User experience (UX) design can make or break a company’s online presence. According to Toptal, 94 percent of first impressions are related to design. In fact, 75 percent of visitors judge a company’s credibility based on website aesthetics alone. But UX design is about more than appearances. It’s about providing the best possible experience. With such an important role, it’s no surprise that UX design salaries are high.
Along with their high salaries, user experience designers have an in-demand skillset. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 16 percent growth in digital design roles over the next decade. To help you gauge the overall outlook for UX careers, this article takes a look at UX designer salaries across the US and key factors that affect UX salaries.
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What Is the Average User Experience Designer Salary?
Now, you are probably wondering, “How much do UX designers make?” According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a UX designer is $98,088 per year. Entry-level UX designers earn $62,000 while senior designers could make up to $158,000 a year. Note that the average UX design salary varies depending on the company, experience, location, and responsibilities.
It is evident from the average UX designer’s salary that this position is compensated well. This matches the challenging task of providing a positive experience for customers. Companies know that a slight misstep in design choices could cost them a lot. If a UX design team does a subpar job, visitors will have an unsatisfactory experience, which can lead to lost opportunities.
UX Design Salary by Experience
UX designer salaries vary based on experience level. Entry-level positions typically require minimum industry experience, which makes them more accessible to first-time job applicants and career changers. As your experience and design skills grow, you will be more prepared to climb the career ladder and unlock more lucrative job opportunities.
The average salary of junior UX designers with one year of experience is around $80,931, according to Glassdoor. Meanwhile, the average salary of UX designers with two years of experience is $86,549. The figure continues to go upward as you gather more experience. As an example, the salary for UX designers with four years of experience is $96,701.
The salary for entry-level UX designers is around $65,988, according to PayScale. This figure includes estimates for additional remuneration, which may comprise cash bonuses, commissions, tips, and profit sharing. PayScale data also shows that the lowest-paid entry-level UX designers make around $48,000 while the highest-paid make around $89,000.
PayScale reports that the average salary for mid-level UX designers is around $86,119 a year, with a range of $62,000 to $125,000. This figure is based on self-reported data from users. Common job titles for mid-level roles include associate UX designers and user research experts.
A senior UX designer’s salary can range from $124,000 to $201,000, according to Glassdoor. Some high-profile companies pay especially high salaries for senior-level roles in the design field. Google and eBay, for instance, offer a yearly salary of $203,949 and $197,500 respectively. Meanwhile, PayScale reports that late-career UX designers earn $97,197 per year.
UX Design Salary by Region
As previously mentioned, UX designer salaries can differ based on your location in the United States. This generally matches the cost of operations and the cost of living in the area. Let’s look more closely at the figures for UX designer salaries in the US.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a UX designer in New York is $91,598. They can also expect to earn additional pay of around $19,355 a year. Meanwhile, the average salary of a UX designer in New Jersey is $83,610 per year. This difference in salary can be justified by looking at the cost of living in New York, which is 146 percent higher than the national average.
Figures from Glassdoor show that the average salary for a UX designer in Atlanta, Georgia is $84,426 a year while a UX designer in Miami, Florida can earn a salary of $81,960 on average. UX designers in other southeast states like Maryland, Mississippi, and North Carolina also earn between $80,000 and $90,000 a year.
The salaries for UX designers in the Midwest are similar to the rates in other US regions. The average salary of a UX designer in Chicago, Illinois is $93,340, according to Glassdoor. Meanwhile, the average salary of a UX designer in Columbus, Ohio is $92,631 a year. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, UX designers earn an average salary of $88,027.
The average salary of UX designers in Houston is $84,047 while UX designers in Austin earn an average salary of $86,447. These figures from Glassdoor show that even if you live in the same state, there may still be a slight difference in pay. The city you reside in can affect your pay as well. UX designers in Phoenix, Arizona reportedly earn an average salary of $83,690 a year.
The average salary of UX designers in Seattle, Washington is pretty high at $107,107 a year. This does not include potential bonuses and cash rewards, which may amount to an additional $27,993. In California, UX designers are seeing lucrative compensation too. The average salary for UX designers in San Francisco is $99,971 while UX designers in Los Angeles earn an average salary of $91,616.
UX Designer Salary at Top Tech Companies
Another huge factor that affects your potential salary is the company you work for. Top tech companies, for example, are known to offer higher UX designer salaries. For this section, we use data from Glassdoor and Payscale to illustrate the salaries offered by the top five tech giants.
- Microsoft. The average yearly salary for a UX designer at Microsoft is $104,306. Additionally, Microsoft offers perks like health benefits, financial and retirement plans, paid time off, employee discounts, and professional development support.
- Google. The Google UX design salary ranges between $161,000 and $263,000. Google is known to be a top employer, rewarding employees with extra perks like free lunch, extensive physical and mental health benefits, paid holidays, and more.
- IBM. The average salary for UX designers at IBM is $146,631 per year. Current and former employees have reported that they also received additional benefits like bonuses, stocks, and profit sharing.
- Amazon. An Amazon UX designer’s average salary is around $128,033 per year with an additional $53,699. Depending on your location and job title, Amazon offers free lunch and snacks, employee discounts, and a company car on top of the annual salary.
- Apple. The median salary for Apple’s UX designers is estimated to be $185,470 a year, inclusive of additional benefits. Other perks include sabbatical leave, paid time off, health savings accounts, mobile phone discounts, and stock options.
UX Salary for Other User Experience Careers
User experience careers extend beyond the tech industry. Because UX design skills are highly valuable in driving customer engagement, companies across industries seek skilled user experience specialists. Here are other roles that can help your design career flourish.
- UX writer. A UX writer is in charge of tailoring the content and features of a website or mobile application to provide an overall positive experience. The base salary of UX writers in the US is $68,166, according to Glassdoor.
- Product designer. A UX product designer earns an average salary of $95,037. However, Glassdoor reports that bigger companies like Wish and Meta pay their product designers upwards of $200,000 a year.
- UX developer. UX developers work exclusively on front end development, making sure that site visitors have a pleasant experience. It is estimated that the average UX developer salary in the United States is around $115,000.
- UX strategist. The median salary for a UX strategist is $132,353 per year. UX strategists are in charge of formulating solutions that would accomplish business goals while increasing customer satisfaction.
- UX analyst. Glassdoor reports that a UX analyst’s salary ranges between $58,000 to $134,000 a year. UX analysts are responsible for gathering and analyzing data from users to assess their interactions with digital products and their satisfaction levels.
- Director of User Experience. Directors of user experience earn a high salary, considering it is a mid-to-senior-level role. According to Glassdoor, a UX director’s salary is $246,697 on average.
Other Factors that Affect UX Design Salary
A UX designer should be equipped with a diverse skillset. Because UX design is instrumental to a company’s success, there are various roles that you can fill with such skills. Some UX professionals are expected to do front end development while others may be required to curate microcopies. These responsibilities affect your user experience design salary.
If you are pursuing more technical roles, some of the most important UX designer skills include wireframing, data collection, information architecture, and prototyping. However, note that UX design also involves a lot of human engagement. This is where your soft skills can shine. It always helps to have good problem-solving and communication skills, among others.
UX design skills can unlock the doors to many types of careers, which means freelancing opportunities are always a viable option. As a freelance UX designer, for example, you have more flexibility to take on projects that align with your goals and interests. You also have the freedom to create your own schedule and collaborate with various clients.
According to Glassdoor, freelancers in the design industry are compensated well. It is estimated that the annual salary for a freelance UX designer is around $134,508. It should be noted that freelancers are typically paid based on a fixed hourly rate instead of a monthly salary.
As a UX design professional, you may come across salary offers that are lower than the market average. Before turning them down, you should consider other benefits and employee perks that may benefit you in the long run. They include profit sharing, stock options, retirement plans, equity incentive plans, and performance bonuses.
Some companies also offer the flexibility to work from home, which eliminates the cost of commuting. Other perks like free lunch or gym memberships can help you spend less money on food and wellness.
Advance Your Career as a UX Designer
If you’re looking for a career that equally values technical and interpersonal skills, UX design may be the answer. A career in UX design can offer a wide range of opportunities in any industry. This article has also highlighted UX design salaries across all experience levels to give you a clearer picture of what you can expect to earn.
With a position that requires a lot of skill and knowledge, you’ll need to be equipped with the right tools if you want to become a UX designer. If you are interested in pursuing the technical side of UX design, take some time to learn crucial front end development skills. When you’re ready, make sure you list the skills on your resume that will land you a UX job.
UX Design Salary FAQ
It doesn’t take too long to become a UX designer, especially if you gain your skills through a coding bootcamp. Bootcamp programs typically take around two to six months to complete and they cover everything you need to learn UX design. Some bootcamps also offer career services or job guarantees to ensure students are well-equipped to secure a design job.
Do you need a degree to be a UX designer?
You don’t need a degree to be a UX designer. As more companies embrace skills-based hiring, you should be able to find a job in UX design provided you have the right skillset. Identify a role of interest and acquire the exact skills needed to perform said job. However, it should be noted that some employers may include a college degree as a part of their candidate requirements.
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What is the difference between UX and UI design?
The difference between UX and UI design is the area of focus. UX design focuses on the interaction that users have with a product, with the ultimate goal of providing the best possible experience. Meanwhile, UI design refers to all the visual features that make up an interface.
What is a UX bootcamp?
A UX bootcamp is a short-term, immersive program that teaches UX principles and skills that are relevant to the current job market. UX bootcamps are a top choice for many because they take no more than a few months to complete. On top of that, the best UX bootcamps offer job assistance, flexible schedules, and reasonable financing options.
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