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How to Become a UX Developer

Are you a highly-skilled programmer who is analytical and creative? Are you good at taking conceptualized ideas and making them happen? If so, a UX developer might be the perfect fit for you.

A UX (user experience) developer uses advanced technical skills and outstanding creativity to design, develop, and deliver products or features that target an intended audience. They test and improve customer interfaces to optimize and enhance users’ website experience. They work closely with back-end developers and other stakeholders and need excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Expertise in a variety of technologies, programming languages, and web platforms is essential to a UX developer. 

Staying current with industry trends is required as UX developers need to ensure that users are getting the latest in visual and interactive website components. UX developers should have excellent listening skills and be able to interpret verbal and written instruction and use it to create web content that will attract the intended audience. They must have solid research skills and experience using various UX software.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is hiring a new UX developer who will have a command of user-centered research and design practice and promote empathy and understanding of users when creating intuitive, easy-to-use products. The candidate will work in a fast-paced agile environment, collaborating closely with product managers and software engineers. They will gather data insights to formulate strategic design decisions during all phases of the product development life cycle.  You will need to be able to effectively balance applying creative ideation to business challenges in order to build intuitive, easy-to-use products. As an ideal candidate, you have proven experience testing and improving products and features.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Creating user-friendly designs and collecting user feedback
  • Create mockups, wireframes, and prototypes
  • Strong coding abilities to develop user-focused products
  • Designing UX elements 
  • Creating original graphic designs
  • Identifying/troubleshooting UX problems 
  • Collaborating with product, engineering, and management teams
  • Incorporating customer feedback to enhance user experience

Education and experience

  • Associate’s degree in computer science, web development, graphic design, or a related field preferred
  • 2+ years of experience in a similar role

Required skills and qualifications

  • Ability to discuss and explain design options with the team
  • Proficient UX research and writing skills
  • Able to think critically
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • Working knowledge of Adobe products, such as Photoshop, Acrobat, InDesign, and more
  • Front-end coding ability for apps and other products
  • Knowledge of usability factors in human-computer interaction
  • Customer-centered problem solver

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience designing and implementing complex solutions for complete digital environments
  • Javascript experience

Typical work environment

UX developers have the potential to work full-time, part-time/contract, or possibly remotely as well. Some developers work freelance and run their own operations. 

Working as a UX developer, you may be employed by small companies or startups, large/well-funded companies, or your own agency. Sitting at a computer for long hours would be part of the daily job. Facilitating communication between design and development teams while also working independently when evaluating and designing improvements is also part of what a UX developer does on a daily basis.

Typical hours

UX developers typically work between 30-50 hours a workweek. Most of the work can be completed during regular business hours.

Available certifications

A variety of certifications are available to UX developers looking to learn specific skills and to set them apart from other candidates in the workforce. Here are some of the available and most common certifications:

  • Certified Usability Analyst (CUA). This certification is for those just beginning their UX career path. It is a 10 day course with an exam that must be passed with a scoring above 70%. This certification demonstrated mastery of the fundamental principles of user-centered design. 
  • Certified User Experience Analyst (CXA). This certification is for those who are experienced professionals that want to learn more advanced skills. Coursework is optional but recommended, and an exam is required. 
  • Certified Digital Persuasion Analyst (CDPA). This certification can help increase conversion and can compliment mastery of SEO, web analytics, CRO, and branding. This certification is ideal for digital, mobile, and content marketers, product managers, and social media engineers. An exam is required to pass certification.

Career path

To become a UX developer, you have to have a GED or high school diploma. No specific education is required, and there are many pathways into this field. Skills and portfolio strength are very important in the UX field. Certifications and coursework will be beneficial to learning a wide variety of skills for the job you are seeking. Some people will go on to receive an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. This could be important for those looking to work for a large agency or brand. Studying IT is a good path to becoming a UX developer.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1254

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

UX developers are going to be in high demand in the coming years. The work is varied and interesting, providing satisfaction for those working in this field. UX design is one of the top five in-demand skills, and growth is projected to continue. It is a great conversion career, as there are transferable skills from other disciplines as well as many paths to getting into UX.