Behind every successful product is a designer who has created the design for the product. User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers — who are responsible for creating the designs for products and services — are becoming even more essential parts of project teams, as many businesses strive to compete by offering a well-designed product.
After all, someone has to design all of the web pages and applications we use every day. In fact, the people who design products are in high demand, and they can command excellent salaries which make a career in UX/UI design lucrative for many people.
How do you become a UX/UI designer? In this guide, we are going to answer that question. We’ll give you all the information you need to decide on the path you’ll take to become a UX/UI designer. We’ll also share some helpful resources about expected salaries, the responsibilities of a UX/UI designer, and more.
What is a UX/UI Designer?
A UX designer is someone who designs how users will experience a product. They will help craft a product that is easy to use and navigate through. UX designers accomplish this by thinking about the potential challenges customers may face with a product. They will also make changes to a design or feature based on their research to ensure customers can easily understand how to use a product.
UI designers, on the other hand, are responsible for creating the overall design of a product. They will choose the colors used for a site, and make sure the font is readable for as many people as possible. They will also consider accessibility features for a design, and the overall style each element will use. UI designers will use the information that UX designers gather to make aesthetically pleasing and functional designs to meet a certain set of specifications.
UX/UI Designer Job Description - What Does a UX/UI Designer Do?
UX/UI designers are responsible for turning an idea into a web design which meets a certain set of specifications. After they complete a design, it will be passed onto the development team, who will turn the design into a functioning application.
UX/UI designers will ensure that a site is easy to use and navigate through. They’ll also work with other members of an organization to come up with designs which meet the specifications associated with a product. For example, a UX designer may work with the customer success department to find out what problems have been commonly reported among customers, which will help inform new designs.
UX/UI Designer Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track the job outlook for UX/UI designers. That said, they predict that the number of jobs in web development — including web design — will increase by 13 percent over the next decade. This is “much faster than average,” according to the Bureau.
UX/UI Designer Salaries - How Much Do UX/UI Designers Earn?
UX/UI designers earn high salaries. The average salary for a UX/UI designer, according to ZipRecruiter, is almost $90,000 per year. Some jobs — those which require more experience — offer salaries of up to $154,000.
There’s no way to determine exactly what salary you can expect, because many factors influence the salaries offered by a company. One of the main factors which influences salary is location. The average UX/UI designer in San Francisco can earn an average of over $105,000 per year, whereas the average designer in Atlanta, Georgia, can expect to earn around the national average of $90,000 per year.
The amount you earn will also depend on the type of designer you want to be. UX designers, for example, can expect to earn an average of almost $98,000, whereas UI designers can expect to earn an average of around $90,000 each year. Further, your salary will depend on your experience — the more experience you have, the higher your salary will be.
Some UX/UI designers choose to work as a freelancer, rather than working in an office. These engagements can pay hundreds of dollars per hour if you have a lot of experience, but most starters with only some experience can charge around $50 per hour of work.
How much can you earn? (source: Glassdoor)
How Can You Become a UX/UI Designer?
There are many different paths you could take to become a UX/UI designer. However, there are a few common routes which people take to pursue a career in UX/UI design, which are:
- Pursue a degree in a design-related subject at a traditional college or university
- Attend a coding bootcamp specializing in UX/UI design
- Learn about UX/UI design through your own studying
Each of these paths has their own positives and negatives. Pursuing a degree, for example, can unlock higher paid jobs over the long-term, and is a very common path among UX/UI designers. Many other designers are self-taught, and have found great jobs based on the skills they learned in their spare time.
Another option which has gained a lot of popularity lately is going to a coding bootcamp. Instead of going to university for four years and spending tens of thousands of dollars a year on a degree, prospective designers can instead go to a coding bootcamp focused on UX/UI design to learn the practical skills they need.
Companies the Hire Bootcamp Grads
How to Learn UX/UI Design
There are many ways to learn about UX/UI design. Some designers pursue an art or design related degree at university, however these courses are often not directly related to digital design. Other designers have taught themselves how to design, and do not have any formal education. There is another path available for people to learn about UX/UI design: coding bootcamps.
Coding bootcamps are short-term, intensive courses where students can learn the skills they need in a particular field, and build a portfolio of projects. UX/UI design courses are offered at a number of coding bootcamps to help prepare inexperienced people for a career in design.
- Options for both in person and online bootcamps
- Immersive and structured program
- Mentors, instructors, and peers at your fingertips
- Quick-start to a new career
- Learn to collaborate with others
- Build a strong professional network in technology
- Requires motivation and hard work
- Fast-paced learning style
- Staying up to date with evolving web technologies
Top Skills Needed for UX/UI Design Careers
There are a couple of skills you’ll need to have to succeed as a UX/UI designer. Let’s start with the technical skills you will need.
Essential Technical Skills for UX/UI Designers
The following skills are required in most design jobs to succeed as a UX/UI designer. These skills include design techniques, processes, and other technologies.
- Wireframing and Prototyping.
Wireframes and prototypes allow designers to communicate and test their ideas. UX/UI designers should be able to create low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes to showcase their ideas without creating a full design.
- User Research.
UX/UI designers should be able to conduct user research to find out what customers are looking for in a particular interface. This research may be conducted through surveys, heatmap research, and other techniques.
Every company has a unique brand. The UX/UI designer is in charge of developing a brand which represents the company, which will involve designing logos, colors, and more. The UX/UI designer should be able to create effective branding materials, which will later be passed on to the marketing department.
- Implementation with Developers.
UX/UI designers do not stop after a design has been completed. A UX/UI designer should be able to work with the development team to help them implement a specific design. During this process, the designer may be expected to walk through their designs, justify their decisions, and ensure the development team has all the information they need to successfully implement a design.
- Interactivity and Animation.
UI designers should be able to create interactive designs which meet user needs. They should also be able to use animation to make designs more aesthetically pleasing for the user. This is important because design is becoming a competitive advantage — the better a design, the more likely a user is to look at a website — and so designers need to be capable of creating an intuitive design.
Essential Soft Skills for UX/UI Designers
Technical skills are not the only skills you will need to succeed as a UX/UI designer. You’ll also need to have a set of “soft” skills to be a great designer. The soft skills you will need to have to succeed as a designer include:
- Problem Solving.
One of the most important skills UX/UI designers need is the ability to solve problems, and break problems down into smaller components. UI designers will often have to create a design from scratch, which will involve a lot of problem solving; UX designers need to be able to analyze user problems and come up with ways to solve them.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand how they are feeling. As a designer, you need to be able to empathize with your target customer and get to know what they need. This will allow you to develop designs which meet the exact needs of users, and solve any problems users may experience.
Designers need to keep up with the latest trends. As a UX/UI designer, you’ll need to stay on top of design trends and figure out how those trends can be added to your designs. You may also have to adapt to new requirements if a strategic product decision is made.
How to Become a UX/UI Designer: Step-by-Step
There are a couple of steps you should follow if you want to become a UX/UI designer. These include:
- Choose a design career path
- Learn about design through a UX/UI design bootcamp, self-study, or college
- Develop and refine your technical skills
- Build your UX/UI design portfolio
- Write your design resume
- Start your job search
- Prepare for your interview
Good news: Career Karma is here to help you through every step of your journey to becoming a UX/UI designer, from choosing a career path to finding the right training program for you. We’ll provide you with free coaching, mentorship, and access to a community of your peers who can hold you accountable along your journey.
We can also help you prepare for and get accepted to one of the top UX/UI design bootcamps, so you can access the training you need to succeed in your new career.
There’s never been a better time to become a UX/UI designer, and you can get started today!
Learn about other top in-demand careers in technologies