IN THIS ARTICLE
- What Does a UX Job Entail?
- Do I Have to Work In Visual Design As a UX designer?
- Different UX Job Titles To Consider
- 6 In-Demand UX Jobs
- How To Get a UX Design Job
- Frequently Asked Questions About the UX Field
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COVID-19 impacted the software industry unlike any other. Social distancing and restricted movements forced a vast majority of tasks performed in-person to be done online/remotely. This accelerated the growth of the software industry in two distinct ways: New software was being created, and existing software was rapidly improved.
For instance, before the pandemic, several processes in the financial services industry needed a physical signature. When this became almost impossible, regulations were loosened, and organizations created new products to take user signatures securely online. On the other hand, video conferencing products like Teams or GoToMeeting had complex user interfaces designed only for superusers. The pandemic made such tools mainstream, giving relatively newer products like Zoom the edge.
From grocery shopping and stress management to speaking to their grandchildren, digital applications have become a big part of everyday lives. People more willingly adopt products that are easy to use, quick to respond, and enjoyable to interact with.
As a result, thoughtful user experience design has become significant in building products. Product leaders are realizing the direct impact of great UX (and a great UX designer) on revenue; more so since Google announced that it would favor websites with good UX in its search rankings. This means that they are building UX teams with both specialists and generalists, for better overall user experience design.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how you can join one of these teams. We’ll discuss the top careers and UX job titles, available in UX and offer suggestions on how you can find a UX designer role that fits your needs!
What Does a UX Job Entail?
It’s hard to pin down a UX job description, mainly because there are so many different types of UX professionals out there. Senior UX designers have different responsibilites to more junior UX engineers, while specialists like UX researchers focusing on conducting user research. Some UX roles require a blend of user testing and actual execution during the design process. Some UX professionals work on their own, others work with UI designers or web developers. You’ll need to read each job description carefully to figure out which UX job is right for you.
The responsibilities of a UX designer can vary depending on the company and the specific project, but they typically include the following:
- Conducting user research: This involves the UX researchers understanding the user needs and goals, as well as their pain points and frustrations.
- Creating wireframes and prototypes: This job description involves creating low-fidelity or high-fidelity representations of the user interface to test and iterate on design ideas during usability tests and user research.
- Conducting usability testing: These job descriptions involve testing designs with real users to get feedback on how easy they are to use and understand during the design process.
- Working with developers to implement designs: This involves communicating design decisions to developers and ensuring that the designs are implemented correctly.
- Staying up-to-date on the latest design trends and technologies: Most job descriptions involve keeping an eye on new design tools and techniques, as well as the latest user needs through behavior research during the design process.
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Do I Have to Work In Visual Design As a UX designer?
There are dozens of job descriptions and job titles in the field, so don’t limit yourself to working as a visual designer. UX researchers focus on user research and conducting a competitor analysis or market analysis during the design process. UX writers focus on copy in the UX design process. You could look for a UX designer role that uses your interaction design principles knowledge in a number of ways, e.g. focusing on information architecture during or after the design process.
Different UX Job Titles To Consider
UX design, or user experience design, is the process of designing products that are easy to use, enjoyable, and effective. UX designers focus on the entire user experience, from the initial interaction with a product to the final outcome. They use a variety of research methods and design tools to create products that meet the needs of users.
There are a variety of UX job titles, including:
- UX Designer: UX designers are responsible for the overall user experience of a product. They conduct research, create prototypes, and test designs to ensure that products are easy to use and enjoyable.
- Visual Designer: Visual designers are responsible for the visual appearance of a product. They create wireframes, mockups, and user interfaces to ensure that products are visually appealing and consistent with the brand.
- UX Engineer: UX engineers are responsible for the technical implementation of UX designs. They work with developers to translate designs into code and ensure that products are performant and accessible.
- UX Architect: UX architects are responsible for the information architecture of a digital product. They organize information in a way that is easy for users to find and understand.
- UX Strategist: UX strategists are responsible for developing the overall UX strategy for a product. They identify user needs, develop personas, and create user journey maps for digital products.
6 In-Demand UX Jobs
The US Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts that jobs for UX designers will grow at 8%—much faster than average. It is also one of the best-paid jobs in the country, with UX designers earning a median salary of $75,000 and 10% of designers earning more than $109,000. A survey finds that 84% of product designers had a salary increase in the last 1-2 years, and they expect a 20% hike in the next 1-2 years. There are a number of different UX roles, so salaries can fluctuate, though. It’s best to look at each of the UX job titles individually to gauge your future earnings.
However, not all UX designer jobs are the same. Within the field of UX, there is a wide range of jobs, each offering different opportunities, challenges, and growth paths. Some of the most common ones are as follows.
1. UX Designer
A user experience designer is a quintessential generalist, taking responsibility for the entire process from understanding user behavior to execution and testing. The UX designer job description includes UX research, problem definition, information architecture, interface design, interaction design, wireframing, prototyping, user testing, etc. One person performs such a wide range of tasks, typically in a startup or a small business. As the organization and the design team grow, each team member takes on a specific role, specializing in that area.
Skills of a UX designer
The commonly expected design skills and UX job description includes:
- Design thinking, user empathy, UX research, ideation, etc.
- Creating information architecture, wireframes, prototypes, user journeys, user flows, etc.
- UI design, brand design, visual design, interaction design, etc.
- Collaboration, communication, etc., along with the ability to transfer the idea effectively to development teams
- Knowledge of top UX tools such as Figma, Invision, Sketch, Balsamiq, etc.
UX designer salaries
According to Payscale, a UX designer with less than a year of experience earns around $63,706 per year. This grows to over $100,000 with experience. Organizations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and Cisco have open UX designer positions today.
2. UX Researcher
As the name suggests, UX researchers specializes in user research and understanding user needs. This UX job is about understanding the user, their needs, problems, priorities, and interaction with the product under design. They use qualitative and quantitative research methods to analyze, observe and interview users to inform their design.
One part anthropologist, one part sociologist, and one part marketer, a UX researcher sets the foundation for the user empathy the UX teams need to make design decisions. While most of their work might be stacked before the design begins, they also play a significant role in validating and optimizing designs through testing. These UX roles are more specialized.
Skills of a UX researcher
A UX researcher is expected to be skilled in an number of areas. A UX researcher job description may include:
- User research methods such as thematic analysis, affinity maps, empathy maps, personas, jobs to be done, etc.
- Behavioral psychology and its methods
- Research planning and execution through recruiting users through screener surveys, diary studies, and interviews
- Analysis and interpretation of research data
- Presentations including usability findings, test reports, and so on
UX researcher salaries
The average UX researcher salary is $87,701, going up to $132,000 with seniority levels. PayPal, Instagram, Spotify, Macy’s, etc., have open UX researcher positions.
3. Product Designer
This designer is a combination of a UX designer and a product manager. They focus on the vision for the product in the long term, leveraging UX techniques for product design. From Hulu’s product designer job description below, you’ll see that the role is more strategic in defining the direction of the product. Therefore, it is often one of the more senior UX roles, leading a team of UX designers.
Skills of a product designer
In addition to the UX design skills that we discussed above, a product designer is also skilled in:
- Cross-channel design including augmented reality, virtual reality, wearables, etc.
- Communication and leadership
- Process design, continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) processes
Product designer salary
The average salary for a product designer is $84,785, going up to over $100,000 with experience. As product-driven software development grows, the demand for product designers is expected to increase. Disney, TikTok, Tinder, Quora, etc., are all hiring product designers today.
4. User Interface Designer
A user interface (UI) designer—also known as a graphic designer or visual designer—is responsible for what meets the eye. In many ways, the work of the UI designer is the first thing the user sees, often having a disproportionate impact on the perception of user experience. A UI designer creates graphics, icons, interactions, and illustrations. A UI designer is also often responsible for accessibility and ethical design. It’s one of the more practical UX roles out there, and perfect for creative types that like design.
Skills of a UI designer
- Strong grasp of design principles such as colors, balance, contrast, typography, etc.
- Understanding of the latest design trends
- Experience with UI designer tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, etc.
- Collaboration, iteration, and feedback
- UX writing and copywriting
- Brand design, including logos, brand palettes, style guides, etc.
User interface designer salary
The average salary of a visual designer is $65,631, going up to $93,000 with experience. Many UX designers start their careers as graphic designers and gain experience over time, making it the first step in their growth path. Others focus on areas such as interaction design or animation, building a super-specialized skillset. Figma, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are a few of the hundreds of companies hiring visual designers right now, so keep an eye out for their latest UX roles.
5. UX Writer/Strategist
Of all the UX design jobs, this is the one that’s not seen as design-related. However, in user experience, copy is design. The text that goes on any product contributes significantly to the user experience. This is not just the menu item or banner copy, but also the instructions for various functionalities, error messages, an effortless customer journey, etc.
Skills of a UX writer
- Understanding of the user experience design process
- Ability to write clearly and concisely
- Knowledge of user personas to ensure clarity
- Following guidelines and style guides
- Collaborating with marketing and legal teams to ensure alignment with company goals
UX writer salary
Today, much of the UX writing is done by UX designers or UI designers themselves. In some organizations, content strategists from technical writing or marketing teams might pitch in. Therefore, the salaries are in the same range — $48,073 to $61,200 on average. However, the field is rapidly growing. Amazon, Netflix, Square, Cleo, etc., are hiring UX writers currently.
6. UX Unicorn
In the tech world, ‘unicorn’ refers to someone who possesses more skills than required for any single role. They’re unicorns not only because they’re rare but also because their value to the business is significant.
Skills of a UX unicorn
A UX unicorn is skilled in design and front-end development. In addition to everything that a designer does, UX Unicorns transform their designs to live code and launch them. They have skills in:
- UI frameworks such as React Native, React, and other OSS frameworks and libraries
- Cross-platform development, including web, mobile, augmented reality, virtual reality, etc.
- CI/CD and DevOps processes
- Data frameworks would be a huge plus!
The skills of a UX unicorn are so rare that you can demand a much higher salary than an average designer or even a specialist.
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How To Get a UX Design Job
As a rapidly growing field, the number of jobs available is much more than the number of qualified candidates applying for the job. With a strategic approach, aspirants can get a job in UX design and kickstart their careers.
Step 1: Build a strong foundation
User experience design is a vast, growing field. To start a career in UX design, you need a strong foundation—both theoretical and practical. This should include research, design, branding, testing, etc. The best way to do this is through a good career-focused online program or a bootcamp. Make sure that the program is designed to cover enough ground in the UX design space.
Step 2: Develop the skills
As a practical field, your skills are only as good as your ability to apply them to practice. Create your small UX design projects and practice your skills. Also, learn the top UX tools such as Figma, Sketch, Balsamiq, Adobe Illustrator, etc.
Step 3: Create a portfolio
Once you have the foundation and the skills, you need to demonstrate them. Your portfolio will help you do that.
- Bring together your top projects, demonstrating a wide range of skills
- Use a storyline format to explain your case studies, showing the business problem you solved with your UX design skills
- Ensure to highlight both your hard and soft skills through relevant examples
- Keep your portfolio updated to show that you’re growing
Step 4: Specialize
Being a broad discipline, UX design has a lot to offer. It helps to command top salaries if you can specialize in specific areas. Choose an area that you’re most interested in, and build deep skills in it. Whether it’s UX research, usability testing, product audits, or UX writing, learn one area much better than the others.
Step 5: Prepare for the job search
Being the right person for a job isn’t the same as getting the job. To land your perfect UX design job:
- Devise a job search strategy to be clear about the role and UX job title you want
- Connect with leaders and seniors in the UX community for guidance and mentorships
- Make a great resume highlighting why you’re the best candidate for the role you’re applying to
- Optimize your portfolio to demonstrate your skills
- Gain interview skills, both in-person and through video conferencing
- Learn negotiation skills
Frequently Asked Questions About the UX Field
What Is the UX Design Process?
The UX process is a set of steps that UX designers follow to create products that are easy to use, enjoyable, and effective. The UX process typically includes the following steps:
User Research: UX designers conduct research to understand the needs, goals, and pain points of users. This research may involve user interviews, surveys, and usability testing.
Information Architecture: UX designers create an information architecture for the product. This information architecture defines the structure of the product’s content and how users will navigate through it.
Wireframing: UX designers create wireframes, which are low-fidelity sketches of the product’s interface. Wireframes help to define the layout and functionality of the product.
Prototyping: UX designers create prototypes, which are more high-fidelity representations of the product. Prototypes can be used to test the product with users and get feedback.
Usability Testing: UX designers conduct usability testing to identify and fix usability problems with the product. Usability testing is typically done with a small group of users who represent the target audience for the product.
UX designers need to have a strong understanding of user behavior. This includes understanding how users think, how they make decisions, and how they interact with products. UX designers can use this knowledge to design products that are intuitive and easy to use.
What Is a UX Designer’s Role and What Are Their Job Titles?
The UX designer’s role is to create products that are easy to use, enjoyable, and effective. UX designers work with a variety of stakeholders, including product managers, engineers, and designers. The goal of UX design is to create a positive user experience. This means that products should be easy to use, enjoyable, and effective. A positive user experience can lead to increased user satisfaction, loyalty, and sales.
Job titles you may encounter include:
UX managers are responsible for managing a team of UX designers. They oversee the UX process, ensure that UX goals are met, and advocate for UX within the organization.
UX architects are responsible for the information architecture of a product. They organize information in a way that is easy for users to find and understand.
The UX team is responsible for the UX design of a product. The UX team typically includes UX designers, UX architects, UX researchers, and UX engineers.
Interaction designers are responsible for the interaction design of a product. This includes designing the interactions between users and products, such as clicks, taps, and swipes.
UX architects are responsible for the information architecture of a product. They organize information in a way that is easy for users to find and understand.
Information architects are responsible for the information architecture of a product. They organize information in a way that is easy for users to find and
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