Hot Job: UX Designer

Hot Job: UX Designer

User experience designer. It’s one of the most in-demand creative industry jobs right now. Here’s the scoop on typical job duties, education and skills requirements, as well as UX designer salary benchmarks for 2017.

As both mobile and web development continue to boom and the lines between design and technology increasingly blur, the demand for user experience (UX) designers remains robust. But sometimes it’s not clear where the UX designer job description begins and ends, especially when it’s lumped in with user interface, interaction design and other design and development functions.

In a nutshell, the UX designer is responsible for how a product or website feels. The UX designer’s job is to zero in on users’ underlying emotional and functional needs — then help execute on those discoveries to create an enjoyable experience. So what does that look like day to day? Read on for details about common responsibilities and requisite skills for this hot job, as well as an overview of UX designer salary projections.

UX designer duties and expectations

The UX designer creates satisfying or compelling experiences for users of a product, often drawing on results from user research and workflow analysis. Generally, UX designers need to possess strong creative, technical and problem-solving skills. The UX design role may involve psychology, storytelling and computer science as well. Areas of focus may include content, controls, visual design and development, information architecture, user research, branding and customer/technical support.

Responsibilities often include:

  • Consulting with clients to understand their goals and explain research results
  • Conducting usability testing
  • Creating wireframes, storyboards, sitemaps and screen flows
  • Creating product prototypes
  • Developing personas and usage scenarios
  • Analyzing user feedback and activity, and iterating to enhance the user experience
  • Assisting with content development
  • Conducting competitor and customer analysis

UX designers must have a solid understanding of graphic design and web technologies, and of wireframing tools such as Axure RP and Balsamiq. A good grasp of design programs and tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks and InVision is also necessary. UX designers must have the ability to quickly adapt to new technologies and a willingness to keep their skills and industry knowledge current. They frequently work with UI designers, web developers and graphic designers.

Professional experience and skills

UX designers are expected to be self-directed but also collaborative. They must possess superb communication, time-management and process-management skills. Keen problem-solving and organizational abilities are necessary among other soft skills. Creativity, passion and attention to detail are also keys to success in this field.

UX designers are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in visual design, communications, computer science or psychology. Previous design experience is typically required.

UX designer salary benchmarks

Job candidates often have the upper hand when it comes to UX designer salary negotiations because demand for their skills is high. According to The Creative Group Salary Guide, the average salary for UX designers with one to three years of experience ranges from $52,000 to $79,500. Those with three to five years of experience can expect to make $75,750 to $103,000. With more than five years of experience, the average UX designer salary range jumps to $92,750 to $138,000. Use our handy Salary Calculator to adjust these figures for your city.

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Editor's note: This post has been updated with the latest Salary Guide data.