User experience design careers are becoming increasingly more attractive to job seekers each year. They offer a chance to blend technical expertise with creative problem-solving skills. They provide a working environment that fosters teamwork and empathy.
And much to a job seeker’s delight, the role often comes with great benefits and an attractive salary. If you’re considering a UX career, now is the time to join this growing field.
Finding yourself among the curious souls intrigued by a potential design career? You’ve likely got a lot of questions about the job like, “what is a typical UX Designer salary?”
Consider this your lucky day. Today we’re jumping into these questions and offering clarity on how to launch a design career.
Here’s what we’ll chat about:
- What does a UX Designer do?
- What is a typical UX Designer salary in the United States?
- Are UX Designers in demand?
- Why should we talk about salary?
What does a UX Designer do?
Before we discuss the average salary, let’s dive into what UX Designers do. To keep it simple, UX is short for user experience. User experience is the overall experience a person (or user) has when interacting with a product, app, or website. A UX Designer ensures this experience is positive and that the final product is helpful and easy-to-use.
Their on-the-job tasks include responsibilities like:
- User and market research
- Creating user personas
- Information architecture
- Prototyping and wireframing
- User testing
What is a typical UX Designer salary?
The short answer is $102,084 in the United States, according to numbers from Indeed. The long answer is…it depends.
UX Designer salaries are largely dependent on location and experience level. A designer with 10+ years of experience will obviously earn more than an entry-level designer. But employers also take into account things like the cost of living and the average salary for the area.
Here’s a more granular look at UX Designer salaries in the United States, broken down by experience level. These numbers are also from Indeed.
Salaries for UX Designers by Experience Level
1-2 years of experience: $87,547
3-5 years of experience: 122,548
More than 10 years of experience: $135,828
You’ll typically find designer salaries are higher in tech hubs like Silicon Valley. Salaries are likely to be higher on the East and West coast than they are in the South and Midwest.
For example, a UX Designer in San Francisco with 1-3 years of experience might make around $104,843 a year. But, a UX Designer at the same level in a middle American city like Indianapolis might bring in around $64,269 a year, according to Glassdoor. Meanwhile, a UX Designer in New York with 1-3 years of experience could bring in around $78,110 per year.
Other Factors to Consider
User Experience Designers in the United States should also take total compensation into account. What does that mean, exactly? When it comes to compensation, you’ll receive your base salary, of course. But at some companies, you may also receive stock options, bonuses, and commissions. There are also benefits to consider like health care insurance, paid time off, and childcare assistance.
You should also account for your earning potential. This means considering how you’ll continue to earn more over time as you advance in level, gain experience at different companies, and grow your skill set. UX design offers excellent earning potential to new designers looking to enter the field. Wondering how to get a snapshot of your earning potential? Calculate your expected base salary from entry level to senior level using Dice’s salary calculator.
Are UX Designers in demand?
As long as we have physical and digital products and services, user experience jobs aren’t going away. And, as our everyday interactions become more digital, UX is becoming increasingly more important.
These professionals are responsible for creating happy, positive relationships between products and people. Therefore, the job has really become essential to a company’s bottom line. Name a brand that doesn’t want a happy, positive relationship with its customers. I’ll wait.
In case you’re still skeptical, here are some numbers to back up the projected growth for these jobs. As of this publishing, Glassdoor has more than 6,000 open user experience job listings online. And career marketplace Dice reports the average time to fill an open position is 36 days.
“It’s a lengthy-enough timespan to suggest a pretty high level of demand for UX Designers; for jobs with lots of open candidates and relatively few open jobs, time-to-fill is often much shorter,” the report states.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, these jobs will see a 3% year-on-year growth from 2018 to 2028. CNN Money also cited the profession’s 10-year job growth at 18% back in 2015, listing user experience as the 14th best job in America.
Why should we discuss salary?
Oftentimes, we treat salary as a big secret in the U.S. Talking about money, specifically how much you bring in, can feel scary and forbidden. But, having conversations with trusted friends, mentors, and family about it is a healthy part of your career growth.
If you have friends in the industry you trust, try having a conversation about salary. These conversations can show us if we’re being underpaid. They can help us pinpoint averages and salary ranges for our specific location and company. Most importantly, they can help us determine our professional worth and embolden us to negotiate for fair compensation.
If you’re not comfortable chatting about your potential UX Designer salary with friends in the industry (we get it, it can be awkward), browse websites like levels.fyi. This site breaks down different tech salaries by experience level and position. It also shows you what large companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon pay for a range of tech positions.
Check out these tips for negotiating your design salary for an extra confidence boost.
Should I become a UX Designer?
Think UX design could be for you? We’re celebrating your potential new career dreams right alongside you. While UX design is an innovative and exciting career option, we recognize it’s not right for everyone. So, you want to be sure it’s something you’ll enjoy before you run full speed ahead and pursue it.
User experience design requires skills like empathy, an interest in people, communication, analytical thinking, and design knowledge. You have the potential to truly thrive in a UX career if these are some traits you already value.
The good news is that many people come to UX from other fields, bringing with them transferable skills many of us are already cultivating (like teamwork and empathy).
And design skills can be learned through higher education programs, bootcamps, or even self-learning. In our opinion, the best way to get a high-quality UX education for an affordable price is at an upskilling program. At Kenzie Academy, we offer a part-time UX Design Career program designed for working professionals. Our program empowers you to keep working your day job while earning a certification towards your dream job.
Kenzie’s curriculum covers tested design principles, research strategies, and so much more. You’ll also study user interface (UI)— more on that here. Design projects and job readiness training will arm you with both technical and soft skills to help you land a UX Designer job.
Ready to start a fulfilling UX design career and start raking in the dough? Check out our UX Design Career program. Or, do some additional research with these UX-focused blog posts:
- How to Build a Strong UX Portfolio
- What Does a UX Designer Actually Do?
- What is Design Thinking?
- Why You Should Consider a Career in UX Design
- What is UX Design?