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The Ultimate Guide to UI/UX Careers

The Ultimate Guide to UI/UX Careers

Colin Pace
January 17, 2021
10 min read

With the changes that came in 2020, it’s completely reasonable to consider switching to a career that allows you to work remotely. UI or UX design is a great option for anyone looking to work remotely. Although many people (and even companies) group UX and UI design into the same job description, they each have different roles. Despite this, many designers do not work within their design roles, and rather have experience in both. 

The UX/UI job market is home to newly emerging positions, and if you are seriously considering a UX designer job, now is the time to educate yourself and move into this world. 

What Does a UX Designer Do?

Coming from the term “user experience”, UX is the experience that the end-user has with a product or service. This might include their experience during online shopping, or with a website. If the website is easy to navigate then it is considered to have a good user experience. If the page takes a long time to load or the layout is confusing then this would be considered a bad UX design.

What Does a UI Designer Do?

Known as “user interface” design, UI designers work to make an aesthetic design of a product’s user interface. UI designers will create the interface of an app or website, and focus on how it looks, and the style it has. All the screens of a product will be created by a UI visual designer, including the interaction design foundation. This will include choosing specific patterns, spacing, text, and color to guide the user. 

What is User Interface (UI)?

The user interface is where humans and computers interact. This can be through oral-auditory interaction or physical point of interaction. This interaction always occurs on an app, webpage, or device, and may include displays, the appearance of desktops, or keyboards. There are four elements of UI:

  1. Input controls: These allow users to put information into a system such as registration.
  2. Navigational: This allows the users to move around a website or scroll on an app.
  3. Informational: Includes notifications, messaging, information overall that is shared with users.
  4. Containers: These aspects hold different items together such as “show/hide” lists.

Are UX/UI Designers in Demand?

Before switching careers you probably want to ensure that there are enough positions available. Especially after the year 2020, a year that came with job loss and uncertainty in many career fields, it is important to have confidence in a new industry. 

  • UX designers are the second most in-demand creative professionals with product designers topping the list (which is a profession closely related to UX).
  •  The tech industry was the first to withstand, and then recover, during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In September 2020 there was an 8.6% increase in tech job openings which means finding a UX job seems to be easier than ever before.
  • At the time of publication, there were over 4,500 UX designer jobs available on indeed.com, with over 5,000 on LinkedIn.

How Much Do UX/UI Designers Earn?

Salary is a huge push for whether or not you may want to move into a career. Depending on where you live, which role you work in, and the company you work for, you will have a different experience in terms of salary. The average annual salary of a UX designer in the United States is $102,035 based on information from Indeed. After only one to two years of experience, it rings in at $87,506.

How to Become a UX/UI Designer

In order to become a UX designer, there are a few main steps you can follow. 

  1. Self educate yourself on the topic. Begin reading all you can about UX/UI design.
  2. Learn key UX/UI principles.
  3. Learn about UX design process methods.
  4. Learn with credible online courses from Uxcel.
  5. Use your learning in real world projects.
  6. Build your portfolio.
  7. Network.

The UX Design Process

As a whole, the UX design process has a few different phases: 

  • Research: During this period of time you will understand the goals of the project. Who is the target user and why are you creating this product for them? How will they be interacting with the product? You might also perform a case study.
  • Design: Finding solutions for the requirements is part of the design phase. Often in this phase, the designer will make wireframes and prototypes.
  • Testing: These prototypes will be given to real users during the testing phase. This will allow you to see any flaws in your design before pushing to implementation.
  • Implementation: After extensive testing, you will then push your designs on the developers, who will code the product and make it ready for market. 

Key Methods Used by UX Designers

  • User research
  • User research analysis
  • User personas
  • Wireframing
  • Prototyping
  • Information architecture
  • User testing
  • Usability testing

UI Design Patterns

Many products tend to follow design patterns. This might include drop down menus, navigation bars, or other common elements. These are known as UI patterns and are used time and again because the user enjoys them. These patterns solve problems. Common design patterns include:

  • Problem: What does the user want or need to do?
  • Context: When will the pattern be used?
  • Solution: What is the solution to the problem?
  • Examples: How has this pattern been used successfully before?

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How to Work on Your UX Design Skills

If you want to break into the world of UX design then you will need to hone your skills and practice. After completing UX courses, you will need to complete portfolio projects as well. It is often difficult to find paid portfolio projects in the beginning, but not impossible. There are three options for finding portfolio projects.


Plain and simple, hiring a designer can be expensive, and there are plenty of small organizations that would love to benefit from a new designer. This form of volunteering allows you to gain real world experience and also build your portfolio. You may even make some connections along the way. 

Provide a Free Redesign

Although you do not want to offend anyone, if you happen to see a UX design that is lacking, you can offer a redesign for free. You can offer this to the company, or simply do it for yourself and your own portfolio. This will be a great practice and challenge. 

Use UX in Your Current Role

If you have yet to make the switch to UX design then you can implement some tactics in your current role. Find challenges and attempt to solve them using UX methodologies.

Important Industry Tools

As a UX professional the tools you use are almost as important as your learning. In most positions, you will need to be comfortable with well-known tools such as Sketch and InVision, but you may find other tools to be helpful as well. 

Research UX


User Testing

How to Get Started

The first step to getting started is to start with an UX/UI Design Foundations course from Uxcel. Although many platforms offers design courses as well, Uxcel courses are bite-sized, interactive, concise. 

After only a few months working on your UX/UI design courses, you will become a qualified web designer. Even if you choose to continue working part-time in your current role, you will see plenty of opportunities arise to continue full time. Learn more about Uxcel courses and step into this booming industry.