The UX — or “user experience” — field is booming. In today's digital landscape, if a company doesn't have an app or a website, they're almost invisible. And if their website or app is wonky or out of date, it might even push customers away.
That's why there's a high demand for UX Designers. These specialists connect with users to better understand their tastes and preferences; and their insights help inform and guide a product's design and development. It's an exciting role that requires a mix of technical and creative skills — and like most careers in tech, it pays pretty well.
Ahead, we'll take a look at the average UX Designer's salary and see how various factors play a role in their compensation. Then, we'll explore some of the other careers in UX and show you how to break into the field.
What does a UX Designer do?
UX Designers figure out the best way for users to interact with a product. Codecademy Product Designer Taylor Green compares the role to that of an architect's. "A UX person is like an architect who comes up with a plan and concept for a structure, then works with builders to bring it to life," she said.
This involves a wide range of tasks, and their responsibilities vary depending on the company they work for but generally include:
- Conducting user research
- Building prototypes
- Overseeing user testing
- Creating wireframes
UX Designer salary
UX Designers are key to building a successful product, so their skills are highly valued. On average, UX Designers in the U.S. earn between $76,341 and $98,933, according to Payscale and Indeed. Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter provide higher estimates at $117,039 and $102,454, respectively.
But while these averages serve as a good benchmark, a UX Designer's salary will also depend on their location, experience, and the company they work for.
Salary expectations vary between different cities to align with the area's cost of living. But this isn't always straightforward to parse — $100,000 in Georgia might go further than $120,000 in New York, for example.
In the link above, Indeed provides a breakdown of the highest-paying cities for UX Designers. They include:
- San Francisco, CA: $146,312
- Mountain View, CA: $144,598
- San Diego, CA: $135,928
- Atlanta, GA: $120,696
- Redmond, WA: $120,469
- Boston, MA: $108,430
- Austin, TX: $107,295
- Dallas, TX: $102,417
- Chicago, IL: $88,093
As with most careers, UX Designers can expect to earn more the further they are into their careers. Indeed reports that entry-level UX Designers with up to two years of experience earn an average of $84,845. Mid-level UX Designers with between three and five years of experience average $118,765, and those with 10 years of experience or more average $131,636.
Comparing UX Designer salaries by seniority shows a similar progression, with Senior UX Designers earning $155,583 and Lead UX Designers averaging $145,114, according to Glassdoor.
Top-paying companies for UX Designers
At the end of the day, a UX Designer's salary will be determined by the company they work for and their individual offer. Indeed reports that the companies that offer UX Designers the highest salaries include:
- CLS Bank International: $152,333
- AT&T: $146,000
- Stefanini IT Solution: $143,107
- LinkedIn: $141,617
- IDC Technologies: $138,940
- VMware: $138,893
- ADP: $138,414
- Cisco Systems: $137,143
- Vanguard: $136,544
- Microsoft: $134,689
- IBM: $131,089
- Farm Credit Services of America: $128,017
Other roles in UX
As we mentioned, UX design includes a variety of sub-dimensions like user research, prototyping, and testing. UX Designer is a generalist title for professionals who may perform any (or all) of the associated responsibilities, but other roles in UX demand high salaries as well. For example:
- User interface (UI) Designers help design a product's appearance, including color schemes, buttons, and layout. According to Indeed, UI Designers earn $83,499.
- UX Researchers conduct surveys and interviews with users to identify their goals, problems, and motivations. Their insights help inform the rest of the UX design team, and they average $88,788.
- UX Writers are responsible for the product's text, like error messages, instructions, and documentation. ZipRecruiter estimates their average salary at $120,645.
- UX Strategists integrate user and business needs into the company strategy and product roadmap. On average, they earn $129,015.
How to become a UX Designer
UX Design is a great career for creative and analytical minds alike — combining the best of both worlds as you help build quality products that make people's lives easier. And as the figures above show, it can be quite lucrative.
Interested in a career in UX design? We'll help guide you along your way. First check out these blog posts:
- Everything You Need To Know To Kickstart A Career In UI/UX
- How To Break Into UX Design — According To 5 People Who Did It
- Cool Job: I'm A UX Researcher At Figma — & A YouTube Creator
- How I Made the Switch From Marketing to UX — & What I Learned Along the Way
Then, try our free Intro to UI and UX Design course. You'll learn more about the different roles in UX, the underlying principles and popular methodologies used by industry professionals, and create wireframes and interactive prototypes. We'll also show you how to use Figma — the most popular design tool used by UX professionals.
Once you've got the fundamentals down, check out our free course Learn User Research: Generative to start conducting user interviews, analyzing qualitative and quantitative data, and creating user personas. Then, we'll show you how to use that information to define a problem statement and develop effective solutions in our free course Learn Design Thinking: Ideation.
Ready to get started? Sign up now!