UX/UI design is one of the fastest-growing professions in the US, with LinkedIn reporting that in 2020 alone, the number of UX design hires increased by 5X from the previous year. But that’s just one of many reasons to consider a UX/UI design career. Read on to learn more about why you should get into UX/UI design right now.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
User experience and user interface face design used to be considered a “nice to have”. Outside of design-driven companies, UX/UI design and its related disciplines—UX research, UX writing, product design, and information architecture—was often an afterthought that saw little company investment. But many organizations have in recent years changed their tune. As UX professionals have proven their value by helping organizations better understand their users, build more engaging products and services, and solve business problems, demand for UX/UI designers has skyrocketed.
Strong job growth
UX professionals are in as much demand as software engineers, according to an Adobe survey of hiring managers, and that demand is likely to continue growing in the coming years. The survey found that 87% of hiring managers have said that hiring UX designers is a top priority, and a separate LinkedIn report found that UX design is among the top five most in-demand job skills of 2020.
All of which is to say there is no shortage of opportunities for UX design professionals.
High median salary
With high demand comes high salaries. The average base pay for a UX designer in the US is around $85, 277, according to Glassdoor, with cash bonuses and stock grants pushing the average annual salary of a UX designer over $100, 000.
Depending on years of experience, location, and industry, UX designers can be among the most well-compensated within an organization. For example, the average base salary of a UX designer working in New York City ranges from $70, 000-$119, 000, while the average base salary of a UX designer working in the San Francisco Bay Area ranges from $84, 000-$145, 000.
No coding needed
While knowing programming languages is a useful skill for any UX professional, it’s not required, making it ideal for those who aren’t interested in learning to code.
In lieu of coding skills, UX professionals primarily deal with design tools, design thinking, user behavior analysis, and striking a balance between meeting an organization’s goals and the users’ needs. Some of the skills that help UX designers accomplish these tasks include foundational design practices such as wireframing, sketching, and prototyping; critical and analytical thinking; empathy for clients and users; and strong communication.
Consumer tech and e-commerce are big industries for UX/UI designers, but they are by no means the only ones. Recent job listings have shown that there are roles for UX professionals in government, education, healthcare, finance, enterprise technology, video game development, manufacturing, tourism, the nonprofit sector, and media.
Startups entering legacy industries are also seeing a need for UX professionals, which means there are plenty of opportunities to apply UX expertise to a field you care about.
Top companies hiring
According to Glassdoor, some of the top companies that have seen a hiring surge for UX/UI design professionals include Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Google, Adobe, SAP, Salesforce, Intuit, AppFolio, Apple, UKG, Indeed, VMWare, AutoDesk, LinkedIn, ServiceNow, Cisco, Capital One, Thomson Reuters, HP Inc., Dell Technologies, T-Mobile, Fidelity Investments, PayPal, Bank of America, Accenture, Audible, Verizon, Citi, Deloitte, and GE.
Diversity within discipline
UX/UI design offers many branches of specialization—whether you’re more interested in research and usability testing, design and development, or coding and implementation, there’s a profession within UX/UI design for that.
Check out our page on 10 UX careers you didn’t consider to learn more about roles such as UX researcher, UX analyst, Product Designer, Information Architect, UX Writer, and Visual Designer.
Make an impact
UX design has an impact on people’s real-life experiences and can change the way people work and interact with the world. Great UX design identifies and helps resolve the pain points associated with products and services, which can greatly improve people’s lives. Think user-friendly work-from-home technologies; intuitive appointment booking platforms; reliable transportation; and seamless access to important medical or healthcare information.
While the work of UX professionals isn’t always visible within a product or service, if done well, it can be felt by those whose lives and experiences have changed for the better.
Make technology more accessible
UX professionals are advocates for the user. This means they’re in a powerful position to influence how products and services are designed by factoring in the needs of those who might not be represented on a design team.
UX researchers, usability analysts, and UX designers work in tandem to empathetically understand users’ experiences and goals, the obstacles they face when using a product or service, and identify design solutions that can improve the experience and increase accessibility.
Solve creative business problems
In addition to being advocates for the user, UX professionals are also vital to solving business problems. If a company is struggling with customer sign-ups, sales, or conversion, a UX professional can help assess weaknesses in the product or service and offer recommendations. Strong UX design can lead to happier customers, increased sales, fewer complaints, and greater accessibility.
UX professionals are also in a unique position to gain insight into what users think and feel, which means they can identify issues that an organization might not be able to recognize from the inside.
UX/UI design careers offer room for growth and advancement, with many UX professionals advancing to director-level roles. But a background in UX design can also be a good stepping stone into an entirely different career.
Many UX designers have taken their design and usability testing acumen into careers in front-end development, where their UX skills have helped them build products that factor in the users’ needs from day one. Many UX professionals have also thrived in project management roles because of their ability to juggle the priorities of multiple stakeholders and arrive at compromises that meet an organization’s goals while still advocating for users.
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