It’s a great time to explore a career in UX design. The call for UX pros is growing worldwide, and people involved in UX report their appreciation for the varied and stimulating work. Whether in research, user interface design, information architecture, or other related UX disciplines, the ability to improve experiences for people, regardless of the product or service they’re using, leads to a rewarding and satisfying career.
According to LinkedIn, UX skills rank in the top 5 most sought-after by employers in 2021, and the volume of UX hires increased by 5 times from the previous year. With the average UX design salary of over $100K for experienced practitioners and about $60K at the start, according to Glassdoor, the earnings potential is certainly keeping pace with demand, and is expected to grow.
While entering any new field may appear at first to be a steep hill to climb, the right training and preparation can help make it a reality. A new career path means new skills, new opportunities and often more satisfaction with your work than ever before. Our UX Design bootcamp can provide the knowledge and skills you need to enter the field and to build a career with the emphasis that’s most rewarding to you.
Entry-level UX roles will tend to be more general, and you will likely specialize as your career moves forward. Gaining a broad foundation early in your career will serve you well as it gives you a wider scope of knowledge to work from and makes you a more well-rounded designer.
UX design is a broad field, with a lot of roles you can explore. Here are three possibilities to consider.
UX researchers work with people like those who will experience the product to figure out what problems they have using it. This involves researching competitors and formally interviewing users, collecting data, performing analysis and delivering research results to a broader collaborative team.
UX researchers deal with two kinds of research: quantitative and qualitative. Let’s take a quick look at each type.
Quantitative research is all about numbers. This might mean observing and reporting how long it takes a user to finish a task, how many users successfully completed the task, and how many issues they had along the way.
Qualitative research focuses on insights from observation and what participants say. For example, a UX researcher might find out which tasks users had trouble with, or ask users how they felt while navigating to a specific section of a site or app.
If you love working with people and really digging into numbers, this could be a great path for you to explore.
User Interface (UI) Design
UX design and UI design are sometimes spoken as interchangeable, but there are big differences. UX covers the whole product or service experience for a user, while UI is all about how a person directly interacts with software—the graphic design and interface.
UI designers create the graphical portions of apps and websites that a user interacts with. UI applies exclusively to the digital world. UX applies to anything. A UI designer makes apps and websites visually appealing and easy to navigate. Common tasks of a UI designer include:
Creating interactive elements, like scroll bars, buttons and menus
Preparing detailed diagrams, called wireframes, to illustrate the final design
Working closely with developers to convert designs into prototypes, and then the final product
When considering UI design work, imagine yourself intimately involved in how software is accessed and controlled by the people who use it. If you like working with graphical tools like Sketch or the Adobe suite, all the better.
Information Architecture (IA)
Information architects organize the content of apps and websites so that users can easily find what they need. UX Planet says it well:
IA is a blueprint of the design structure which can be generated into wireframes and sitemaps of the project. UX designers use them as the basic materials so that they could plan navigation system.
In essence, IA forms what you might think of as the skeleton of a design.
Typical IA activities include creating site maps, using mental modeling, and tree testing. People who thrive when structuring, sorting, designing and documenting information access technology tend to love working in IA. If you like making the best and most usable sense of complexity, we suggest investigating this area further.
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This post was written by contributor Marc Tramonte.