Hey Graduates! Are you looking to find UX jobs in this economy? If you are in the unfortunate position of staring the summer in the face without a job, then you have come to the right place. Keep reading to find my take on the job market for user experience designers and developers. We’ll talk about where to find jobs, the skills you’ll need, and places to find training. It’s a lot to cover so let’s jump right in.
Where to find UX type jobs on the Internet?
Browsing through monster.com, indeed.com, simply hired, dice.com, is old-school. You might as well be getting newspapers delivered to the house. Why would you go to the trouble of aggregating all of those feeds when there are folks out there doing it for you? Let me show you some…
You may not need to look much farther than this site. It aggregates jobs from all of the usual suspects – plus a few creative entries like boxesandarrows.com, jobs.smashingMagazine.com, jobs.37 signals.com, craigslist from San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Austin… you get the idea. They have basically done all the legwork for you. We could stop here but will continue
Here is a simply hired widget website. They have set up persistent searches of the simply hired database for usability and user experience jobs in and around eight major metropolitan areas of the US ( New York, Chicago, Indianapolis, Boston, Austin, San Diego, Seattle and San Francisco)
UX mag has a listing of jobs for user experience designers, user experience architects, user interface designer, interaction designer, UX strategist.
Onward search is a recruiter for technology talent. I found them via this incredible infographic – A guide to UX Careers. They list UX jobs on their site, but you apply by joining the site and submitting a resume. I guess that’s how a recruiter works. I don’t think it costs to submit your resume, so jump right in. What could it hurt? Vitamin Talent is another example of a ‘digital creatives’ recruiter.
The local chapter of the Usability Professionals’ Association. The local and main branch of this association have job boards, plus events and trainings.
Speaking of all these search sites, what exactly should you search for…
User Experience job titles
User Experience Designer – 12.4 million in Google. 1834 in Dice. 858 in LinkedIn. 146,213 in Simply Hired
User Experience Researcher – 3.6 million in Google. 118 in Dice. 82 in LinkedIn. 53,428 in SimplyHired.
Information architect – 15.3 million in Google. 4206 in Dice. 1841 in LinkedIn. 48,217 in SimplyHired
Usability Analyst – 3 million in Google. 416 in Dice. 114 in LinkedIn. 4,635 in SimplyHired
My take on this: Tons of jobs for User Experience Designer and Information Architect. Usability Analyst isn’t so popular as a term. Terms and titles do matter when you are searching … but Skills are the foundation. Titles change. Skills stick with you…
User Experience Skill Set
You’re going to need skills in your new job. Chances are that you have skills that are strong and those that need improvement. But which are the ones that employers are looking for?
A List Apart, Zeldman and Co, conducts a survey each year, the survey for people who make websites. In section 10, they have a good listing of typical web builder job skills. Here they are with the most popular first:
- markup ( HTML, XHTML, XML)
- CSS coding
- page layout, interface design
- image editing and production
- information architecture, wire framing, site mapping
- usability testing / knowledge
- graphic design
- back-end development ( PHP, Ruby on rails, ASP)
- project management
- writing, editing
- findability / search engine optimization / search engine marketing
- accessibility testing / knowledge
Let’s take a look at a few job descriptions and parse them for skills you need.
UX Job Descriptions
: TEKsystems, technology staffing and services firm. Erie, PA 1 year contract position to work on a mobile app interface design
Skills, Responsibilities and Specifications:
- User interface design
One interesting note is they are asking for the certified usability analyst credential – more on that later.
User Experience Researcher
: e-commerce company,Quidsi. Jersey City, NJ
Skills, Responsibilities and Specifications:
- user research techniques
- such as card sorting
- cognitive walk-throughs.
- user centered design practices
- contextual inquiry
- persona development
- heuristic evaluation
- competitive analysis
- interface design ( there is again!)
- rapid prototyping and participatory design
- plus usability testing
- Tech Smith Morae
- agile software development practices.
- a bachelors degree,
- but they would prefer a Masters degree in human factors, human computer interaction, usability engineering, cognitive psychology or a related field.
- 5+ years experience with user experience research and design in a “mature software development organization” – ( tough luck, freelancers!)
: Radio Systems Corporation –Knoxville, TN, e-commerce company (petsafe.net and invisbilefence.com)
- understanding of UI/UX best practices
- application of information architecture, color palettes, typography, iconography
- graphic design ( Photoshop or fireworks)
- storyboarding in wireframes/mockups
- search engine optimization
- cross browser testing
- XHTML, CSS, J. query
- bachelor’s degree
- portfolio of professional work
- 2+ years experience
Information architect/ Digital Storytelling
: NetApp – Raleigh, NC – innovative storage and data management solutions
Skills, Responsibilities and specifications:
- Develop information architecture, content component structure, and interactive design
- lead the creation of user interface design concepts, wireframes, and interactive requirements
- Understanding of Transmedia Storytelling a plus.
- understanding of Content Management Systems – experience using SDL Tridion a plus
- Strong analytical skills and experience to incorporate testing results and data into UX designs
- Bachelor’s degree in Interaction Design, Information Architecture or similar field related to Human-Computer Interaction.
- 5 years of experience designing information architecture for large-scale corporate websites is required
User Experience Job Training
Okay – you know where to look, you know the job titles to look for, the skills you will need and the job description verbiage. Is your degree enough or do you need to train up? Don’t worry, Uncle Newman is here to help.
University degrees in
- Interaction Design: HOW Interactive list of programs
- Information Architecture: American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) listing of IA programs
- Human-Computer Interaction: Human Factors (Eric Schaffer’s Usability consultants) listing of HCI programs
- Usability engineering: Link to a WiseGeek article on “how to become a Usability Engineer” – no real degree programs yet
- cognitive psychology: Top 16 schools according to US News and World Report (the school report people)
Certification and Associations
- CUA and CUX Certification from Human Factors International
- Google Analytics Certified Partner : GOOGLE does it.
- IXDA: Interaction Design Association
- ASIS&T: American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)
- Lynda.com: The mother of all online video training libraries. “Lynda, you had me at Fireworks and color palettes”
- Treehouse: It’s not creepy, it’s a fun place to learn from the design and developer perspective.
- P2PU.org: Peer to Peer University. Mozilla Foundation’s learning branch. It’s awesome. I love it and all it stands for!
- Udacity: Sebastian Thrun and friends start a university and a revolution. A full Computer Science curriculum
- CodeAcademy.org: Less Conf Buddy, Neal Sales’ school for web builders in Chicago. Immersive and Effective
- The Analysis Exchange – Web Analytics Education and Certification : A mentor and learner model for learning.
Information overload never felt so good. Welcome to the information age! I do hope that this little journey into the web of UX jobs has been valuable to you. Please let me know:
- How you approach a job search?
- What type of degrees / certifications you have or want?
- Where you go to learn new skills?
- Where you go for community with other web builders and UX folks?