There have never been more opportunities for user experience designers: In 2015, U.S. companies posted nearly 30,000 openings for user experience roles — up 15% from 2011 — at an average salary of $99,177.
The market demands top-quality talent, and training toward industry needs has never been more vital. At General Assembly, we accomplish this by partnering with industry powerhouses like IBM Design and prototyping platform InVision to build curriculums that directly serve the needs of companies while empowering individuals with relevant skills. Our full-time User Experience Design Immersive leverages our partners’ expertise across market and content to ensure the most effective learning experience available in the field.
“I think it’s extremely important for schools and faculty to partner with working professionals and their companies to make sure they’re preparing students for the future workforce,” said Oen Hammonds, a designer, mentor, and facilitator at IBM Design. Through IBM’s Talent Enablement Team, Hammonds develops education programs for executives and software development teams. “I hope my involvement in GA’s curriculum development can offer an opportunity for graduates to be better prepared contributors to the workforce.”
Below, our partners at InVision explain how design plays a vital role in shaping companies, why there’s growing demand for UX design skills, and how InVision, in partnership with companies like GA and IBM Design, helps train the next wave of UX designers.
From the InVision blog:
The world around us has always been designed, but as technology and devices open up brand new worlds, our need for beautiful, functional experiences grows. We’ve always needed great UX designers — and demand is higher now than ever for the skills needed to bring great products to market quickly.
UX design offers higher salaries and more job opportunities than other design disciplines, and employers of all sizes and industries need experienced designers to give themselves an edge in a product-saturated world.
InVision’s 2016 Product Design Report found design plays a leading role at 38.4% of companies with more than 2,000 employees and at 65% of startups. The Design Management Institute found design-centric companies outperformed the S&P by 228%.
“Successful companies recognize that with so many products out there, an incrementally better experience can be the differentiator that disrupts an entire market,” said InVision cofounder and CEO Clark Valberg. “That’s where we’ll need thoughtful, skilled UX designers, and why we’re so excited to partner with schools like General Assembly to help teach the tools and concepts designers need to create those industry-shaping experiences.”
Focusing on UX design as a career makes good financial sense, too:
- In 2015, U.S. companies posted 29,825 openings for UX roles — up 15% from 2011 — at an average salary of $99,177 (Burning Glass).
- UX designer came in 14th for Best Jobs in America, with a median pay of $89,300 and 10-year growth projection of 18% (CNN).
- UX designer ranks as the No. 2 job for work-life balance in 2016 (Glassdoor).
You don’t need a UX design degree to become a UX designer, but designers also don’t spring fully formed from the earth. Becoming a true practitioner of user experience design demands an understanding of how people interact with the world — and experience with sophisticated workflow tools and front-end web technologies.
To prepare the next generation of UX designers, we created our Campus Initiative in 2014. Today, we work with more than 1,700 teachers at more than 700 colleges and universities across the globe, including job-related schools like General Assembly, Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons School of Design, and Pratt Institute.
InVision partners with instructors in GA’s 10-week User Experience Design Immersive (UXDI) course, which teaches foundational UX skills like user research, interface design, prototyping, testing, how to use design platforms, and more. In an education-to-employment approach, students apply these skills through one-on-one work with clients, collaborating to build their experience and solve real-world problems.
Full-time program graduates who participate in the Career Services program see a job placement rate of 99% within 180 days of beginning their job search, and have secured roles at top companies like IBM Design, Condé Nast, and Adobe.
Partnerships between InVision and career-oriented schools like General Assembly offer students a leg up, enabling us to:
- Provide free, unlimited access to InVision while they’re studying and for a period after graduation, to help present their portfolio to potential employers.
- Arrange screenings of DESIGN DISRUPTORS, our full-length documentary film about how design leaders at the world’s top companies make user-centric products.
- Help design students and working designers evolve their skills to create lasting and meaningful careers.
Our own Vice President of Design Education Aarron Walter — a featured voice in GA’s UXDI course — has said, “Experience is everything. It’s easy to make something that’s good. It’s still really hard to make something that’s great.”
As more brands adopt high-quality, human-centered design thinking and practice to shape their products’ development, the demand for skilled and thoughtful UX designers will continue to soar.