Become a Visual Designer if You Really Love UI Design
If you spent your time in UX Academy obsessing over fonts and color palettes, nudging elements pixel by pixel to the left or right, and enjoyed creating your own personal logo and branding, a Visual Designer role might be the right fit for you. Visual Designers are a specialist category that don’t necessarily need to deeply understand UX to be successful, but can come from UX or graphic design backgrounds.
A Visual Designer is often part of a larger team, and primary responsibilities revolve around prototypes and screens. You won’t be directly responsible for user research, personas, or information architecture—most of your time will be spent on hi-fidelity prototypes, UI kits and style guides, and design specs for the development team. You may also be the connection to the marketing department, collaborating on the look and feel of advertising and promotional elements. In a smaller company or startup, all design assignments might come to you, including presentations, social media, and product-related UI.
UX Research Could Be for You if You Love Understanding People
UX Research is often considered more of an advanced branch of UX, because of the sheer number of methodologies, techniques, approaches, and deliverables required of a UX Researcher. Many UX Researchers have degrees in Human-Computer Interaction, Library Science, or come from traditional scientific or academic research backgrounds. This can make it more challenging for a bootcamp graduate with a generalist degree to compete against the competition. But again, it depends on the size and type of company, and your prior background.
If you’d really like to move into UX Research as a career path, start where you can in UX (likely as a UX/UI Designer), continue to advocate for research in all of your projects, talk to the researchers on your team, and continue to learn about the practice as much as possible. One thing to note is that UX Researchers usually need to write a lot, and may never wireframe or design, so consider your strengths and weaknesses if you’re hoping to follow this path.
Content Strategist or UX Writer Roles Could Be Good if You Love Writing
Even more so than UX Researchers, Content Strategists and UX Writers are responsible for making sense of designs to both internal team members and users. Larger companies will often have Content Strategists and UX Writers on board since their products and offerings are complex in a variety of ways. A Content Strategist might map out information architecture, work on taxonomy, and decide on content hierarchy, and the UX Writer would narrate those concepts to internal employees, and work with designers to come up with a brand voice and guidelines.
Depending on the company, there may be some crossover with the UX Design team, UX Research, and other areas of experience design, but these roles generally do little actual designing. Content Strategists can typically create wireframes, and the best UX Writers have an understanding and respect for the designs that their copy will appear in, but design is not their main focus.
Become a UX Engineer if You Can Also Code
If you fall into this category, you’re in a highly marketable position. UX Designers who also have front-end coding skills are called UX Engineers, and can handle the entire UX process, then translate that into a workable site or product by handling the front end development. There aren’t as many UX Engineer roles about, however, simply based on the technical skill you’d need to master to be good at both.
Many UX Designers find it helpful to learn the basics of CSS and HTML to make their designs stronger, but aren’t interested in taking the time to really learn how to be a developer. Startups are often looking for this type of person to launch an idea or product, and will hire more specialist roles down the line. A true UX Engineer often has a Computer Science or Engineering background, and an interest in working more closely with designers to ensure that the user experience translates as a product is built. This can certainly be a lucrative career, but requires extra study and specialization to get there.
There are many facets to UX Design, and a UX career path for everyone interested. While UX Academy prepares you to start your journey as a generalist UX/UI Designer or Product Designer, where you go in the future is up to you. There are ever-changing technologies and practices that will influence the UX field, and ensure that you’ll never be bored with your chosen UX career path.
To learn more about landing your first job in the UX/UI design industry from design career pros like Nicole, explore our UX Academy program—which includes up to 6 months of Career Services. You’ll be paired with a Career Coach to identify the right job opportunities, add extra polish to your portfolio, work on your interview skills together, and launch your new career!