Every day, we interact with a wide range of products, from driving a car to using a search engine on our laptops. Using such items creates an experience, and consumers can have a good or bad experience when interacting with these offerings. That’s what is known as the UX, or user experience, and it’s crucial for the success of today’s goods and services.
This article shows you how to become a UX designer, explores the process, defines the UX term, outlines the technical skills, soft skills, and other necessary qualifications, and outlines the steps aspiring UX designers should take. We’ll round out our experience with a word about UX design job salaries and demand and how an online UI UX program can be a valuable asset for finding a good job.
Let’s commence our journey with a definition of UX.
What is UX?
User experience, or UX for short, describes all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with a company, its products, and its services. UX encompasses user interface design, graphic design, and human-computer interaction. Teams use the UX design process to create services and products that offer the consumer a pleasant, relevant, and meaningful experience. A product should be easy to use and give the consumer a good feeling. At the very least, it shouldn’t be a cause of aggravation!
In summary, users’ experience is a holistic journey when using a product. This journey encompasses their direct interactions with the product and how the item fits in with the overall task-completion process.
The Difference Between UX and UI Design
It’s common to find the terms UX and UI together. UI stands for “user interface” and covers what the customer interacts with and sees/hears when using the product. UI includes the layout, graphics, form fields, etc. UI designers are in charge of how the product looks and feels.
So, for example, a professional who designs a website is, in effect, a user interface designer.
Thus, UX covers how users feel when interacting with goods or services, from beginning to end, while UI deals with actual touchpoints the customer uses when engaging with the product. Purchasing, driving, and owning a luxury car is a user experience, while the luxury car’s high-tech dashboard and steering wheel are user interfaces.
With the above distinctions established, we can get into the nuts and bolts of what UX designers do.
What Do UX Designers Actually Do?
UX designers study every element that shapes the user’s experience, regardless of whether the product is physical or virtual. It could be an online banking app or a wrist-worn activity monitor that links to your smartphone. They use their design skills to make a better experience and are responsible for every product development aspect, from design to usability to function.
UX designers often leverage toolsets spanning graphic design, layout, user research, testing, language, and wording. They may even do some coding (typically involving HTML or CSS), design logos and buttons, create wireframes and mockups, and even write the text that appears in the product.
UX designers ask basic questions like “How easy is the product to use?” “How does the product make the user feel?” “Can the user complete their desired task easily?” To answer these questions, UX designers use product development, design, market research, and strategy to create a seamless user experience for products, services, and processes.
By using tools such as empathy, user research, task analysis, and plenty of ideation and testing, UX designers construct a bridge from the company to the customer, helping the former to understand better and fulfill the latter’s expectations and needs.
What Skills and Qualifications Do UX Designers Need?
UX designers are called upon to handle all customer experience aspects. They thus are expected to have a solid range of skills and experience, plus familiarity with project management.
To become a UX designer, you should be certified in UX design, graphic design, interaction design, or a related field. It’s also possible to enter the field through self-study or an alternative educational background, such as computer science. It’s also possible to leap to a UX designer position from a related career, such as a graphic designer or visual designer.
But no matter what your background, developing strong skills in user research, information architecture, wireframing, prototyping, usability testing, and interaction design is mandatory.
You should also be familiar with design tools like Adobe XD, Sketch, or Figma, deeply understand user-centered design principles, and have the talent for collaborating with cross-functional teams effectively.
Let’s break down some steps you can take to become a UX designer.
How To Become a UX Designer?
So, you’ve decided that you want to become a UX designer. Great! So, now what? Before you begin your job search, follow these steps to enhance your chances of getting that coveted position. It typically takes two to six years to become a UX designer, though if you already have the right qualifications, it could be as short as three months.
Consider a degree
Although degrees aren’t mandatory, they can no doubt speed up the process. Consider either a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree in a useful field like:
- Computer science
- Graphic design
- Game design
- Information technology
- Web design
Take an online UX design course and gain certification
Many online UX courses, tutorials, and bootcamps can provide you with the necessary skills and training for a UX design career. For example, we will call out a specific bootcamp at the end of this article.
Consider an internship
Internships offer experience and the chance to make connections. Unfortunately, not all internships are paid positions (in fact, more often than not, they aren’t), so take steps to ensure that you can remain solvent during your internship.
Learn how to use UX-related tools
A worker is only as good as their tools. If you become familiar with these tools, you will make huge strides on your career path. Here’s a small sample of UX tools you can learn to become a UX designer.
User testing and usability testing tools
User research tools
Wireframing and prototyping tools
- Adobe XD
Design your own projects
You get better at guitar playing by constantly practicing. You gain valuable UX skills by practicing and creating projects solely for your own benefit and enjoyment. If you take a UX design bootcamp, you will likely be expected to create at least one project.
Create a UX portfolio
As you design your own projects, you will need a portfolio to collect them. Your portfolio builds off your resume or VC because now you’re presenting your work for consideration rather than just listing your education and experience. The portfolio serves as an introduction to what you’re really like as a UX designer and your capabilities. It’s a narrative, and it tells the story of you.
Any project that you place in your portfolio should have these five components:
- Context. This component explains the problem you are trying to solve.
- Scope. This component explains the internal and external factors that surround the problem.
- Rationale. This component explains your design process.
- Visuals. This component covers your final design’s look, feel, and function.
- Impact. This component explains what people take away from your design solution.
Get some work experience under your belt by taking on some freelance work. This work will sharpen your UX design skills and help you refine your soft skills in areas like project management, communication, and collaboration.
Get out there and schmooze
Or, put more professionally, consider networking. As the cliché goes, “Sometimes it’s not what you know; it’s WHO you know!” Networking creates connections and alerts you to job opportunities or mentoring arrangements. There’s nothing like meeting experienced professionals and picking their brains. You can gain insights, valuable tips and shortcuts, and possibly a valuable reference!
Apply for UX positions
Start applying for UX positions once you get your educational and occupational skill set squared away. Take advantage of online job sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Indeed, or ZipRecruiter.
The UX design field has many associated job titles, each focusing on different skill sets. Here’s a list of UX design-related occupations. Carefully note the qualifications and job descriptions.
- Experience Designer
- Information Architect
- Interaction Designer
- UX Designer
- UX Writer
- UX Architect
- UX Researcher
- Visual Designer
- UX Engineer
Are UX Designers in Demand in 2023?
IT jobs are a hot commodity today, though some positions are more in demand than others. But according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for UX designers is growing. Data shows that the employment rate for web developers and digital designers (including UX designers) is expected to grow 23 percent in the ten years of 2021-2031, a rate much faster than average.
Of course, job opportunities vary according to local geography, demand, and economic conditions. But overall, UX designers are definitely needed.
What’s a UI UX Designer?
A UI UX designer has the skills and talent to handle the start-to-finish product experience and design the user interface. So, a UI UX designer is the complete package: someone who can create an entire experience and a visually attractive interface to add to the positive user experience.
If you’re wondering how to become a UI UX designer, many online bootcamps cover both specialties comprehensively.
A Look at UX Designer Salaries
According to Glassdoor.com, a user experience designer in the United States could earn a yearly average salary of $108,206. Ziprecruiter.com reports that UI UX designers make an annual average of $113,455.
Would You Like to Learn More About UI UX Design?
Now that you know how to become a UX designer, it’s time to get some valuable training and certification. This 20-week UI UX bootcamp teaches critical UI and UX design skills through hands-on practical learning experience, live lectures, and relevant projects (just the thing for your newly created portfolio!).