Every company wants your attention. They want you to buy their product, hear their campaign, or simply be aware of their corporate messaging.
User experience (UX) designers help make this a reality, and so they’re a highly sought after commodity.
“UX is hot; it’s been hot for a while,” says Joshua Randall, director of education at the User Experience Professional Association (UXPA). As a senior UX designer himself at The Home Depot, he has seen the field grow significantly over the past few years.
Web developers and digital designers, which emcompasses the work of UX designers, is expected to grow by 16% over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And the salaries for those in the field are nothing to complain about. According to Dice’s Tech Trends Salary report, the average salary of a UX/UI designer was $95,417 in 2023. Glassdoor agrees, with its average for UX designers hovering around the same.
But these numbers are the median, meaning a significant number of those in the UX field are earning six-figure salaries—sometimes even as entry-level individuals.
Maca Baigorria is the founder and CEO of Avocademy—a bootcamp focused directly on UX/UI design. She says while on average she sees graduates enter into the workforce with salaries in the $85,000–$90,000 range, it is possible strong candidates can start with salaries well into six-figures. The highest she’s seen is $180,000—and the individual had previously not held a design job.
“It’s really hard to get a job without experience. And it’s hard to get experience without a job, right?” Baigorria tells Fortune. “So, I believe not only do you need to learn this stuff, but you need to actually go out there and do it.”
Where can you land a job in UX/UI?
Companies of all sizes and industries have UX design teams—and many are looking to expand. Baigorria says she sees graduates landing entry-level at all sorts of Fortune 500 firms, specifically noting JP Morgan Chase, Amazon, and Dell.
Despite the fact that more than 260,000 tech employees were laid off in 2023 alone, the tech unemployment rate remains steadily low—at 2.3%, according to CompTIA.
And while UX design is a tech-heavy area of expertise, there are significant opportunities in areas like healthcare and education, Baigorria notes—with CVS, United Healthcare, and Johnson & Johnson being some examples.
“Meta and Spotify and Amazon are not the only companies hiring UX designers, right? The companies that we’re seeing these mass layoffs happening at are tech companies—are not the only companies that hire designers; you have an entire healthcare industry that’s been booming since COVID,” she says.
How can you land a high-paying UX/UI job?
For those searching to get started in the world of UX or are looking to get a leg up in the next part of their career, with a high salary,
Baigorria’s advice for someone seeking to get started in the world of UX—and possibly land a high-paying job—is to follow these simple steps:
- Learn the skills
- Gain real-world experience
- Job search—with mental strength and patience
When looking at salaries in particular, it is important to recognize that only select states in the U.S. have laws requiring the disclosure of salary ranges in job postings. Among them include California, New York, and Washington—but keep in mind the cost of living in these locations may be greater than others.
To give you a brief glimpse of the salary opportunities for more experienced UX designers, Fortune has compiled some of the ranges at several Fortune 500 companies. Note that this list is based on various job postings open at the time of publication and may not exactly reflect current offerings. Regardless, it just shows that with a few years’ experience, senior and lead UX designers can make hefty paychecks.
|Experience in UX
|Senior UX Design, Manager
|Staff, UX Designer
|UX Design Lead, VP
|Sr. UX Designer
Despite these numbers, it is also important to stay grounded in your job search. Even though there are postings with lucrative salaries, it is not easy to land a position in the competitive space.
Those who emphasize soft skills and communication—as well as maintain a positive outlook on the job search—are among those who best succeed, Baigorria says since they translate into confidence.
Additionally, with new tech like AI upending the half-life of skills, constantly asking the right questions and learning are things to strive for.
“I think as a designer, you should always constantly be looking right to figure out how to become a better designer, and how to keep asking the right questions and learning new software and skills,” she says.
Above all, Baigorria says because UX design is constantly changing, what may be the best practice at one company or in one year—may not be the same the next.“I think the great thing about UX design is that it’s an ever-evolving field,” Baigorria tells Fortune. “So, I think I wish I would have known that no one really has the right answer, right? We’re all working together to find the right answer.”