Am I a Good Fit for a Career in UI Design?

CareerFoundry Blog contributor Maria de la Riva

So, you’re considering a career in UI design. Great! UI design is an extremely rewarding career path, offering longevity, flexibility, and creativity. But how do you know if UI design right for you?

In this article, I’ll dive deep into what a career in UI design really looks like. We’ll find out if you’re the sort of person who’ll excel as a UI designer, and lift the lid on what you can expect from a career in UI design in the long run.

Wondering if UI design is the right career choice for you? Keep reading to find out!

  1. What does a UI designer do?
  2. Are you a good fit for a career as a UI designer?
  3. Do you have the right background to become a UI designer?
  4. Is UI design a good career move?
  5. Next steps

1. What does a UI designer do?

UI designers are responsible for all the visual and interactive aspects of a digital product, such as an app or website. They design all the interactive and navigational elements that facilitate user interaction on a screen and create beautiful, impactful interfaces that are aesthetically pleasing for the user. UI designers will also create style guides and UI design pattern libraries that establish consistency across a digital product.

Some of UI designers day-to-day tasks might include:

  • Designing individual screens, deciding which elements should go where
  • Establishing visual patterns and hierarchies
  • Designing UI elements such as buttons, icons, sliders, and scrollbars
  • Choosing color palettes and typeface
  • Creating animations
  • Creating interactive digital prototypes

UI design is a multidisciplinary field, and there’s also a psychological element to a UI designer’s role. UI designers will design each screen with the user in mind, carefully using UI elements, typography, color, and hierarchy to construct an accessible, intuitive, user-friendly experience. Read more in our blog post: What does a UI designer actually do?

What do UI designers do?

2. Are you a good fit for a career as a UI designer?

If you’re in the midst of deciding if you want to pursue UI, ask yourself:

  • Do you enjoy making sure a product looks its best? As a UI designer, you’ll routinely work with typography, colors, and design elements to make sure a product’s aesthetics are top notch.
  • Are you a team player? Often, UI designers are part of a larger team and being able to work with others is key.
  • Do you care about producing products that serve others well? UI design is all about the users and making sure you’ve designed an interface that helps them accomplish their goals.
  • Do you enjoy expanding your knowledge base? UI changes rapidly. Staying up to date with design trends, new tech, and the industry will be part of your job just as much as creating beautiful color palettes!

Responded yes to the points above? Jump on the UI train! If you’d like to try your hand at design, try out some UI design challenges and see how you fare.

UI design career fit

3. Do you have the right background to become a UI designer? 

It’s a common misconception to think that a degree in a related field is a prerequisite for a career in UI design. While certain backgrounds—like graphic design—can indeed be useful, you don’t need any specific qualifications to pursue a career in UI design.

If you’re a beginner, the best way to learn UI design is through a structured course. Most comprehensive UI design programs are intended to take tech hopefuls from complete beginner to job-ready UI designer. All you really need to get started is a keen interest and a laptop!

More often than not, employers will be more interested in your portfolio than your formal qualifications. When hiring a UI designer, employers will want to see that you’ve mastered the core principles, including:

  • Typography and color theory
  • Wireframing and prototyping
  • Style guides
  • User research and personas
  • Teamwork and communication skills
  • Industry-standard tools, such as Sketch or Adobe XD

As long as you can demonstrate your understanding of the above, there’s nothing to stop you from applying for UI design roles.

UI design qualifications

4. Is UI design a good career move?

Before you commit to a career in UI design, it’s only natural to want to make sure your investment will pay off. Let’s take a look at what a career in UI design can offer you in the long run:

  • The opportunity to be creative. As a UI designer, you’ll create beautiful, impactful products by mastering color, hierarchy, and iconography, and staying on top of typography trends.
  • The chance to make a difference in peoples lives. UI designers have the opportunity to shape the technology all around us by ensuring products are accessible, inclusive, and solves problems.
  • Flexibility and variety. As a UI designer, you’ll have the chance to work in a range of sectors—from banking to fashion, e-commerce to healthcare. You’ll also have options to work as a remote UI designer, freelance, or in-house (and the list goes on).

So, are UI designers in demand? As of mid-2020, there are around 5,900 job listings associated with the search term “user interface designer” on indeed.com (in the US). A similar search on Glassdoor and LinkedIn brings up around 5,500 and 1,500 job ads, respectively. According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a user interface designer is $80,450 per year in the United States. With the current outlook on the future of human-computer interaction, this demand will only increase.

Are UI designers in demand

5. Next Steps

If you’re eager to start your career as a UI designer, check out our UI Design Program. We’ve put great care into designing a program that will take anyone from zero to hero, backed by an amazing community of UI professional mentors from around the globe.

Want to learn a little more about UI designers’ and others’ experiences before making the leap? Check out Eric Bieller’s post, How to Become a UI Designer, in which he shares further insights on UI design, his experience of becoming a UI designer, and why now is the right time to join the booming industry.

What You Should Do Now

  1. Get a hands-on introduction to UI with a free, 5-day short course.

  2. Take part in one of our live online UI design events with industry experts.

  3. Talk to a program advisor to discuss career change and find out if UI is right for you.

  4. Become a qualified UI designer in 5-9 months—complete with a job guarantee.