As UX (user experience) design took off in the last decade, several other jobs were created in its wake. It means that those with different skill sets—the writers, engineers, psychologists, and others among us—have a UX path they could channel their talents into. LinkedIn listed UX design as one of the top in-demand skills to learn in 2020 . But experts say UX design will break down into more specialized disciplines—in fact it already has .
Here are four of those disciplines in the UX field.
The following UX career paths might involve elements of design, but design won’t be central to day-to-day work. Salaries listed are from Glassdoor in June 2021.
Average US salary: $125,778
As a UX researcher, you’ll be expected to carry out qualitative and quantitative research on the users of a product. That can mean conducting interviews, distributing surveys, or using card sorting. If the idea of conducting research to see what elements of design people like or find challenging sounds appealing, then UX research may be rewarding for you. UX researchers might also be called user researchers, UX analysts, or usability analysts. Skills often requested of UX researchers include:
User testing methods: Knowing various ways to user test will be your prime weapon as a user researcher. Make sure you’re familiar with methods like card sorting, A/B testing, guerilla testing, and surveys—and in what situations they’re best deployed.
Human-computer interaction or psychology: Many job descriptions for UX researchers call for an academic background in human-computer interaction, psychology, or a related field.
Data analysis: Basic data analysis tools like SQL, or data visualization tools like Tableau or Power BI, can help you understand and organize the data you collect from your research.
Average US salary: $102,821
UX engineers, known also as UX developers, code the interfaces of websites and apps using UX principles. They might use front-end programming languages to create the buttons, layouts, menus, and small animations that make up a pleasant user experience. UX engineer skills include:
UX concepts: Job descriptions often ask for an understanding of UX principles, like user-centric thinking, wireframing, prototyping, and user research skills.
Design tools and sensibility: Knowing basic design concepts like color theory and typography, and being able to use design tools like Figma or Sketch can show employers your versatility as a UX engineer.
Average US salary: $117,673
A UX writer creates the microcopy—the words on buttons and menus, in chatbot conversations and error messages—that help a user navigate through digital products. They try to balance the user’s needs, goals, and emotions with limitations like a company’s brand voice and business needs. Copy writers and technical writers might occupy similar roles in a UX team. A UX writer needs the following skills:
Writing: UX writing goes beyond good grammar and spelling. UX writers are expected to empathize with the user, write concisely, control tone, and stay true to a company’s brand voice.
Digital design tools: Familiarity with Figma, Sketch, Adobe Creative Cloud, or other design tools can help UX writers implement their work.
User research: A/B testing, data analysis, and running session recordings can be useful for UX writers to determine how copy affects users.
Average US salary: $104,571
Information architects organize information on websites and applications to make them easily navigable to users. They might plan the layout of a website, decide where it makes most sense to have a purchase button, or develop sitemaps to strategize how best to group content together.
Front-end development: Some familiarity with various elements of front-end development, like static site generators and programming languages, is often requested.
User testing: Information architects can use user testing methods like A/B testing, card sorting, or session recordings to see what formats are most usable for users.
Project management: Because information architects’ jobs often see crossover with the UX design and engineering teams, they might be expected to be able to organize a team and see a project through to completion. Project management skills might come in handy here.
Maybe you’re a good writer, maybe you know how to code, or maybe you love trying to understand the clockwork of people’s brains. So how can you translate those skills and passions into a UX career?
Learning the basics of user research, the design process, and the vocabulary of the field is a good place to start. Consider a program like the Google UX Design Professional Certificate—you can learn UX essentials, create a professional portfolio, and equip yourself with the UX skills to be job-ready in less than six months.
Yes! With the increase in online commerce, companies are prioritizing the optimization of web and mobile experiences for customers. That’s where UX professionals come in. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in UX / digital design are expected to increase by 13 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than average.
Yes. In fact, UX professionals rank their work/life balance around four out of five, according to Glassdoor insights[4,5]. This is in addition to increasing demand for UX professionals, positive job outlook, and average salaries around six figures in the US. Also consider that UX as a field is constantly evolving, so it’s a career in which professionals will always be learning and specializing.
According to the Nielsen Norman Group’s UX career report , UX professionals love the process of the work they do, being able to see the impact they make on others. UX allows professionals to engage both sides of their brain, combining creativity with analysis. They often enjoy cross-functional collaboration within a company and the ability to work remotely.
1. LinkedIn. "New LinkedIn Research: Upskill Your Employees with the Skills Companies Need Most in 2020, https://www.linkedin.com/business/learning/blog/learning-and-development/most-in-demand-skills-2020." Accessed November 19, 2021.
2. Fast Company. "5 Design Jobs That Won’t Exist In The Future, https://www.fastcompany.com/3063318/5-design-jobs-that-wont-exist-in-the-future." Accessed November 19, 2021.
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Web Developers and Digital Designers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm.” Accessed November 19, 2021.
4. Glassdoor. “UX Designer Overview. https://www.glassdoor.com/Career/ux-designer-career_KO0,11.htm.” Accessed November 19, 2021
5. Glassdoor. “User Experience Researcher Overview. https://www.glassdoor.com/Career/user-experience-researcher-career_KO0,26.htm.” Accessed November 19, 2021.
6. Nielsen Norman Group. “User Experience Careers. https://media.nngroup.com/media/reports/free/UserExperienceCareers_2nd_Edition.pdf.” Accessed November 19, 2021.
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.