From creativity to human-centricity, here are a few reasons why UX design continues to be an attractive career choice.
UX design is a competitive field. It's also one with a lot of many exciting opportunities for career growth and specialization. Creativity, human-centricity, and remote work possibilities all continue to make this an attractive career path pursue.
So let's take a look at a few of the reasons why you might decide to work towards a career switch into UX design, based on some insights from our top mentors and working professionals in the field.
What does a UX designer do?
A UX (User Experience) designer is responsible for the overall experience of a product, from the user's initial perceptions to the way they interact with it. It's a broad discipline that covers user research, interface design, usability testing, information architecture, and content strategy.
UX designers seek to create more human-centric, accessible experiences for product users.
While you don't need a degree to become a UX designer, the field does require a foundational understanding of the UX design process, user research/testing, and a solid grasp of foundational design skills.
And, while there continues to be a demand for UX designers of all levels, recent economic shifts have increased the competition for junior level jobs. New designers who want to stand out as competittive candidates should not only showcase their mastery of technical design skills, but also leverage whatever transferable skills they have amassed up to this point.
Whether you already have a working understanding of design fundamentals or are starting from scratch, there are some great UX bootcamps out there that can help you learn valuable skills and build a job-ready portfolio within months.
UX designers are integral in helping businesses of all kinds create products and services that are tailored to their users' needs, making them an essential part of the process when it comes to creating successful products and services. With businesses continuing to shift towards a digital-first approach to their products and services, UX designers will remain highly sought after in the ever-evolving world of business and technology.
Designlab mentor Ben Judy, Director of Product Design at Postlight, says:
UX design is multi-disciplinary, cross-device, and cross-industry nature. You can specialize or deepen your skills in dozens of sub-disciplines such as strategy, information architecture, qualitative research, or interaction design. You can design for mobile apps, websites, massive data-drive systems, appliances, and all manner of things. UX designers can work in almost any industry on earth. The whole world of business and technology is open for you to explore and apply your skills.
2. Human-centric work
As a UX Designer, you have the unique opportunity to create impactful experiences that improve people’s lives. Your designs can help businesses succeed, solve real-world problems, and make the digital world a more accessible place.
Ben Judy says: "If you've ever been annoyed or let down by an experience with a digital product that didn't meet your expectations—and you want to do something about it, and save millions of other people from experiencing that same pain—then becoming a UX designer may be for you."
Amy Lima, Product Designer at Amazon Music, and UX Academy graduate says:
Technology has always bridged the gap between my many worlds, connecting me with my family in Brazil and friends around the globe, and it’s also helped me discover new parts of myself in ways that make me feel whole. When I learned I could have an active hand in building these bridges for others through UX design, I ran towards it and never looked back.
Amy is a champion for users everywhere and has a particular interest in making a positive impact on the world through her work with nonprofits, like Be the Change—an end-to-end mobile app that donates users’ spare change to local Mutual Aid organization campaigns..
A screenshot of the Be The Change website from the portfolio of Amy Lima.
3. Fulfilling work
Many UX designers report feeling very satisfied with their work—especially when a project or product has shipped ...
Divya Maharajula, Product Designer at Ulta Beauty, and UX Academy graduate, says, “At the end of the day when your vision comes to life and makes people’s lives better, it feels fulfilling and gives you a sense of purpose."
Ben Judy adds: "That moment when you see proof—whether in a usability test or from user analytics data—that it's working! Your design has moved the needle: happier customers, increased engagement, customer retention, greater adoption, successful task completion. Whatever it is, that magic moment when you've dialed-in on a winning design that clearly works for humans. There's nothing like it."
4. Benefit from transferable skills
Over the past few years, we've supported career-switchers from all backgrounds—sales and marketing, education, and graphic design, to name a few—to become UX designers. One common thread we hear from students is how much they've been able to utilize the skills they already have when they move into UX design.
Simone Obidah, a former chef and current User Research Apprentice at Asana, and UX Academy graduate, says:
With UX design, I discovered how to apply my skills in different ways such as flexibility, communication, collaboration and making sure quality is consistent throughout all aspects of product building.
Christine Li, UX Designer at HSBC, and UX Academy graduate, shares:
My previous fashion design experience has helped me to think from different perspectives. As I grew as a fashion graphic designer, I started to raise more questions about why, and how to aim at the right audience or solve the right problems. These questions brought me closer to UX design.
5. Creative and logical STEM career
UX design—which is rooted in the scientific process—is both creative and logical because it involves considering the emotional and practical aspects of using an interface.
On one hand, UX design is creative because it involves designing a product that resonates with users and encourages them to engage with it.
On the other hand, UX design is logical because it involves considering how users interact with the interface and the processes that need to be implemented to make the product easily usable.
“I love how product design is about being functional and building for an optimal user experience, while also not being overly creative. I want to be creative, but also pragmatic, in my design,” says Joyce, Product Designer at Optum Financial, and UX Academy alum.
Joyce embraces functional and pragmatic design processes in her role in FinTech. Check out the Vanguard project on her portfolio, which helped her to land her current role at Optum Financial!
6. Never boring, constantly evolving
You will never be bored as a UX designer as every project you work on offers a creative challenge. With each challenge, you can explore different ideas and approaches to create the best user experience.
Rebecca Hancock, Sr. UX Designer at Kickstartabiz and Designlab mentor, says, "This field is always growing, and there's a wide variety of industries and projects to work on. No two projects are the same. It can be difficult at times to keep up with all the new trends in the tech industry, but I promise you it's worth the effort to know the latest and greatest of everything. It never gets boring!"
Al Lucca adds: "I feel like design is a discipline that is always going through transformations, our roles, the impact we deliver to products and ideas, the intangible that goes way beyond the current obsession with metrics. All that combined makes Design fun and not really like a job."
7. Opportunity for a healthier work/life balance
Like any job, being a UX designer can be stressful. However, many UX designers find that they enjoy the problem-solving aspect of the job, which can reduce stress. It can be challenging to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies, and to make sure designs are reaching the right people, but overall the job can be satisfying and rewarding.
Al Lucca, Head of Design at Semafor, and Designlab mentor, says, "I wouldn't say being a UX designer is stressful, it can surely be frustrating, sometimes boring, but stress will very much depend on how you manage work and life."
Ben Judy adds: "It certainly can be stressful. A few stress-inducers you might encounter include: deadlines, demanding clients or stakeholders, colleagues in other disciplines who don't understand UX, fighting for budget/resourcing (if you're in-house), and finding new client work (if you're in client services or a freelancer.) But it's also highly rewarding when things go well."
Rebecca also says, "There's amazing work/life balance. If you find a company to work for that aligns with your own values, work won't feel like work."
8. Lucrative salary potential
Job market conditions, experience and skills, company size and type, industry, and geographical location all influence how much a UX designer earns.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a UX designer in the United States in 2023 is:
1. Access to resources: UX designers have access to a wealth of knowledge, tools, and techniques to support their designs. The UX design community is a great place to learn, share and collaborate. 2. Make meaningful connections: As a member of the UX design community, you can make meaningful connections with other UX professionals and establish relationships that can last for years. 3. Gain fresh insight: Valuable feedback from peers and industry leaders is essential for any designer’s continued growth and development. By engaging in the UX design community, designers can stay on the cutting edge of UX design principles and trends. 4. Stay motivated: With a supportive community behind you, it's easier to stay motivated to practice and refine your craft. 5. Gain greater visibility: By participating in the UX design community, you can help to increase the visibility of your work, making it easier to find new opportunities. 6. Develop a global network: A great way to extend your global network and open up new doors of opportunity, the UX design community can help to connect you with potential customers, partners, and collaborators worldwide.
10. Meaningful contributions
UX design is at the core of the modern user experience. By empowering users to interact with digital products and services more intuitively, UX design has revolutionized how people engage with the world.
UX designers are able to reduce complexity, provide more meaningful experiences, and create a better product-to-user connection. This has led to improved customer engagement and loyalty, streamlined workflows, and empowered decision making.
Ultimately, UX design has helped to transform the world of technology and the way users interact with it.
How to Become a UX Designer
The best way to learn UX design is to start learning visual design and UI design. In UX Academy Foundations, you'll do just that. UX Academy Foundations is an online course that teaches the fundamentals of visual design and UI design in just 4 weeks. This course includes 1:1 mentorship with an experienced designer—and an automatic $500 credit towards our intensive UX Academy bootcamp.