What Is a UX Engineer? And How to Become One

User Experience (UX) engineering is an emerging field that combines the principles of user experience design and front-end development. A UX engineer is responsible for building and designing digital products like websites and mobile applications while adhering to UX principles to ensure a seamless and intuitive user experience.

What Does a UX Engineer Do?

A UX engineer acts as a bridge between designers and developers, bridging the gap between design and implementation. Their responsibilities typically include:

Planning and Designing Web Pages and Apps

UX engineers utilise UX principles to create digital products. This involves using wireframes, prototypes, and design tools to create blueprints for websites or applications, defining their layout, navigation, and overall user experience.

Front-end Programming

Unlike traditional UX designers, UX engineers have coding skills. They use front-end programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to bring their designs to life, creating interactive features, responsive layouts, and executing design ideas.

Collaboration with UX and Engineering Teams

As professionals with both design and programming abilities, UX engineers often act as liaisons between UX designers and back-end engineers. They collaborate with designers, developers, and writers to develop products, conduct user testing, A/B testing, and other forms of research.

UX Engineer Salary and Job Outlook

The average base salary for UX engineers in the United States is around $107,974 as of December 2022. The field is expected to experience healthy growth in the future, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting a 23% increase in web developer and digital designer jobs from 2021 to 2031.

How to Become a UX Engineer

There are several routes to becoming a UX engineer, and the path you take will depend on your background and experience. Here are some steps you can follow:

Align Your Skills

To become a UX engineer, you'll need a combination of skills, including:

  • Programming Languages: HTML, CSS, JavaScript (for front-end development)
  • UX Concepts: User-centred design, finding pain points, prototyping, user research
  • Design Fundamentals: Typography, colour theory, image making, design tools (e.g., Adobe Creative Suite, Figma, Sketch)

If you lack some of these skills, consider taking courses or earning professional certificates to bridge the gap.

Build a Portfolio

A portfolio is essential for demonstrating your UX engineering skills. Create a website or use a hosting service like Wix or SquareSpace to showcase your projects. Focus on clean, intuitive design, and ensure your code is functional and error-free.

Learn the Space

Immerse yourself in the UX world by joining networking groups, browsing forums, and exploring resources like books and podcasts. This will help you become familiar with the terminology, pain points, and the way people think in the UX field.

Consider a Degree or Certification

While not mandatory, a degree or certification can provide a structured way to develop your UX engineering skills. Consider studying fields like computer science, human-computer interaction, design, or psychology.

Alternatively, you can enrol in UX certifications or bootcamps, which can offer a crash course in UX principles and practices, although they can be costly.


Becoming a UX engineer requires a unique combination of design and coding skills, as well as an understanding of user experience principles. By aligning your skills, building a portfolio, immersing yourself in the UX community, and considering formal education or certifications, you can position yourself for success in this exciting and growing field.


What's the difference between a UX engineer and a front-end developer?

A UX engineer focuses more on designing user-centered experiences and incorporates UX principles, while a front-end developer primarily codes the technical aspects of the front-end.

Is a degree required to become a UX engineer?

No, a degree is not strictly necessary. Many UX engineers acquire skills through self-study, bootcamps, or professional certifications.

What programming languages should a UX engineer know?

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are essential. Knowledge of frameworks like React, Angular, or Vue.js can also be valuable.

How important is design experience for a UX engineer?

Very important. UX engineers need to understand design principles, typography, colour theory, image creation, and design tools like Adobe Creative Suite, Figma, or Sketch.

What's the typical career path for a UX engineer?

Common paths include transitioning from front-end developer or UX designer roles, or advancing to lead UX engineer or UX manager positions.

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