If “become a UX designer” is on your 2023 to-do list, we’ve got good news: There’s never been a better time to pursue a career in UX.
In addition to skyrocketing demand, forging a fulfilling career as a UX designer in 2023 will see you enjoy varied and exciting work, a low barrier to entry, and long-term career progression.
But in today’s economic climate, switching careers can feel like a daunting and risky prospect. Before you make any financial commitments, you’ll want reassurance that pursuing a career in UX design will be a worthwhile (and lucrative) endeavour.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most compelling reasons why UX design is a good career path—and why 2023 is the right time to make the switch.
Let’s dive in!
1. Is UX design a good career path?
Before you keep reading, let’s first answer the burning question on every career-changer’s mind: Is UX design a good career path to pursue in 2023?
When most people think of tech roles, they think of two things: Web/software development and UX design. UX design has boomed over the last decade, supercharged by our skyrocketing reliance on technology—and the evolving digital landscape. Once upon a time, good user experience was considered a ‘nice to have.’ Today, the value of UX design is widely recognised, and most senior executives see UX as a business imperative.
This has led to:
- More jobs,
- Increasing demand,
- More opportunities in sectors outside of tech,
- Higher salaries, and
- Growing respect for the discipline.
Based on these factors, UX design is a good career. In fact, it’s universally hailed as one of the best digital careers there are.
UX design is one of the few career paths where the salaries are as rewarding as the work itself. In addition to enriching people’s lives and solving real-world problems, UX will see you work with new, cutting-edge technology to create innovative and exciting digital experiences. The best part? Anyone (yes, anyone!) can join the field.
2. 5 reasons why UX design is a good career path
UX professionals are in high demand
As of 2022, there are almost a billion active websites in the world—with new websites and apps being built every day. Almost every industry has an online presence; and a growing number of companies are recognising that good UX = higher revenue.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, UX is set to continue to grow in demand for the next eight years. This is also due to UX becoming a Google ranking factor, meaning businesses will need to focus on their UX to remain competitive.
There’s also promising growth in the tech field for 2023, which is great news for future job-seekers who are concerned about breaking into the industry. CompTIA found that job postings for tech positions totaled nearly 2.2 million during 2022 so far (a staggering 52% increase over the previous year).
Beyond the tech industry, you’ll find job ads for UX designers in education, finance, non-profit organisations, healthcare, government, media, and sustainability—to name a few. There’s also an increased demand for UX skills globally, especially in Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia.
John Dennehy (founder of IT recruitment company, Zartis) suggests that “many internal and agency recruiters struggle to fill UX roles because there’s a knowledge gap. As a result, many UX roles remain unfilled.”
UX professionals are well paid
Among one the most compelling reasons to pursue a career in UX design is the earning potential. Financial stability is a valid priority for career changers, especially when faced with economic uncertainty.
Luckily, the global skills shortage and competition for UX professionals is pushing salaries upwards—especially for mid-level and senior positions. John Dennehy also agrees that the increased demand for UX designers is now reflected in salaries:
“UX was, for many years, the poor cousin of software development in terms of pay. Today, UX developers are generally paid at least as much as full-stack or back-end developers.”
Let’s look at UX design salaries for a European tech capital like Dublin, according to 2022 salary data from Glassdoor:
- Junior UX designers can command a salary between €32,000 – €53,000
- Mid-level UX designers are expected to earn €35,000 – €74,000
- Senior UX designers can earn between €55,000 – €91,000
According to Glassdoor’s ‘50 Best Jobs in America for 2022’ report, the median salary for a UX designer is $97,047. On the other side of the world, a UX designer in Sydney, Australia can expect to earn around A$90,422.
Salaries are also enticing in more specialised UX roles like that of the UX researcher. In the US, user researchers can expect to earn around $103,383 on average. In another European tech capital like Berlin, the average user research salary currently sits at around €57,823.
UX design has a low barrier to entry
UX design is one of the most creative, innovative, and exciting careers in tech. But it’s also one of the most accessible. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a degree—or years of digital experience—to forge a successful career as a UX designer.
UX involves tasks and responsibilities that overlap with so many other disciplines, like psychology, research, and visual design. There are many different paths into UX, and the industry welcomes (and celebrates) transferable skills from other disciplines—making it a great conversion career.
UX is actually one of the few tech careers where being a career-changer is seen as a huge plus. Having a non-tech background means you’ll likely be better at empathizing with the end-user, and advocating for their needs.
Many of today’s most successful, highly-paid UX designers broke into the field from disciplines like teaching, marketing, and even graphic design. No matter your current career, you’ve likely already got an arsenal of transferable skills and relevant experience that will make for a smoother transition into UX design—like critical thinking, project management, or business acumen.
To learn more, check out our blog post on the 7 transferable UX design skills you might already have.
UX design offers meaningful work
The marker of a ‘good career’ is one where you’re excited, interested, and fulfilled by your work. Here’s where UX design truly shines.
As a UX designer, you’ll get to make a positive impact on the world by designing products that make people’s lives better. You’ll delve deep into the science of user experience; understanding how users think, and coming up with creative solutions to their day-to-day problems.
Read next: A day in the life of a UX designer.
Former web designer Daniel Guy describes how UX changed his outlook: “I liked how it (UX) was a more dynamic discipline with a behavioural aspect. This moved me into the realm of users, their behaviour, and how to make things easier for them.”
UX design is also a versatile and multidisciplinary field that’ll see you get involved with all aspects of a product or service, from its functionality to its social impact. As a result, you’ll be exposed to a wide array of innovative tools and processes that push the boundaries of technology.
It’s also important to remember that UX goes far beyond just apps and websites. In day-to-day workplaces, good UX design reduces friction, mitigates human error, and helps companies make better decisions.
For example, hospitals are increasingly reliant on technology—and UX design helps patients quickly understand new systems and medical devices, which in turn allows them to get the information they need in a fraction of the time.
If you’re passionate about accessibility, and making the world a better place—you’ll no doubt find true ‘career joy’ in UX.
UX design has plenty of opportunities for growth
The field of UX is constantly evolving and expanding. While UX design is a fantastic and exciting role (and a great place to start), it’s just one of many career paths available to you as a UX professional.
Once you’ve spent some time getting familiar with UX design, you’ll gain the transferable skills to branch off into more specialised roles, like:
- Interaction designer
- UX analyst
- Product designer
- User researcher
- UX architect
- Service designer
To learn more, we recommend giving our blog post explaining the 11 most popular UX job titles a read.
UX designers can also progress into more senior roles; like product manager or senior UX designer—as well as C-suite level roles like UX director or VP of user experience.
The bottom line is that UX is an incredibly broad and versatile field, with plenty of wiggle room to switch things up and build your niche depending on which parts of UX interest you the most. Specialised roles also tend to be highly sought-after, which usually means an even higher salary.
3. How do I know if UX design is right for me?
UX design can tick all the boxes of a good career path on paper (high salary, great opportunities, meaningful work, etc.). But you might still find yourself wondering, am I a good fit for a career as a UX designer? And how do I know if UX design is right for me?
As we explored earlier, UX design is a vast and varied field that welcomes newcomers from all walks of life. Regardless of how unrelated or ‘irrelevant’ your current role might seem, your past experiences will always be valuable to UX. After all, without diverse perspectives and experiences, UX designers would struggle to put themselves in the users’ shoes.
You can easily learn the technical skills needed to land a UX design job with a UX design course or bootcamp—so your motivation for breaking into the field should boil down to your characteristics, interests, and personal ambition.
Generally speaking, UX design is a great career choice for people who are as creative as they are logical. As a jumping-off point, here are a few key questions to consider:
- Are you passionate about improving people’s day-to-day experiences?
- Do you have a keen eye for design, and often find yourself thinking about what you would change about your favourite websites and apps?
- Are you curious about how the world works?
- Do you like variety in your daily tasks?
- Do you enjoy collaborating with other people?
- Do you love learning and discovering new things?
If the answer to most of these questions was ‘yes,’ you’ll no doubt make a stellar UX designer!
4. Getting started in UX design: Next steps
By now, you shouldn’t have any doubts that UX design is a good career path—and a worthwhile priority for 2023. All that’s left to do now is take the first step!
As a complete beginner to the field, you’ll want to ensure you’re investing in a comprehensive UX education guaranteed to help you secure your first role as a UX designer.
The UX Design Institute’s Professional Diploma in UX Design was created by industry-leading professionals to turn complete beginners into job-ready UX designers. Complete with course mentors and career coaches, you’ll gain the skills, mindset, and confidence needed to break into UX design in just six months.
Still researching? Keep reading up about what to expect from a career in UX design with these useful resources: