Making Everything Just a Little Easier
It’s part of your job as a mom to make things just a little bit easier for your kids. If you want to use that experience in a new career, consider becoming a UX (user experience) designer. These designers are charged with making it easier and more fun for a customer to use a product, such as computer hardware or software. You can earn a good salary too, since the median wage for a UX designer is over $70,000.
A user experience designer has a unique set of responsibilities. She’s the designer who focuses on making a product attractive and functional so that the user’s experience is a happy one. She supervises the design process from the initial draft stages to the end product, collaborating with other designers to make sure every step of the use process is free of hang-ups. Most UX designers work to simplify computer software or hardware. This type of design work requires an understanding of psychology, sociology and design as well as skills in user research, concept iteration, prototyping and usability testing.
To become a UX designer, you’ll do better if you head to college. You may be able to get by with an associate’s degree if you obtain a lot of work experience and additional field certifications. But the usual career path includes earning a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a computer-related field. Most prospective user experience designers also take college classes in psychology and sociology to understand users’ needs better. Knowledge of computer technology is essential, as is experience with Adobe Suite, HTML, CAD and CSS.
You may need a portfolio of your work to apply for UX designer positions, so when you’re in college, take practicum courses to develop it. It also helps to do an internship and find a mentor in the field.
The median salary for a user experience designer, according to PayScale, is $72,482, while the average salary is slightly higher. “Median” means that half of the user experience designers in this country earn more than that amount, while the other half earn less. No data is available for differences in salary based on educational levels.
About the Industry
Most, but not all UX designers work in the technology industry. Others work in manufacturing, advertising and marketing, and production.
Years of Experience
The average salary for a user experience designer is around $73,000. Salaries increase as you accrue experience. Entry-level jobs typically pay 6 percent less than average, while mid-career designers may earn 13 percent more than average. Once you get a decade of experience, you may receive 26 percent higher wages, while after two decades, your salary may go up to 32 percent above average wage.
Job Growth Trend
UX design is currently a top career choice in design and planning, and job growth is up to 30 percent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in the web development field (which include programmers, designers and webmasters) will increase 13 percent in the next decade. This is much higher than average growth.
From Alaska to California, from France's Basque Country to Mexico's Pacific Coast, Teo Spengler has dug the soil, planted seeds and helped trees, flowers and veggies thrive. World traveler, professional writer and consummate gardener, Spengler earned a BA from U.C. Santa Cruz, a law degree from Berkeley's Boalt Hall, and an MA and MFA from San Francisco State. She currently divides her life between San Francisco and southwestern France.