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UX Designer Career

Reviewed by Dr. Mike Peterson, Associate Dean and Director BSCS and BSITSW/C


What Is a UX Designer?


Behind each of your favorite websites and apps is a UX designer who has worked painstakingly to ensure you’re getting what you’re looking for at each interaction along your customer journey.

A UX designer, or user experience designer, is someone who optimizes the interaction between users and products through user-friendly design. Most often, UX designers work on websites and apps. The practice of UX design encompasses many different aspects, including information architecture, visual design, usability, interaction design, and sometimes user interface design. 

The main goal of a UX designer is to make the user experience seamless and satisfactory, particularly in digital formats. With most business today being carried out online, UX designers have become critical players in every organization.

UX designers generally work as part of a wider production team. They often fill the gap between the user and the product. They work closely with development teams, copywriters, other designers, and key company stakeholders to design and create a positive user experience. 


What Does a UX Designer Do?

A UX designer has a full plate of daily activities that may include:

  • Research. It’s hard to design effective solutions without understanding what users want. In addition to running A/B tests and user research surveys, a look at competitors’ approaches to user experience can be informative.
  • Data interpretation. Gathering the data and research is one thing but knowing how to use it is even more critical. UX designers must be skilled at understanding what data means in order to craft better user experiences. 
  • Creating personas. Before narrowing in on the user experience, it can be helpful to create a representation of potential customers. This is where customer personas come in. These personas help designers and others visualize each prospective user’s motivations and desires
  • Determining information architecture. The way a website or app is laid out can be the key to its success. Information architecture involves mapping out user journeys and determining which steps a user must take before becoming a customer. With information architecture in place, designers can focus on fine tuning the more nuanced interactions along the user journey.
  • Prototyping and wireframing. UX designers understand that their first solution isn’t always the best one. They must be skilled at turning out several prototypes and wireframes to present to other creatives and key stakeholders for feedback. Design is often a collaborative process where multiple competing priorities must be considered.
  • Usability testing. A design doesn’t work if it can’t be used. Testing the effectiveness of designs is important. Some organizations have testing specialists who work closely with UX designers to gain insights on any snags in the user journey.

Where Does a UX Designer Work?

UX designers are needed in a variety of settings ranging from tech companies to ecommerce brands to agencies. Many UX designers can work either remotely or in-office. Some freelance, completing projects for clients across multiple states and industries. One thing’s certain—a career in UX design offers a lot of work flexibility and plenty of opportunity to make a big impact.


How Do I Become a UX Designer?

To become a UX designer, you’ll need education and experience. Here’s how to prepare:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in design, marketing, or software engineering.
  • Learn UX design fundamentals and key design tools.
  • Work on projects for real clients.
  • Build a portfolio.
  • Apply to entry-level UX designer positions.

Best Degrees for a UX Designer


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

Marketing – B.S. Business Administration

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:...

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:

  • Time: 60% of graduates finish within 19 months.
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 41 total courses in this program.

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

  • Communication
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Management
  • Project Management
  • Product Management

Marketing is a creative and exciting field—and one where an undergraduate degree will open better opportunities.


Computer Science – B.S.

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your task:...

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your task:

Lay the groundwork for the computing breakthroughs that will enable tomorrow's technologies. Utilize your previous college courses or IT experience to help you complete your degree faster.

  • Time: 60% of graduates in similar programs finish within 25 months.
  • Tuition: $3,985 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 38 total courses in this program.

You'll have the opportunity to earn these certifications:

  • Linux Essentials
  • Axelos ITIL Foundation

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

  • Architecture and systems
  • Data structures
  • AI
  • Computer theory
  • Version Control
  • Linux

Front End Web Development Certificate – School of Technology

The Front End Web Development Certificate equips learners with the skills...

The Front End Web Development Certificate equips learners with the skills necessary to create responsive, visually appealing, and functional websites.

  • Time: 6 months from start to finish.
  • Cost: $3,950 for the certificate.
  • Courses: 6 courses total in this program.

This certificate is designed to help aspiring web developers begin their journey, gain valuable experience, and add a critical credential to their résumé. You are also guaranteed admission into a WGU School of Technology degree program. This certificate will prepare you for the next step in your career.

This certificate can help build fundamental skills in front-end development, and also help those with no technical background begin to build vocational identity for a long-term career in IT. Learners will gain critical skills including version control, scripting, web development, JavaScript programming, and UI design. 


Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management,...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program

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

  • Leadership strategies
  • Talent management
  • Communication
  • Data collection and interpretation
  • Financial statements

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.


Leadership Certificate – School of Business

Enhance your résumé and take a step in your educational journey with the...

Enhance your résumé and take a step in your educational journey with the help of a leadership certificate from the School of Business.

  • Time: 4 months from start to finish.
  • Cost: $2,250 for the certificate.
  • Courses: 3 courses total in this program.

This program is for emerging leaders, however this program does not require a bachelor’s degree, and provides transferable credit towards a WGU degree program.

Whether you aspire to work for a Fortune 500 organization, a government agency, a non-profit organization, or a fast-paced start-up, this certificate can give you the keys to success in a variety of industries, including:

  • Finance and Banking
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • IT
  • Consulting
  • Nonprofit
  • Government

How Much Does a UX Designer Make?


As of August 2022, UX designers earn an average annual salary of more than $100,000, according to ZipRecruiter. Pay can vary depending on location and experience level. In general, UX designers are highly sought-after and well compensated due to the important role they play in attracting and converting users.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


The demand for designers is set to grow significantly over the next decade, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 25,500 new jobs in the industry through 2030. As organizations compete for customers, those who can provide the best user experience often win. UX designers are in higher demand than ever before. 


What Skills Does a UX Designer Need?

UX designers need not only technical expertise, but also soft skills to be successful. The skills required include:

  • Adaptability: Designers are subject to input and revision requests from all sides. They must be able to adapt and make changes to satisfy the needs of not only users but also internal stakeholders.
  • Communication: The ability to keep all parties aware of the status of a project is a key characteristic of a solid UX designer. UX designers must also know how to get to the root of a problem to ensure they can provide a design solution that meets needs.
  • Problem-solving: UX designers solve complex problems. They have the difficult task of simplifying user journeys and providing a good experience from start to finish through simple, powerful design.
  • Design thinking: The elements of design thinking include the ability to empathize with colleagues and users, define user needs, challenge assumptions, prototype, and test.
  • A user-centric mindset: Good UX designers always create with the user in mind. The user experience is their top priority, and it drives every decision they make.
  • Attention to detail: The smallest changes can often make the biggest difference. Where should a button be placed? How much text should be in each section? These are the small details UX designers should be thinking about.
  • Creative and analytical approach: It’s important to be creative, but users don’t care how creative your site or app is if it doesn’t make sense. A UX designer must be both creative and analytical as they make decisions.
  • Understanding of interaction design principles: Interaction design principles include UX, functionality, cognition, engagement, user control, perceivability, and learnability. A skilled UX designer understands the nuances of these principles.
  • Knowledge of industry tools: Sketch, InVision, Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Zeplin, Figma, and OmniGraffle—these tools are essential for UX designers. Also, new design tools are frequently released, so it’s important for UX designers to never stop learning. 
  • Business know-how: A good UX designer thinks strategically about aspects of the business that pertain to the end user. Both organizational and user priorities are considered in each design. Knowing how to communicate with executives is critical. Understanding how the user experience factors into the overall success of a business is paramount.

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Interested in Becoming a UX Designer?

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