California is widely considered a hotbed for innovative UX design, with spots like San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and of course, Silicon Valley, leading the industry forward.
Some of the world’s most well-known UX design companies are based in the area, including IDEO, Frog Design, and Adaptive Path. It’s also proving a popular area for startups and smaller UX companies, providing an ecosystem for experimentation in the field.
In short, California’s concentration of technology companies and its reputation as a hub for innovative design have made it a leading center for UX design!
But what can you expect from the UX designer salary in California?
In this piece, we’ll take a detailed look at the UX designer salary in California and see how it differs according to experience, major cities, and companies.
We’ll then give the lowdown on how you can grab one of these UX design California salaries for yourself!
- What is the UX designer salary in California?
- UX designer salary in California by experience
- UX designer salary in California by city
- UX designer salary in California by company
- How to become a UX designer in California
- Key takeaways
1. What is the UX designer salary in California?
UX designer salary California: $103,000
The salary of a UX designer in the state of California will vary depending on different factors, such as the designer’s experience, location, and the size and type of company they work for.
Before diving into these variables, let’s take a look at the average salary for UX designers in the area.
According to data from Glassdoor, the average base salary for a UX designer in the state is around $103,000 per year. This average comprises $84,000 base pay and $19,000 in bonuses and other additional payments.
However, this can range from around $65,000 to over $165,000, depending on the factors mentioned above.
This places the the average entry level UX designer salary in California at around $65,000.
UX designers in the state may also receive benefits as part of their compensation packages, such as health insurance, retirement plans, stock options, and performance-based bonuses.
2. UX designer salary in California by experience
UX designer salaries in California vary dramatically according to the experience level of the designer. The more experienced, the higher the salary.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of UX designer salaries in the state by experience level, based on data from Glassdoor, as of March 2023:
- Entry level UX designer salary, California (0–1 years of experience):
- Average salary: $63,000
- Most likely salary range: $52,000–$77,000 per year
- Total possible salary range: $44,000–$91,000 per year
- Junior UX designer salary, California (1–3 years of experience):
- Average salary: $85,000
- Most likely salary range: $68,000–$107,000 per year
- Total possible salary range: $55,000–$132,000 per year
- Mid-level UX designer salary, California (4–6 years of experience):
- Average salary: $114,000
- Most likely salary range: $92,000–$144,000 per year
- Total possible salary range: $75,000–$176,000 per year
- Senior UX designer salary, California (7–9 years of experience):
- Average salary: $163,000
- Most likely salary range: $130,000–$206,000 per year
- Total possible salary range: $106,000–$254,000 per year
- UX design manager or director salary, California (10+ years of experience):
- Average salary: $200,000
- Most likely salary range: $157,000–$258,000 per year
- Total possible salary range: $126,000–$322,000 per year
Again, keep in mind that these figures are averages and can vary depending on various factors such as location, company size, industry, and skills. Additionally, these figures do not include bonuses or other benefits that UX designers may receive.
3. UX designer salary in California by city
The average salary for a UX designer can vary from city to city in the state of California. The cost of living, demand for UX designers, and the size and competitiveness of the local job market can all play a role in determining salaries.
Here is a breakdown of UX designer salaries in some of the state’s major cities, according to Glassdoor.
- San Francisco
- Average UX designer salary: $124,000 per year
- Likely salary range: $98,000–$159,000 per year
- Top paying companies:
- Los Angeles
- Average UX designer salary: $112,000 per year
- Likely salary range: $89,000–$143,000 per year
- Top paying companies:
- San Jose
- Average UX designer salary: $101,000 per year
- Likely salary range: $78,000–$132,000 per year
- Top paying companies:
- San Diego
- Average UX designer salary: $95,000 per year
- Likely salary range: $74,000–$122,000 per year
- Top paying companies:
Actual salaries will vary depending on individual circumstances.
4. UX designer salary in California by company
The UX designer salary in California varies significantly from company to company.
As a general rule, small businesses and startups will offer more modest salaries, whereas larger, more established corporations are able to pay the big bucks. This is because big firms typically have more resources to allocate toward hiring top talent.
Similarly, industries such as technology and finance may offer higher salaries for UX designers than other sectors.
Here is a breakdown of UX designer salaries for the top 10 paying companies in the region, according to recent data from Glassdoor.
- Average UX designer salary: $191,720
- 831 open jobs
- Average UX designer salary: $187,592
- 4K open jobs
- Average UX designer salary: $183,256
- 469 open jobs
- Average UX designer salary: $182,780
- 852 open jobs
- Cisco Systems
- Average UX designer salary: $175,686
- 637 open jobs
- Average UX designer salary: $173,442
- 139 open jobs
- Average UX designer salary: $172,668
- 6K open jobs
- Average UX designer salary: $168,752
- 9K open jobs
- Average UX designer salary: $167,636
- 111 open jobs
- Electronic Arts
- Average UX designer salary: $165,937
- 308 open jobs
These figures are for salaries only and do not include stock options, or other forms of compensation that may be offered by these companies.
5. How to become a UX designer in California
California is one of the most competitive markets for UX designers out there. To mix it with the best and brightest in the field, you can follow these general steps:
- Learn the basics: Start by learning the fundamental principles of user experience design, such as user research, user interface design, usability testing, and information architecture. You can take online courses, read books, and attend workshops or conferences to gain knowledge in these areas.
- Develop your skills: Once you have a foundational understanding of UX design, focus on developing your skills in specific areas such as user research, wireframing, prototyping, and visual design. You can practice by working on projects, creating a portfolio, and getting feedback from other designers or mentors.
- Gain experience: Look for opportunities to gain practical experience in UX design, such as internships, freelancing, or working on personal projects. You can also network with other designers and attend design events or meetups to learn from professionals in the industry.
- Build your portfolio: Your portfolio is an essential part of your job application as a UX designer. Showcase your best work and highlight your design process, problem-solving skills, and results achieved in your projects.
- Apply for jobs: Look for job postings for UX designer roles in California on job search websites, company websites, and professional social networks such as LinkedIn. Tailor your application to the specific job requirements and submit your portfolio, resume, and cover letter.
- Keep learning: UX design is an ever-evolving field, and it’s essential to keep up with the latest trends, tools, and techniques. Continuously learn and improve your skills to stay relevant in the industry.
- Move to California!
Remember, becoming a UX designer takes time, effort, and dedication. Keep practicing and learning, and eventually, you’ll be able to build a successful career in UX design in the area.
6. Key takeaways
California is home to the best UX designers out there and represents the cutting edge in the industry. For this reason, you’ll find the UX designer salaries on offer to be highly competitive.
Key factors influence these salaries: they vary from city to city, company to company, and experience is also a key factor when considering UX designer salaries in the region.
If you’re a UX designer brimming with ambition, then California may be the place for you. In addition to drive and determination, simple principles—such as learning the basics, developing your skills, gaining experience, and building your portfolio—will set you on the path to achieving that dream.
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