Back on the job market? Look at this UX design salary guide first

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Learn about the top six careers in UX, their tasks, salary expectations, and tips on how to get a competitive salary for your next gig.

10 min read

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User experience (UX) design is an exciting and fast-evolving field with new specializations emerging all the time—in areas like user research, design, copywriting, and product strategy. It also happens to be one of the most sought-after professions on the market right now.

Glassdoor named the discipline one of the 50 best jobs in America. And, generally speaking, the job market is looking good: As the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, businesses across industries are hiring new talent. The jobs index increased to 66.6 out of 100 on Dec 2 in the Forbes Advisor-Ipsos Consumer Confidence Weekly Tracker.

That trajectory is likely to continue in UX design, according to Gleb Kuznetsov, a venture capitalist and chief design officer of Brain Technologies. “Both in-house corporate design departments and small boutique agencies understand that the very best designers have a disproportionate impact on the final quality of a product,” says Kuznetsov. “As a consequence, the talent battles for top designers will be extremely competitive and result in an increase in both hourly rates and total compensation.” What it means is that you will likely be in hot demand.

If you're a seasoned UX professional and interested in where you can take your UX career next, this guide is for you. It outlines the top six careers within the UX world, their tasks, salary expectations, and has practical tips on how to get a better UX design salary for your next gig.

See the day-to-day tasks and salaries of these UX design jobs:

1. UX designer

2. UI designer

3. UX/UI designer

4. UX writer

5. UX researcher

6. UX strategist

7. Skip to the salary tips

A UX designer is responsible for the wireframe of a product and ensuring it's functional and reliable. Image via: Stocksy.

1. UX designer

The term "user experience" was coined by legendary designer and researcher Don Norman in the 1990s, and he said that user experience describes all aspects of the user's interaction with the company and its products. A UX designer is a professional responsible for creating smooth interaction between the user and the product. The goal of user experience design is to create functional, reliable, usable, and enjoyable products.

UX designers typically practice the design thinking process that has five stages:

  1. Empathize. Gain an empathic understanding of the user's needs and wants.

  2. Define. Define the core problem(s) that a product team needs to solve to make the user's life better.

  3. Ideate. Aim to find the best solution for the core problem(s).

  4. Prototype. Prototype a solution.

  5. Test. Validate the prototype by testing it with real or potential users.

This process is iterative—the results of testing can give UX designers new insights to start over again and come up with a better solution at the end of the new cycle.

UX designers try to find a sweet spot between the user and business needs. They consider all elements that make up the user experience. As a result, they typically bridge the gap between the product team and stakeholders. Typically, UX designers report to design directors or chief design officer.

Daily tasks of UX designer include:

  • Learning business requirements (learning the business goals and conducting competitor analysis to understand the product niche and identify opportunities);

  • Conducting user research (find out who the target users are and what their needs are in relation to a product that is designed);

  • Defining the information architecture of a future product (label content and create meaningful for users content structures);

  • Designing scenarios of interaction (when UX designers solve a particular design problem they typically consider the user’s entire journey because it helps them better understand how a product fits in the user's daily life and define more realistic scenarios of interaction).

  • Creating wireframes/low-fidelity mockups (set out the bare-bones blueprints for the future product) and cooperation with UI designers (guiding UI designers so that they can turn the low-fidelity design into pixel-perfect mockups);

  • Conducting usability testing (collect feedback from actual or potential users on how easy or hard it is to use a product and find areas of improvement).

As with most jobs on our list, a UX designer salary varies based on how much experience you have and the company you work for and your location. If you have a senior UX designer role (i.e., 3-5 years experience) and work in large tech companies, you can negotiate a better salary. The average salary for a UX Designer is $116k per year in the United States, according to Glassdoor, with a salary range between $81k and $165k per year. Zip Recruiter shows a $98,816 per year salary, ranging between $45k to $155k.

An illustration of a woman designing a user interface with multiple open windows.