So… You Want to be a UX Designer.

This post was written by Callie Malvik. Callie Malvik is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Rasmussen College. She is passionate about technology and design, composing helpful and compelling articles to educate and motivate others. She is also responsible for blogging about programs ranging from a web design degree to a graphic design degree. When you’re out and about with your friends and looking for a place to eat, chances are you’re not scrambling to find a phone book with local listings. In this day and age, it’s more likely that you pull out your smartphone and fire up your favorite application to assist you in your search. Once you pinpoint a restaurant that peaks your interest, you simply enter some information and instantly reserve a table for you and your group. With one more tap of the finger, you pull up a map that provides you with directions from your exact location. Before you know it, you’re enjoying a delicious meal with your friends, devouring the specialty dish you read about in the restaurant reviews. How simple was that? Despite what most people think, there’s no magic involved in that process. In fact, there’s a team of designers working tirelessly behind-the-scenes to make this great experience possible. The truth is that great user experience (UX) is seamless. It helps a user solve a problem in an efficient manner. In fact, this kind of experience is often overlooked simply because it’s so effortless for the consumer. Usually, the only time UX is noticed at all is when it has failed in some way. Why is UX design so important? UX design is a relatively new term, which was coined by Dr. Donald Norman, an academic in the fields of cognitive science and usability engineering. He was the first to stress the importance of user-centered design, insisting that all design decisions be centered on the wants and needs of users. When a consumer experiences phenomenal customer service, chances are he or she is going to tell people about it, maybe even share it on their Facebook page. This word-of-mouth endorsement goes further than any traditional advertising. It generates customer loyalty, which is one of the most important drivers of growth and profitability. Exceptional customer experience is just as significant when there is no face-to-face interaction. Flawless UX design is every bit as important as great customer service and can generate just as big of an increase in profits. Research has shown that every one dollar invested in UX returns up to one hundred dollars in earnings for the organization. In fact, one e-commerce company cashed in on a $300 million annual revenue boost by adding a single button to simplify the purchasing process for its customers. How would you like to have been the guy or gal to suggest that simple change? What skills do you need to be a UX designer? If you’re interested in being one of the hidden faces that works in the shadows to ensure a great experience for users, you’ve come to the right place. An analysis of more than 7,500 UX designer job postings unveiled the exact skills that hiring managers are currently seeking in their future designers. The chart below illustrates the top 15 technical skills listed in UX designer job postings. Heeding this list can help you hone in on the most in-demand skills to make you more marketable to potential employers.

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Just because you know the hard skills needed to succeed in the world of UX design, you’re not quite ready to make the leap. These skills should be complimented with soft skills as well. Problem solving is a skill that is extremely valuable in this field. At the end of the day, the main responsibility of a UX designer is to create a simple, aesthetically pleasing solution to an everyday problem. The ability to creatively work through a problem is vital. Another essential skill to master is the art of communication and collaboration. If you’re looking for a career where you can be secluded and work independently, this is not for you. A UX designer must be in constant contact with other team members in order to fully comprehend each facet of the problem and devise a successful solution. Above all else, it’s important for a UX designer to be innovative. It’s no longer good enough to have a mediocre product or service that simply gets the job done. Today’s competitive environment is constantly insisting on bigger, faster and more intuitive solutions. Designers need to think outside of the box in order to gain an edge in the marketplace. The possibilities are endless Unlike a doctor, teacher or plumber, there is a wide variety of fields in which a UX designer can offer his or her talents. Some of the top industries in need of these professionals are administrative services, publishing industries, retailers, educational services and even health care services. By developing the skills needed to succeed as a UX designer, you are able to keep your options open and dabble in multiple industries. And remember, any company hoping to drive profits should be focusing on improving its UX efforts, so demand for these professionals is on the rise. If you’re serious about becoming one of the coveted UX designers, pay attention to the chart above. By knowing exactly what employers are asking of their UX designers, you can capitalize on your strengths and sharpen your weaknesses to help get your foot in the door of this thriving industry.