.

Most internships would expect candidates to have a basic understanding of design principles, human-computer interaction, and familiarity with design tools such as Sketch and Adobe XD, in addition to communication and other interpersonal skills.

Junior UI Designer

The junior designer is the most common entry-level full-time position in the field. It offers early-career professionals an opportunity to contribute to the design process meaningfully.

What You’ll Do

In this junior position, you will be an integral part of the design team, building components for digital products. Your tasks will include:

  • Understanding and applying the organization’s brand principles
  • Conducting and synthesizing research relating to UI
  • Designing components for products such as interactions, menus, animations, banners, illustrations, icons, and buttons
  • User testing and troubleshooting
  • Ensuring accessibility and user-centered design

How Much Can You Make

Junior UI Designer salary
Source: Talent.com

A junior UI designer salary is $80,000, according to Talent.com. Even though this role is open for fresh graduates, several organizations hire candidates with 2-3 years of experience, with correspondingly higher designer salaries.

Basic Requirements for This Role

To land this role, you need skills in design principles, human-computer interactions, user personas, and tools such as Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD. It is also a bonus if you have basic front-end development skills, though this is unnecessary.

Visual Designer

Unlike a generalist UI designer, a visual designer, also known as a graphic designer, is focused only on the visual aspects of the interface, such as banners, illustrations, micro-animations, buttons, links, fonts, and colors. As the name suggests, this role is responsible for the visuals.

What You’ll Do

As a visual designer, you will design visuals. You will ensure that the digital product looks and feels in alignment with the overall brand. You will ensure consistency and repeatability of the brand’s visuals across platforms such as macOS, iOS, Android, and Windows. You will also contribute graphics indirectly connected to the digital product, such as illustrations for the App Store, screengrabs for presentations, and marketing messages.

How Much Can You Make

Visual Designer salary
Source: BuiltIn

The average visual designer salary is $74,098, according to BuiltIn. Fresh graduates might start at a salary of $41,000, and more experienced candidates can earn as much as $135,000 depending on their work, their industry, and the organization’s size.

Basic Requirements for This Role

A visual designer focuses more on how the product looks. So, to be a visual designer, you need a strong foundation in design principles such as color, balance, contrast, typography, and branding. Unlike traditional UI designers, you will also be expected to have experience in tools such as Powerpoint, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Canva. 

Motion Designer

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A motion designer is an animator who works within the UI/UX departments. A specialist motion designer role is often found in design studios or game design firms.

What You’ll Do

As a motion designer, you will be responsible for designing the dynamic elements of the UI. This could be micro-animations when you click a button, the animated success message when you fill a form, etc. Sometimes, you might also get the opportunity to edit/repurpose live-action or animation videos to suit various purposes.

How Much You Can Make

Mobile Designer Salary
Source: PayScale

A motion designer earns an average salary of $60,766, according to PayScale. However, with experience and specialization, this can go up to $90,000.

Basic Requirements for This Role

A motion designer is a specialist compared to a generalist UI designer. This means that need to have specialized animation skills in addition to a basic understanding of user experience design. This includes knowledge of:

  • 2D and 3D animation
  • Industry-standard motion design frameworks, plug-ins, formats, codecs, and frame rates
  • Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, Premiere, Blender, Maya, and other video editing software

UI Writer

Though a fundamentally UI design role, a UI writer is less of a designer and more of a wordsmith. As a UI writer, your job is to seamlessly integrate words and text into the design. 

What You’ll Do

In this role, you’ll write UI copy. This could be for a wide range of purposes such as:

  • Website/app copy including titles, banners, and calls to action
  • Error messages, success messages, tooltips, and instructions
  • Email copy, description for the app store listing
  • Notifications and verification messages

How Much Can You Make

UX Writer Salary
Source: Talent.com

A UI/UX writer makes an average salary of $120,000, according to Talent.com. With experience and specialization, you can earn up to $158,000 in this role.

Basic Requirements for This Role

To land a role as a UX writer, you need to have a combination of writing and design skills. You need to be able to write catchy and goal-driven content that fits into the design of the digital product. You also need to have a strong understanding of the brand’s tone of voice to represent it effectively. Design skills in prototyping can also come in handy.

UI Developer

A UI developer essentially performs some parts of frontend development, taking responsibility for the presentation layer of digital products. It is a role that combines the creative side of design with the technology side of development.

What You’ll Do

As a UI developer, you will, design and develop frontend solutions for web and mobile products. You will test the applications you’ve developed to assess user experience. You will also collaborate closely with backend developers to ensure that the application works the way it’s intended to.

How Much Can You Make

UI Developer Salary
Source: PayScale

According to PayScale, the average UI developer salary is $77,605, going up to $122,000 with experience. A UI developer often transitions into a frontend developer, and then a full-stack developer, gaining a significant increase in salary at each step of the way.

Basic Requirements for This Role

The technical skills demanded of a UI developer vary from other UI design roles. To land a job as a UI developer, you need skills in:

  • CSS, HTML and JavaScript
  • Angular and React
  • REST APIs and their function within modern application development
  • Google Material Design and Apple Human Interface Design guidelines

What Skills do You Need to Land an Entry-Level Role in UI Design?

A good UI designer needs to have a basic understanding of user experience design, with specialized skills in UI-related areas. Some of the skillsets you need to land a job as an entry-level designer include:

Research Skills

Good UI design is dependent on a deep and intuitive understanding of the user. To achieve this, you need to have qualitative and quantitative research skills. You must also be able to synthesize results and convert them into action.

Design Skills

entry level ui designer jobs- Design skills

This is the core of your job. For this, you need skills in:

  • Visual design
  • Sketching, wireframing, and prototyping
  • Accessible design
  • Micro animations and motion design

Writing Skills

entry level ui designer jobs - what makes a UX writing good.

When we speak of design, writing isn’t commonly nested into that category. However, UX Writing or Content Design is becoming an integral part of of the UI practice these days. While the designer might not be asked to write copy, familiarity with the UX writing process will help you collaborate better with the writers and build a better output together.

Tools of the Trade

entry level ui designer jobs - UI tools

UI designers use a wide range of tools for their job. Some of the commonly used tools are Figma, Sketch,  Adobe XD, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Motion designers also use 2D/3D animation software and video editing tools.

Analytics and Development Skills

For a UI designer, it’s good to have some analytics and development skills, though these aren’t necessarily required. Still, having this knowledge will help you collaborate more meaningfully with cross-functional teams.

Interpersonal Skills

entry level ui designer jobs - interpersonal skills

A good designer must be able to communicate effectively with a wide variety of audiences, build design processes, engage stakeholders for more meaningful research, and persuade them to see the best way to design software.

The Best Places To Find Entry-Level UI Designer Jobs

There are thousands of open entry-level UI designer positions available today. Once you’ve gained the skills you need to apply for these roles, look at the following places for the right jobs for you.

Job Boards

A job board is typically a website used by organizations to advertise the vacancies they have. Some of the most popular job boards are LinkedIn, Monster, ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and SimplyHired. On these job boards, you will be able to search and filter roles that are suitable for your skills and professional experience. You can also set job alerts for keywords relevant to you. Most of them allow you to apply directly from the job board with a resume and a design portfolio.

Marketplaces

While job boards typically advertise full-time permanent positions, marketplaces do the same for freelance or independent contracting opportunities. The most commonly used marketplaces are UpWork, Fiverr, Toptal, and Freelance.com. There are also design-specific marketplaces such as 99designs, Envato Studio and DesignCrowd.

Networking

One of the most effective ways to land a job as an entry-level UI designer is to approach hiring managers through your network. When you are personally referred to a role, your profile is more likely to be given a deeper look than the dozens of applications received online. 

Tips To Land Your First UI Design Job

To improve your chances of finding your first UI design job, consider the following:

Gain UI Design Skills

As an evolving digital field, there is a vast trove of resources about UI design on the internet. You can learn UI design entirely yourself. However, this might take you longer than necessary, with contradictory information/advice stumping you along the way. To avoid this and streamline your learning, consider completing an online course, taking up a bootcamp, or obtaining a certification.

Most courses will also include practical assignments giving you the hands-on design experience that hiring managers would look for.

Clarify Your Goals

As you’ve seen from the above sections, UI design is not a monolith. A UI writer and a motion designer will be performing vastly different roles, needing diametrically opposite skills. Before you venture into the job market, clarify your goals. Understand what you enjoy doing and what you’re good at, and pursue roles that are a good fit for you.

Build a Portfolio

While most entry-level positions don’t need you to have work experience, having an online UI portfolio significantly improves your chances of getting hired. Write case studies explaining the projects on your portfolio to give the hiring manager context to your decisions and choices. 

Polish Your Resume

Whether you’re a fresh graduate entering the workforce or a seasoned professional transitioning to UI design, your resume is your business card into this world. Make sure it is updated and has all the information that a hiring manager is looking for. Customize your UI resume to the job you are applying to, mirroring its job description. 

Network

  • Find mentors and seek help
  • Make connections on LinkedIn and contact hiring managers who post about open positions on their teams
  • Follow UI design experts on online communities and interact with them regularly
  • Participate in online and offline UI design events to meet professionals in the field
  • Make design contributions to not-for-profits
  • Compete in design contests and collaborate with other designers

FAQs About a Career in UI Design

We’ve got the answers to your most frequently asked questions. 

Is UI Design Easy To Learn?

Yes, and no. There are plenty of online resources to learn UI design. There are also structured online courses and bootcamps to learn UI design thoroughly and quickly. However, the field is new and rapidly evolving. New concepts and frameworks are developed every day. There are also intense debates about ‘good design’ with little or no consensus. 
So, while you can easily gain foundational skills, your growth as a designer involves lifelong learning, critical thinking, and practical application.

What Qualifications Do I Need To Become a UI Designer?

To become a UI designer, you need skills in user research and synthesis, interaction design, sketching, wireframing, prototyping, and micro-animations. You need to have proficiency in design tools such as Sketch, Figma, and Adobe XD. You also need interpersonal skills such as user empathy, communication, presentation, persuasion, and consensus-building.

Is It Hard To Get an Entry-Level Job in UI Design?

There are thousands of available UI design positions today, with not enough designers to fill these vacancies. Moreover, good designers are seen as rare. Therefore, with the right skills and experience, it is not hard to get an entry-level UI design job.

Does UI Design Require Coding?

No. UI design is an entirely design-driven role, and UI designers generally don’t code, even if they closely work with programmers to ensure a seamless handoff. However, one of the common career paths for UI designers is to become frontend developers, which involves coding. If you aspire to take that path, you will need coding skills.

Is UI Design a Good Career?

Yes. UI design is an emerging field—there are plenty of opportunities and the market is growing. As an evolving field, the intellectual challenges it will present will certainly be stimulating. As the world gets more and more digital, the real-world impact of UI design will become more tangible. All that together, UI design is an excellent career.

Since you’re here…
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Sakshi Gupta

About Sakshi Gupta

Sakshi is a Senior Associate Editor at Springboard. She is a technology enthusiast who loves to read and write about emerging tech. She is a content marketer and has experience working in the Indian and US markets.