Skip to content Skip to Live Chat


User Researcher Career


What is a User Researcher?


User researchers—sometimes called “market research analysts” or “consumer analysts”—specialize in learning the motivations of users when they interact with businesses. User researchers accomplish this task through various experimental and observational methods. They use data-driven approaches to learn whether or not a product or service fulfills user needs. User researchers typically apply a human-centered, empathetic mindset while striving to remove existing biases against users.

If a user researcher has succeeded in their role, they’ll be able to draw upon empirical evidence rather than mere opinion about users. This evidence can then be used to optimize the way an organization conceptualizes, creates, and distributes a product or service, whether it be physical merchandise, digital software, written content, or any number of other things.

Both qualitative and quantitative research methods—including usability testing—play a crucial role in studying user behavior. The end goal of many user researchers is to improve user satisfaction and, by extension, the organization serving users.


What Does a User Researcher Do?

To get a comprehensive understanding of user needs and behaviors, researchers rely on several methodological practices. These typically involve user surveys, user interviews, focus groups, A/B testing, card sorting, and more. User researchers work alongside product designers, content marketers, user experience (UX) designers, search engine optimization (SEO) specialists, and other developers to create and deploy marketing strategies.

The day-to-day job responsibilities of a user researcher usually include the following:

  • Identifying and enlisting users for study
  • Defining user needs by compiling research questions
  • Conducting research via qualitative and quantitative testing
  • Using data analysis software to interpret research results
  • Sharing findings with key designers, developers, leaders, and stakeholders
  • Participating in user research conferences, trainings, and other group events
  • Maintaining a high standard of ethics in user research

No matter the industry they work in, user researchers convert their findings into deliverables designed to strengthen the ideation, development, launch, and sale of products.


How Do I Become a User Researcher?

As you prepare for a career in user research, keep in mind that there is not one set path to follow. Some user researchers are designers who want to understand how to better market their work. Others come from different professional backgrounds, applying their skills in behavioral science or web analytics. Many receive some form of higher education.

To become a user researcher, consider taking the following steps:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in social science, psychology [hyperlink to WGU page], UX design, or a similar subject.
  • Decide whether earning a relevant master’s degree aligns with your goals. A graduate degree could increase your earning potential or qualify you for higher-level job roles.
  • Spend time gaining personal and professional experience in user research. For example, you might attend an online UX bootcamp, earn a UX certificate, or find a part-time or full-time job in user experience.
  • Maintain a robust portfolio that showcases your work in user research. This resource could help you stand out to potential employers.

Best Degrees for a User Researcher

Health & Nursing

Psychology – B.S.

An online psychology program for students who want to make a difference in...

An online psychology program for students who want to make a difference in their life, and the lives of others.

  • Time: 95% of students finish similar programs in less than 4 years.
  • Tuition: $4,085 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 34 total courses in this program.

Skills for your résumé included in this program: 

  • Social psychology
  • Consumer psychology
  • Adult psychology
  • Mental health awareness
  • Psychopathology

This degree allows you to gain valuable knowledge and experience in the field of psychology and can prepare you for additional certifications or careers.


Software Engineering – B.S.

You're a creative and tech genius who wants the bigger opportunities....

You're a creative and tech genius who wants the bigger opportunities.

  • Time: 60% of graduates finish similar programs within 35 months.
  • Tuition: $3,985 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 36 or 38 total courses in this program depending on your track.

Certifications included in this program at no additional cost are:

  • CompTIA Project +
  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner 
  • ITIL®1 Foundation Certification

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program:

  • Scripting and programming
  • Web development
  • Mobile application development 
  • User experience design
  • Software quality assurance

How Much Does a User Researcher Make?


The income that user researchers earn varies depending on their specific field and level of expertise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary in May 2022 for market research analysts was $68,230. The lowest 10% of these analysts earned less than $38,280, and the highest 10% earned more than $131,850.

What Is the Job Outlook?


The BLS states that employment of market research analysts is projected to grow by 13% from 2022 to 2032, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Around 94,600 openings for market research analysts are projected each year on average over the decade. Steady growth in digital technologies like e-commerce and increased demand for UX research are contributing to this healthy job outlook.


What Skills Does a User Researcher Need?

User researchers practice a wide variety of skills that help them engage with and understand their target audience. These skills may include:

  • Foundational knowledge of UX design
  • Empathy toward users
  • Problem-solving
  • Understanding of human-computer interaction
  • Critical thinking
  • Research skills
  • Communication skills
  • Willingness to innovate
  • Understanding of the scientific method

Our Online University Degree Programs Start on the First of Every Month, All Year Long

No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!

Next Start Date

Interested in Becoming a User Researcher?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.