What Do UI Designers Earn? [UI Designer Salary Guide]
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First impressions matter, and when it comes to digital products, it’s the user interface (UI) that makes that impression. UI plays a vital role in how customers feel about the product, brand, and organization. No matter how seamless the backend, a product is dead in the water without a well-designed user interface. And because of this, companies are increasingly willing to shell out the big bucks for UI designers.
But just how much do UI designers earn? It depends upon several factors, some of which might not be so obvious. That’s why we’ve created the guide. Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the factors that impact a UI designer’s salary and how you can earn more.
What Is the Average Salary of a UI Designer?
According to LinkedIn Salary, the average UI designer salary in the US is $72,000. As part of their salary, they also get additional cash compensation in the form of annual bonuses, share of profits, and stock options, depending on the organization they work for.
UI Designer Salary by Levels
A UI designer’s salary is influenced by several factors, including experience, seniority level, industry, education, and more. Let’s look at the salaries you can earn based on the level of your role in the organization.
Entry-Level UI Designer Salary
An entry-level UI design positions are open to new graduates, or someone with less than a year of work experience. Most professionals in this field begin their careers as junior UI designers. They earn a yearly salary of $55,677, as per PayScale.
Mid-Level UI Designer Salary
With 3-4 years of experience and specialization, user interface designers get promoted to mid-level roles such as UI specialist, interaction designer, or micro animations designer. The average intermediate-level UI designer salary is $70,190.
Senior-Level UI Designer Salary
Senior UI designer job titles may be UI specialists, product designers, or managers. According to the role they play, salaries may vary. The average base salary at the senior level is $95,000. Compensation for senior roles also includes annual bonuses and stock options. Some UI design professionals also develop wider skills to become UX designers, and command higher salaries.
UI Designer Salaries by Industry
Industry plays a crucial role in determining the salary of a UI designer. In sectors like technology or finance, where demand for UI designers is high, salaries tend to be higher than in industries like the government or academia. Let us look at a few of them.
Get To Know Other Design Students
The tech industry—be it product companies like Airbnb, Netflix, and Uber, or services businesses like IBM and Cognizant—pays some of the highest UI design salaries. While there is limited reliable data on salaries by industry, we can arrive at ballpark figures based on how individual companies pay.
In the Zippia list of top 20 highest paying organizations, eighteen are tech companies. This includes Netflix, Amazon, Google, Airbnb, Apple, and eBay. The median yearly salary reported for UI designers in these organizations is around $130,000, going up to nearly $165,000.
The financial services industry is going through digital transformation, focussing on creating better user experiences across its products. So, companies are hiring at scale. However, unlike in the tech industry, the salaries are more mid-range.
According to Comparably, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pays an average salary of $98,198,
T. Rowe Price Group $91,500,
Wells Fargo $81,000,
and Fidelity Investments $139,000.
While e-commerce companies like eBay and Amazon are top payers offering six-figure salaries, traditional in-store retail is a bit more conservative.
Self-reported salaries at Comparably indicate the following numbers:
Macy’s pays an average of $93,400
The Home Depot pays an average of $84,720
Traditional healthcare organizations are slowly catching up to digital products and experiences. This is somewhat reflected in the salaries they offer too.
Carestream Dental is reported to pay $78,000
and Kaiser Permanente $88,500.
UI Designer Salaries by Education
UI design is one of those fields where skills and work experience matter more than formal educational qualifications. While most organizations expect you to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, design, or human-computer interaction, they welcome candidates with relevant experience.
However, salaries may vary based on your educational qualification.
According to Zippia, the average UI designer salary for someone with an associate degree is $99,715.
Nearly 71% of UI designers today have a bachelor’s degree, most of them studying graphic design. UI designers with a bachelor’s degree command an average salary of $108,277.
UI designers with a master’s degree earn a median salary of $117,825.
Factors Affecting UI Designer Salaries
A UI designer’s salary depends on several factors beyond the job description itself. This includes their educational background, experience, skills, location, and type of organization.
As we saw earlier, UI jobs don’t demand advanced degrees in design. For most positions, a bachelor’s degree is enough. Even those without a bachelor’s degree can complete a bootcamp or an online certificate program as equivalent education. However, it does help to have some recognized qualifications in design to make inroads into the field.
Experience plays a critical role in determining one’s UI design salaries. Entry-level positions tend to pay $55,000 a year, while senior designers can make upwards of $95,000, and well into six figures. However, experience is not just about one’s years of working. You can develop specialized experience in any particular industry or skills that are rare to find, in which case you can expect to make more.
Skills (Including Interpersonal Skills)
UI design is a practical job needing you to have a basic set of skills to do well. This includes a working knowledge of design thinking, accessibility, Material Design (Google) and Human Interface Design (Apple) guidelines, etc. You must also have skills in graphic design such as color palette, fonts, grid, iconography, UI elements, photography or imagery, and illustration. And, you should be familiar with tools such as Sketch, Adobe XD, and Figma.
Interpersonal skills are equally important. Within a design team, you’ll need to collaborate with UX researchers, graphic designers, visual designers, UX writers, and testing teams. And within the broader organization, you might meet business teams, customer groups, and leadership teams, especially if you’re in a more senior role. To excel at this, you need skills in communication, presentation, collaboration, problem-solving, observation, and engagement.
Like most technology jobs, the San Francisco Bay Area pays significantly higher salaries than the rest of the country. However, other technology hubs are slowly catching up, and the cost of living in and around San Francisco is much higher than the rest of the country. Keep in mind: permanently-remote work is also gaining more widespread acceptance.
Every organization’s approach to design and the importance they place on their digital products reflects on UI designer salaries as well. For example, design-focussed organizations like Apple or Airbnb tend to pay top salaries for top talent.
How Can You Earn More as a UI Designer?
Knowing the factors that affect a UI designer’s salary, here’s how you can earn more:
- Get qualified: If you’re looking to take the college route to a UI design job, choose streams such as design, computer science, and human-computer interaction. But that is not the only way. You can also gain the qualifications you need by taking up a bootcamp or an online certification program.
- Master design skills: A UI designer needs specific technical and interpersonal skills to command top salaries. To negotiate higher pay, you need:
- Gain more experience: The more experience you have, the more you can expect to make. With some team management and project management experience, you can also get leadership roles that offer significantly better salaries. As you go along, you can also expand your skills as a UX designer and progress in that career path.
- Be where the work is: If you can move to a tech hub like the Bay Area, your chances of commanding top salaries are higher. However, remember that the cost of living in the Bay Area is much higher than in the rest of the country.
- Pursue the right jobs: Prestigious design organizations like Apple, Airbnb, and Netflix tend to pay more. Once you have gained the skills and the experience, actively look for open roles in such companies and pursue them. It also helps to have the right salary expectations and pursue positions that can offer them.
UI Designer Salary FAQs
We’ve got the answers to your most frequently asked questions.
What Is the Average Starting Salary of a UI Designer?
What Can UI Designers Earn per Hour?
Can You Make Six Figures as a UI Designer?
Can You Save Money as a UI Designer?
The median wage in America is about $58,000. A UI designer’s base salary is $72,000, almost 25% higher than the national average. With an average income of $6,000 a month, deducting rent and other living expenses, you can comfortably save 10-15% of your income.
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