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How to Become a UX Designer

Are you creative and have serious programming skills? Do you have good problem-solving abilities and excellent visual design skills? If so, a UX designer is a great career opportunity that might fit your skills. 

UX designers are tasked with developing user experiences (UX) that are aesthetic and intuitive. They typically work with wireframes, workflows, site maps, and storyboards to create user interfaces for mobile and web platforms. A keen eye for design and aesthetics is vital, as UX designers strive to appeal to users visually and emotionally through such things as button color and placement, load animations, and logo sizes.

Sample job description

UX designers must have solid research and analytical skills. They should be versed in relevant testing methods and able to meet customer and company deadlines. Collaboration skills are required for UX designers as they work closely with stakeholders, such as the marketing and design teams, to ensure the successful implementation of user interfaces. UX designers need to stay up-to-date with emerging trends in user experience design and user interface technology. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Research target audiences for products and websites
  • Create personas to understand user needs and desires
  • Design screen flows, wireframes, site maps, and storyboards
  • Develop and evaluate a working interaction model
  • Conduct user testing and quality analysis
  • Collaborate with Front- and Back-End Web Developers

Education and experience

  • This position requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, design, or a related field.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Proficiency writing CSS/HTML
  • Expertise in building and researching buyer personals
  • Knowledge of graphic design tools, such as Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Strong organizational and problem-solving skills
  • Experience in project management
  • Superior communication skills

Typical work environment

UX designers will spend most of their day sitting at their desk, working on a computer. While these designers work independently to evaluate digital projects, identify flaws, and design improvements, they will also spend time communicating with the design and development teams.

Typical hours

The work hours for a UX designer are typically from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in an office setting. However, longer or different hours may, at times, be necessary.

Available certifications

Many certifications are available to UX designers looking to boost their job prospects. Here are some of the top certifications for UX designers:

  • User Experience Design Essentials. Offered through Udemy, this certification teaches design skills in Adobe XD. This certification would be preferable for individuals with a background in computer development and is available to anyone interested in an entry-level UX designer position. You will learn the fundamentals of web design, how to manage your workflow, and create design prototypes.
  • UX/UI Design Specialization. If you are looking to gain an advanced certification in UX design, this certification is for you! This certification is offered by the California Institute of the Arts and will teach you design-centric methods to improve user experience. Topics like UX design principles, wireframe and prototype development process, and information architecture of web design will all be covered.

Career path

The path to starting a career in UX design begins with earning a bachelor’s degree in visual design, computer science, psychology, or a similar field. Many candidates go on to earn master’s degrees to shore up their skills and stand out to potential employers.

UX designers must be knowledgeable in a variety of disciplines. They are experts in targeting and researching a products’ audiences, as well as creating the actual UX that appeals to those key demographics. A strong portfolio of work is crucial to prove a UX designer candidate’s experience juggling so many essential responsibilities.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1257

2020 Employment199,400
Projected Employment in 2030224,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 13% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift25,500 increase

Thanks to smartphones and tablets becoming essential tools for millions of consumers, good user experience is no longer a luxury: it’s a necessity.

UX designers will need to continue adding new skills like UX copywriting to their repertoire. Writing clear, concise micro-copy, such as CTA buttons and error messages, helps create a more immersive user experience. With smart speakers becoming more prevalent than ever, UX designers must also focus on developing streamlined, user-friendly voice interfaces.