As of 2022, there are almost a billion active websites in the world with new websites and apps being built every day. It’s a user experience (UX) designer’s job to make those websites and apps easy to navigate, and enjoyable to use. It’s no wonder LinkedIn featured UX/UI designers on their list of the 10 most in-demand tech jobs in 2022.
With high salaries and low barriers to entry, a career in UX design has a very long list of benefits. But before you jump feet-first into a UX design bootcamp, you first need to know if a career in UX ticks all your boxes. What kind of companies could you work for? What kind of UX roles could you progress to? And how hard is it to break into the field?
We address these questions (and more!) in this quick-fire beginners guide to a career in UX design. Before you know it, you’ll have all the answers you need to confidently foray into the exciting and innovative field of UX design.
Let’s dive in!
What Kind of Companies Hire UX Designers?
If you’re thinking a UX design qualification will tie you to the tech industry for the rest of your life, think again. Today, almost every industry has an online presence; this means they need UX designers to facilitate a positive user experience. In fact, most companies recognize that good UX = good business–making UX design one of the most hired digital roles in the world.
Beyond the tech industry, you’ll find job ads for UX designers in education, finance, non-profit organizations, healthcare, government, media, and sustainability (to name a few). A lot of the companies that hire UX designers tend to be those that have a strong focus on user experience, product design, and customer service. Some of the top (and highest paying) companies that hire UX designers include:
Can You Work Remotely As a UX Designer?
UX design is a highly collaborative (and versatile) discipline. Throughout the product design process, UX designers find themselves communicating with business stakeholders, conducting user interviews, and running live whiteboarding sessions with the rest of the design team. With so many moving parts, UX design might seem like a job best performed in the office. So what is the scope for UX designers to work remotely?
As we saw throughout the pandemic, there are very few tech jobs that can’t be done from home and UX design is no exception. Today, there’s an abundance of remote tools that make a UX designer's life easier, from collaborative wireframing tools like Balsamiq and Figma, to user research tools like Maze or Userzoom. With a growing number of tech companies going fully remote, it’s never been easier for UX designers to wave goodbye to office life and say hello to remote working benefits, like a better work-life balance and more autonomy over your working hours.
To learn more about remote working in tech, check out our on-demand sessions on being a Digital Nomad in tech.
Is UX Design Hard to Get Into?
UX design is one of the most accessible careers in tech. It’s also a popular choice for career-changers, because it involves tasks and responsibilities that overlap with so many other disciplines like psychology, research, and visual design; it’s one of the few tech careers where being a career-changer is seen as a huge plus as it means you’ll likely be better at empathizing with the end-user, and advocating for their needs.
What’s more, beginners have access to a vast number of UX courses and bootcamps, like Ironhack’s UX/UI Design Bootcamp. This bootcamp seeks to train complete beginners in the in-demand skills and methodologies that today’s employers are desperately looking for. You’ll also learn how to think like a designer and work collaboratively at every stage of the product design process.
The best part? You don’t need any qualifications to enroll in a UX bootcamp. All you need is a laptop, enough time to learn the right skills, and the drive to make the switch!
What Skills do UX Designers Need?
UX design is a versatile and multidisciplinary field, which means UX designers need a diverse array of skills that stretch far beyond the confines of design. Entry-level UX-ers are expected to have skills in user research, wireframing, user journey mapping, user testing, and visual design and should also be familiar with UX methodologies and frameworks, like design thinking and lean management.
What about soft skills?
UX designers are responsible for making sure the digital product is accessible, usable, and intuitive, which means putting themselves in the user’s shoes. To do this, they need empathy and curiosity, constantly striving to understand the users’ needs. They also need strong communication and collaborative skills, so they can work closely with UI designers, interaction designers, information architects, copywriters, and other stakeholders across the business.
Overwhelmed by how much there is to learn? Don’t worry: beginners can master all of these skills (and then some) with a UX design bootcamp.
What Does UX Design Career Growth Look Like?
The phrase ‘the world is your oyster’ is particularly applicable to entry-level UX designers. UX design is a broad field, which can take you in a number of different directions across various sectors.
Most UX designers stay in their entry-level position (like UX designer or junior UX designer) for a few years to get a lay of the land. Then, you might find yourself branching off into more specialized mid-level roles like interaction designer, UX researcher, UX architect, UX analyst, service designer, or motion designer. All these roles relate to specific parts of the product design process, which is why it’s so important to first build up your portfolio as a UX designer.
You could also go in the opposite direction, into a more broad-scope position like product designer. Product designers work on every stage of the design process across both UX and UI design, even dipping into some frontend web development where necessary. They won’t be as involved in the day-to-day design as a UX designer; instead, they’ll be more focused on overall strategy and creative direction.
Mid-level UX designers can quickly progress into more senior roles like product manager or senior UX designer–as well as C-suite level roles like UX director, or VP of user experience. Don’t see yourself as a manager? You can continue building up your skills as an individual contributor, and choose a niche based on the types of products you design and the industry you work in.
What Makes a Good Career?
UX design is a popular career choice for a reason. It’s in high demand, offers rewarding salaries, and opens the door to more specialized (and lucrative) career paths.
But while these factors are all important, a good career boils down to one thing: how much you enjoy the work. The last thing you want is to go through the process of investing in a bootcamp course and working hard to land your first role only to realize it doesn’t fulfill you.
Career changes are a commitment, so it’s worth taking your time with research. To help you figure out your dream career, check out Ironhack’s Career Vision Planner. And if you’re ready to make that first step towards your future career as a UX/UI designer, get started today.