4 UX Careers Beyond Design You’ll Want to Explore

User experience (UX) is a rapidly growing field, and there are several career paths within it beyond just design. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), web development and digital design roles, including UX careers, are projected to grow by 16 percent between 2022 and 2032, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. If you're interested in pursuing a career with your UX skills, here are four disciplines within the field that you might want to explore, along with their respective salaries.

1. UX Researcher

Average US Salary: $117,834

As a UX researcher, you'll be responsible for conducting qualitative and quantitative research on the users of a product. This can involve conducting interviews, distributing surveys, or using card sorting techniques to understand what elements of design people like or find challenging.

Key Skills Required:

  • User Testing Methods: Familiarity with various user testing methods like card sorting, A/B testing, guerilla testing, and surveys, and knowing when to use them appropriately.
  • Human-Computer Interaction or Psychology: Many job descriptions for UX researchers require an academic background in human-computer interaction, psychology, or a related field.
  • Data Analysis: Knowledge of basic data analysis tools like SQL, or data visualisation tools like Tableau or Power BI, to help organise and understand the research data.

2. UX Engineer

Average US Salary: $109,322

UX engineers, also known as UX developers, code the interfaces of websites and apps using UX principles. They create buttons, layouts, menus, and small animations that contribute to a pleasant user experience, often using front-end programming languages.

Key Skills Required:

  • Front-end Programming Languages: Proficiency in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which are essential for front-end development.
  • UX Concepts: Understanding of UX principles like user-centric thinking, wireframing, prototyping, and user research.
  • Design Tools and Sensibility: Knowledge of design concepts like colour theory and typography, and familiarity with design tools like Figma or Sketch.

3. UX Writer

Average US Salary: $91,507

A UX writer creates the microcopy—the words on buttons and menus, chatbot conversations, and error messages—that help users navigate digital products. They balance the user's needs, goals, and emotions with limitations like the company's brand voice and business needs.

Key Skills Required:

  • Writing: UX writing goes beyond good grammar and spelling. UX writers must empathise with the user, write concisely, control tone, and stay true to the company's brand voice.
  • Digital Design Tools: Familiarity with tools like Figma, Sketch, Adobe Creative Cloud, or other design tools to implement their work effectively.
  • User Research: Ability to conduct user research through methods like A/B testing, data analysis, and running session recordings to determine how copy affects users.

4. Information Architect

Average US Salary: $104,571

Information architects organise information on websites and applications to make them easily navigable for users. They plan the layout of a website, decide the optimal placement of elements like purchase buttons, and develop sitemaps to strategize how to group content together effectively.

Key Skills Required:

  • Front-end Development: Some familiarity with various elements of front-end development, like static site generators and programming languages.
  • User Testing: Ability to use user testing methods like A/B testing, card sorting, or session recordings to determine the most usable formats for users.
  • Project Management: Since information architects often work closely with UX design and engineering teams, project management skills are often required to organise teams and see projects through to completion.

Salary Comparison

Here's a table comparing the average US salaries for the four UX careers mentioned:

UX Career

Average US Salary

UX Researcher


UX Engineer


Information Architect


UX Writer


Take the Next Step in Your UX Career

Regardless of whether you're a good writer, know how to code, or have a passion for understanding human behaviour, there are various UX career paths that might align with your skills and interests. To kickstart your journey into a UX career, consider learning the basics of user research, the design process, and the terminology.

One option is to enrol in a program like the Google UX Design Professional Certificate, where you can learn UX essentials, create a professional portfolio, and equip yourself with the necessary UX skills to be job-ready in less than six months. Additionally, you'll gain access to over 150 hiring organisations through the Google Employer Consortium.


What kind of educational background is typically required for a UX researcher role?

Many UX researcher job descriptions require an academic background in human-computer interaction, psychology, or a related field. However, experience in user research methods and data analysis can sometimes compensate for a lack of a specific academic degree.

Is coding experience necessary for a UX engineer role?

Yes, coding experience in front-end programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is generally a prerequisite for UX engineer roles. These skills are essential for creating the user interfaces and interactions for websites and applications.

How important is user research for a UX writer?

User research is crucial for UX writers. They need to understand how users interact with the microcopy they create, and user testing methods like A/B testing, data analysis, and session recordings can provide valuable insights to improve the user experience through effective written communication.

What is the primary responsibility of an information architect?

The primary responsibility of an information architect is to organise and structure information on websites and applications in a way that makes it easily navigable and accessible for users. This often involves creating sitemaps, determining content hierarchies, and planning layouts.

Can a UX career transition into other roles within the tech industry?

Yes, the skills acquired in UX careers, such as user research, data analysis, problem-solving, and understanding user behaviour, are highly transferable to other roles within the tech industry. UX professionals can transition into roles like product management, project management, or even software development with the right training and experience.

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