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How to Become a UX/UI designer in New York

How to Become a UX/UI designer in New York

6 minute read | July 8, 2020
Sakshi Gupta

Written by:
Sakshi Gupta

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New York is one of the top cities for UX/UI designers. In addition to ranking first in the United States when it comes to the number of UX/UI design job openings, it offers some of the most competitive salaries and opportunities for growth.

One of New York City’s strengths is that it isn’t dominated by a single company or industry—it’s home to more than a dozen major industries, ranging from finance to healthcare, trade, real estate, media, publishing, manufacturing, consumer tech, e-commerce, and fitness. The sheer size and diversity of the city—both in terms of population and business sectors—means that there is no shortage of products and services being made and used. It also means that there’s an enormous need for designers to help build and improve those products and services.

Whether it’s New York media giants like Bloomberg or Condé Nast, transportation services like the NYC MTA, financial organizations like Capital One or Plaid, e-commerce platforms such as Etsy or Rent the Runway, or fitness companies such as Peloton or Equinox, companies large and small increasingly understand that UX/UI design is no longer a “nice to have”—it’s a basic requirement to ensure that their products and services remain competitive.

This is why the demand for designers who can build platforms and apps that factor in user experiences and interactions has grown so much over the past ten years and continues to surge in a city like New York. UX/UI designers themselves are being recognized for their valuable contributions—UX designer salaries frequently exceed $100,000; both startups and legacy companies are on UX designer hiring sprees; and those in UX/UI design roles are finally getting a seat at the upper management table.

UX designers and UI designers are in high demand, enjoy generous salaries, and get to solve complex and impactful problems. Read on to learn more about how to get a job as a UX/UI designer in New York.

How to become a UX/UI designer in New York

  1. Design skills.

  2. Practice, practice, practice.

  3. Show that you think about the user.

  4. Do the hustle.

There’s no set path to becoming a UX/UI designer in New York, but below are some proven tips to get you closer toward that dream job in UX/UI design.

  1. Design skills. Regardless of the city or industry in which you choose to work, if you want a career in UX/UI design, you’ll need to equip yourself with some foundational skills such as creating wireframes, user flows, site maps, and high fidelity prototypes; incorporating user research and feedback into graphic design, visual design, and interaction design; performing user testing and being an advocate for the user; proficiency with design tools such as Figma and Photoshop; and collaborating with stakeholders such as product managers and a larger design team. While many of these skills can be self-taught, introductory design courses and in-depth UX design bootcamps are a great way to fast-track your learning, get you up to speed on design process best practices, and help you build a job-scoring portfolio.
  2. Practice, practice, practice. Find opportunities to apply user-centric design principles to projects. UX/UI design is a visual field, so create your own sketches, mockups, and storyboards for how a website, platform, or app can be improved; identify usability problems that can be resolved through UX research and brainstorm possible solutions using design thinking. Even if you have to create your own opportunities through personal projects or unsolicited redesigns, this will give you the chance to practice your skills and show a potential hiring manager your passion and enthusiasm for the craft.
  3. Show that you think about the user. In a city like New York that has so many different types of industries, UX design at a fitness hardware company like Peloton will look different from UX design at a fintech startup like Simon. When applying to a UX design job, consider the specific experiences and needs of the user and the goals of the product or service. Show that you can both understand an organization’s mission and be an advocate for the user.
  4. Do the hustle. If there’s one city that rewards ambitious self-starters, it’s New York. Even though there are many UX/UI design opportunities, there’s still fierce competition for positions at the top companies in each category. This is why it’s important to build a CV that shows potential hiring managers that you’re self-motivated and unafraid to take risks. Many UX/UI designers in New York start off as freelancers or contractors before they land a full-time role, and it’s not uncommon for designers to proactively reach out to the companies they want to work for to offer their services. Freelancing is an effective way to get your foot in the door, build experience, and show hiring managers that you’re not one to wait around for an opportunity.

What kind of UX/UI design jobs are available in New York?

In addition to having the most number of UX/UI design job openings in the country, New York City offers the most diverse range of opportunities. The city is uniquely positioned as a hub for multiple industries, all of which are actively hiring designers with expertise in digital experiences, user experience design, and user interface design.

The types of UX/UI roles available also span the experience gamut. For example, New York companies HelloFresh, Public Goods, and Macy’s all recently posted job listings for junior UX designers (1-3 years of experience), while companies such as Peloton, ZocDoc, and the Meredith Corporation sought UX designers with at least 5+ years of experience.

Many Silicon Valley technology companies have a significant outpost in New York City, most major advertising, public relations, and branding agencies have their headquarters in the surrounding region, and the city remains fertile ground for startups of all sizes—all of this means that there are opportunities for UX/UI designers to rise through the ranks, choose from organizations ranging from seed-round startups to publicly traded companies, and find new ways to challenge themselves.

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What companies are hiring UX/UI designers in New York?

More than a dozen major industries–from finance and tech to the media and the arts–have a significant presence in New York City. Some New York-based companies (or companies with NY outposts) that are hiring UX/UI designers include:

  • Etsy
  • Rent the Runway
  • Peloton
  • HelloFresh
  • Vimeo
  • Deloitte
  • Capital One
  • JP Morgan Chase & Co.
  • Equinox
  • Verizon
  • Macy’s
  • Squarespace
  • Google
  • Rockstar Games
  • Amazon
  • Sirius XM
  • Clear
  • Meredith Media
  • ZocDoc

UX/UI designer salary in New York

UX/UI designers in New York City make four percent above the national U.S. average, according to Glassdoor.

Entry-level UX/UI designers in New York City earn an average base salary of around $78,110, with cash and stock bonuses that can range between $2,000-17,000.

Senior-level UX/UI designers in New York City earn an average base salary of around $104,614, with cash and stock bonuses that can range between $2,000-21,000.

UX/UI designer networking opportunities in New York

There are many casual and formal UX/UI design groups and conferences held in New York City where designers can network, share career and collaboration opportunities, and post listings for UX designer jobs. Some of those groups include:

How to land an entry-level UX design job in New York

Many entry-level UX/UI design jobs in New York require candidates to know at least the basics of design—from familiarity with tools such as Sketch and Figma to knowing how to apply design thinking to solve a problem. These skills can be learned without any prior design or technical experience.

Related Read: 6 Entry Level UI Designer Jobs To Break Into the Industry

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Since you’re here…
If you’re looking to move into design, having strong UX and UI skills is a major edge. Our UI/UX Design Bootcamp has earned graduates jobs with the most competitive organizations on earth, and 99.5% of our students are fully employed within 12 months of graduation. Check out our student reviews for good feels, and If you’re totally new to the field, try our free intro course.

About Sakshi Gupta

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