By 2028, it’s expected that 73% of all teams will have remote workers. The world of work is changing rapidly, and for many, this means more flexibility and a better work-life balance. If you’re an aspiring user interface (UI) designer, you might be wondering: Is UI a job you can do remotely?
In this post, we’ll consider whether or not it’s possible (and feasible) to work as a remote user interface designer. We’ll also look at what the remote job market is like for UI designers, and explore how much you could earn. If you want to skip ahead to a particular section, just use the clickable menu below.
- Is it possible to work as a remote UI designer?
- What is the remote job market like for UI designers?
- How much do remote UI designers earn?
- Can you work remotely straight from a UI program or bootcamp?
- Is it possible to find remote work with no prior UI design experience?
- Will it be easier to get a remote job now because of COVID-19?
- Key takeaways and further reading
1. Can UI designers work remotely?
First things first: What do UI designers actually do, and is it something that can be done remotely?
What does a UI designer do?
UI designers work exclusively with digital interfaces, such as apps, video games, and websites. They design all the screens, touchpoints, and elements a user encounters when navigating their way around a digital product—think tapping buttons and icons, swiping through photo galleries, or scrolling through your Instagram feed.
Of course, visual and interactive design is just one component of the UI designer’s role. Everything you create as a UI designer has an impact on the overall user experience, so it’s important to understand your audience and how they work. At the same time, UI design is a highly collaborative role, requiring you to work closely with UX designers, key business stakeholders (or clients), and developers. You’ll also work with users to test your designs before they go into production. You can learn more about the role of the UI designer in this post.
Can it be done remotely?
Given the highly collaborative nature of UI design, is it realistic to think that you can do the job entirely remotely?
The answer is yes—it is absolutely possible to work as a remote UI designer. With the right tools and effective communication, you can adapt your design process to a remote setup and foster productive and positive relationships with your colleagues—even if you’re never in the same room. And, as the remote job market grows, the prospect of securing a remote UI design job is more feasible now than ever. Which leads us to the next section…
2. What is the remote job market like for UI designers?
The world of work has changed dramatically in recent months, and for many, the remote lifestyle has become a necessity. In the wake of COVID-19, we’ll see a major long-term shift in how companies operate. Employers will grow increasingly open to the idea of a remote workforce, and equally, employees will seek out more flexible working opportunities. Overall, we’ll see the remote job market grow exponentially—a trend that will be directly reflected in the UI design job market.
Are there currently lots of remote jobs for UI designers?
At present, data relating to the state of the remote UI job market is somewhat lacking. However, a good way to gauge how many remote jobs there are in your timezone is simply to browse for such jobs online.
To give you a brief idea, we searched for remote UI design jobs in the United States and found around 900 vacancies on indeed and LinkedIn combined. Now, this figure may seem small compared to the number of in-house vacancies, but don’t let that discourage you. You’ll find that many companies are open to hiring remote designers, even if they haven’t advertised the position as such. And, in light of the ongoing global pandemic, the number of remote vacancies is only set to increase—and rapidly. We’ll also see an increase in hybrid roles, with employers encouraging people to work away from the office for at least some of the week, or even to come in just for meetings.
Another option you might consider is the freelance route. Although freelancers may not enjoy the same degree of job security, this is a great way to ensure flexibility and benefit from a variety of clients and projects. In fact, many UI designers will build up their freelance career before securing a full-time remote position.
3. How much do remote UI designers earn?
Another key aspect to consider is salary, and you’re probably wondering whether remote UI designers earn as much as their in-house counterparts. At the time of writing, the average yearly salary for a junior user interface designer in the United States is $59,662 USD per year, while mid-level UI designers earn $84,922 USD on average. Senior UI designers can earn as much as $124,516 USD per year (indeed.com).
So how do remote UI designer salaries compare?
How much you earn as a remote UI designer depends on several factors, such as where your company is based, whether you’re employed on a full-time basis or working as a freelancer, and on your level of experience. By no means should you expect to earn less just because you’re working remote—your salary should be based on both the industry average for your location and what you bring to the table.
According to indeed.com, the average salary for “remote UX / UI designers” ranges from approximately $84,922 USD per year to $125,368 for senior designers. It’s important to note that, as an entry-level designer, it is unlikely that you will start on such a salary; however, these figures give a good indication of what’s achievable after some years in the industry.
4. Can you work remotely straight from a UI program or bootcamp?
An increasingly popular route into the UI industry is through a UI design bootcamp or a certification program. Such courses are especially useful for those looking to make a career change without any previous design experience. If you plan on building a remote career after your chosen course, you’ll be pleased to know that employers are more than happy to hire newly qualified designers. Here at CareerFoundry, 96% of our graduates find employment within six months of completing the program, and a portion of these graduates do go straight into remote jobs. For most employers, a certification from a reputable institution, together with a professional UI design portfolio, is enough to consider you for UI design roles—be it remote or in-house. With that in mind, it’s important to choose a program that focuses on teaching the practical design skills that employers are looking for.
5. Is it possible to find remote work with no prior UI design experience?
When approaching your remote job search, it’s important to be realistic. As with any industry, it’s easier to find a UI design job once you’ve got some experience—and that applies to both in-house and remote positions. You may find that there are fewer remote opportunities for junior and entry-level UI designers, but that’s not to say that the opportunities aren’t out there at all. In addition to browsing job sites, an effective approach is to contact companies directly; even if they’re not advertising remote entry-level jobs, this is something they may be willing to explore once they’ve spoken to you and seen your portfolio. And, if you are unable to find a full-time remote position straight away, you might consider taking on freelance gigs through sites like Fiverr. So, to answer the question, it is absolutely possible to find remote work with no prior experience as a UI designer—just be prepared to be proactive.
6. Will it be easier to get a remote job now because of COVID-19?
There’s no denying that COVID-19 has transformed the world of work, and it’s likely that the effects will be long-term. Having been forced to switch to a remote setup, many companies have seen that it is possible to operate effectively with a remote workforce. As a result, we’ll see a continued openness to hiring remote workers—and, depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, this may even continue to be a necessity. The general consensus is that remote work is here to stay, meaning that the possibility of finding a remote job is now higher than ever.
7. Key takeaways and further reading
The world of work is changing, and the remote job market continues to grow—which is good news if you’re looking to work as a remote UI designer. When it comes to building your remote career, it’s important to be proactive in your job search, to ensure that your portfolio is up to scratch, and to remain somewhat flexible in your approach. Fortunately, many of the same rules apply in terms of preparing for interviews and negotiating salary, so you’re probably more prepared for the remote job search than you think. You can learn more about becoming a UI designer in the following guides: