What is a UX Designer?

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: December 1, 2021  •  8 min read  •  Tech
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A UX designer is someone with experience in user experience design. UX stands for user experience. When you go into this type of career, you will be in a career as a web designer.

UX designers are specialized web designers that focus on the user experience. The entire job of this type of designer is focused on a user-friendly experience for those using the applications or websites.

If you become a UX designer, you will focus on the interactive features, visual elements, information architecture, usability, and the interface between the computer or digital platform and the people.

Before you decide to go into a career as a UX designer, it’s important to understand the job. Let’s look at the job duties and how to become a UX designer.

What is a UX Designer?

Job Duties of a UX Designer

Since your job will revolve around the user experience, your job duties will have to do with designing websites and applications for the user. Some of the processes you will use as a UX designer include:

It’s common to spend time planning new projects and doing research for new projects as a UX designer. You will also spend time making websites easier to navigate.

When you go into this career, your job duties will likely include the following:

As a UX designer, you may also use prototyping, design patterns, develop personals, and even create an inventory of the content.

How to Become a UX Designer in 3 Steps

Step #1 – Get the Right Education

Getting a degree isn’t necessarily a requirement to become a UX designer. However, it can be very helpful. Many employers will require a bachelor’s degree, but some may not.

You can get a degree from a university, college, or tech school. Some are completely self-taught, but some will go through college to gain the necessary knowledge.

A degree in technology, communications, or graphic art can be rather helpful for this career. It can also help to get a degree in web programming, computer science, or information technology. UX design bootcamps can also be used to increase your resume.

Step #2 – Gain Experience

Since there really isn’t a clear-cut path to becoming a UX designer, you should gain some experience. This may come in the form of online courses, working as an intern, or even working as a freelancer.

Computer coding courses can be a good choice. You can also take courses through a local community college. Many will teach themselves the skills necessary to work as a UX designer through online research.

Step #3 – Get Certifications

It can be very helpful to get specific certifications if you want to become a UX designer. These certifications can help to provide credibility on your resume. Some of the online options for your certifications include:

Coursera

You can find a complete list of certification choices through Indeed.com here.

Common Skills Needed to Become a UX Designer

You will likely need specific skills to become a UX designer. The most common skills you will need include:

These skills are rather important if you want to become a UX designer.

The Disciplines of UX Design

When you become a UX designer, you will likely become familiar with the four disciplines of UX. These disciplines are:

These are the four disciplines you will find in UX design.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a UX Designer

How much can I earn as a UX designer?

According to Indeed.com, you can earn around $91K per year as a UX designer. It’s also common to earn about a $5,000 bonus every year in this type of position.  Your salary can exceed $100K per year if you gain three to five years of experience in this career.

Some top employers will pay significantly more for UX designers. You can earn more than $140K per year with the top employers for this career.

Your location will also make a difference. San Francisco is the highest-paying area, while Charlotte, Chicago, Redmond, and New York City all pay higher than average salaries.

If you have specific skills, you may also earn a higher salary as a UX Designer. Skills in journalism are helpful, along with XML and project management. All three of these can help you earn a higher salary.

What type of benefits will I get as a UX designer?

It’s common, in this career, to get a benefits package with paid time off and health insurance. A 401(k) with matching is also common, along with the ability to work from home. You may also get a gym membership or access to an on-site gym. Some employers may also provide commuter assistance and stock options.

How many hours per week do UX designers work?

It’s rather common to work a typically 40-hour workweek as a UX designer. You will likely have a schedule similar to 9-to-5, Monday through Friday. In some cases, overtime might be necessary when a deadline is approaching.

What are the most common industries for UX designers to work in?

UX designers work in many different industries. Companies with mobile applications or websites may hire this type of designer, which is nearly all companies today. The most common industry for this type of career is the technology industry.

It’s very common to work for multimillion-dollar tech companies, tech startups, and even small businesses. Some UX designers will work freelance and serve multiple industries.

Is this career in high demand?

The career of a UX designer is expected to grow as mobile applications and websites continue to be necessary. It’s a growing career with a positive job outlook.

What will my work environment be like as a UX designer?

It’s very common for UX designers to work from home. You will likely sit at a desk for many hours a day. Spending most of your workday in front of a computer is common. Many UX designers will have a set up with more than one computer monitor, as well.

Throughout your workday, you will likely interact with team members through online team collaboration programs. You may also need to sit in on meetings virtually.

What type of advancement opportunities are there for UX designers?

UX designers work with a team and can easily work their way up from junior-level positions to senior-level positions. You might work as a web designer or graphic designer before becoming a UX designer. From here, you might become a creative director or an art director.

Becoming a UX designer is a very rewarding career path. It pays a nice salary and offers many benefits. If you’re creative and you want to help companies with their websites and applications, this is a good career for you.

As a UX designer, you will work with a team of designers. You and the team you work with will create a better website or application for the users. If you’re looking for a unique career in the technology and design sectors, this might be the right option for you to consider.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story is coming soon!