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Why UX Salaries Will Continue to Rise

User Experience (UX) professionals are among the select few who will enjoy a higher-than-average anticipated increase in salary over the next decade.

Talented UX professionals are in high demand partly because it is a difficult skill to teach–there are very few college-level programs dedicated to UX. It is one of those professions that require no formal accreditations because it is still evolving so quickly.

This is underscored by the fact that the very definition of UX can mean different things to different people.  Some UX positions are heavy on wireframing and graphic design skills, while others are focused mainly on research and usability. The majority, however, will require a combination of leadership, design, planning, conflict management abilities and objectivity. Above all, a good UX professional will have a well-developed sense of logic and an instinctive comprehension of human behavior.  This is a tall order for a single hire!

In the age of software, this unification of technical knowledge and understanding users’ needs are coveted skills to organizations of all shapes and sizes. They play an integral role in creating an intuitive, user-friendly experience that attracts and retains customers.

Giving exact expectations for how a certain profession’s salary will fluctuate is an almost impossible job, so we are left making educated predictions based off of hiring data and prior salary trends. We know for certain that UX professionals have shown significant salary increases over the past few years. This trend gives no indication of a decline in rate or demand any time soon.

“Salaries and contract rates will be higher in 2012 because the economy seems to be getting better in the tech sector. More companies are hiring. The supply of talent is extremely low and the demand for talent is extremely high,” says Shane Bernstein, managing director of a Los Angeles based IT firm.

Projected estimates anticipate starting salaries for UX designers to rise roughly 6 percent annually, ranging between $72,000 and $105,000 per year.

If there is one point to remember it is this: UX skills are in high demand and
short supply. The market thrives on experienced and talented individuals. Experience correlates with demand and demand dictates salary. The field of UX continues to remain in high demand, especially for experienced individuals. It is a candidate’s market, as the demand for such professionals increases, the cost of attracting and retaining them increase as well.