Even if you have only superficial knowledge in the digital field, there’s a high chance that you’ve heard about UX engineers and user experience design. Whenever you search for career prospects in IT, UX design is one of the first things that pop up on any website. A career in this field promises continuous professional development, high salaries, and interesting projects. But how do you know that UX design is suitable for you? Moreover, how do you distinguish it from other positions, such as UI design, front-end development, etc.? You need to go to the basics and learn who a UX engineer is and how to become one to make the right decision.
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Defining UX Engineering
User experience is how a customer perceives and responds to the product, service, or system. Ideally, companies should ensure that customers’ experience is joyful, meaningful, and positive. Simply speaking, a UX engineer is a person responsible for this task in a product development team.
This professional serves as a bridge between developers and designers. A UX designer’s goal is to help the team balance technical possibilities and design solutions to make products visually pleasing, functional, and easy to use. UX engineers normally work with the front-end aspects of digital products. They make sure that these user-facing parts, such as layouts, buttons, etc., are easy to interact with on the technical level.
Questions these professionals may face are as follows:
- How are users interacting with this button, page, or function?
- How can we ensure users know what this button, page, or function does?
- How can we ensure that customers have the optimal experience when using it?
A UX engineer, also referred to as a UX practitioner, is a catch-all term for various functions within a UX team. These people can conduct user research, create prototypes, conduct usability tests, and do dozens of other tasks that depend on the project scope, the size of the team, and their competencies and skills.
UX practitioners typically work on different aspects of product development, which are listed below.
Planning and Designing Web Pages, Apps, and Software
Driven by UX principles that emphasize easy-to-use and pleasurable designs, UX engineers search for the best solutions for functional and attractive products. They can employ design tools such as wireframes or blueprints to find the best options.
Working on Front-End Aspects
Contributing to Project as Part of the Team
UX engineers never work in isolation. Their interaction and communication with UI designers, developers, and other team members are essential for creating high-quality products.
Required Skills and Competencies
UX engineers should possess a wide set of skills to do their job effectively. The most basic ones that will be needed in any team include the following:
- Knowledge of programming languages (the more, the better!)
- Knowledge of information architecture and design flow
- Wireframing and prototyping
- Visual design skills
- Responsive design
- Testing and debugging
- Mastery of design tools and platforms
Moreover, it’s always a good idea to expand one’s knowledge of back-end development to be aware of how the product functions at the core level. This skill allows UX engineers to communicate with their colleagues more meaningfully and search for optimal engineering solutions.
Of course, no UX engineer can become a good team member without exhibiting excellent soft skills. For example, it is crucial to communicate with team members, articulate one’s ideas clearly, manage time and resources, etc. Problem-solving is also a must, as you will face trickly engineering problems along the way.
Do you feel like you can be a great UX engineer? If this career path is right for you, you need to start by gaining skills and knowledge. Becoming a UX practitioner has never been easier, with hundreds of courses available online and in traditional classrooms. You can select one based on your career goals, available time, financial resources, and personal preferences. However, you need to be careful. Not all courses and programs are equally effective, so check which ones are considered the most reputable.
Independent learning is a more challenging yet accessible path. It is most suitable for people already possessing some tech skills and requiring only minor upgrades of their competencies. If you have much free time and excellent discipline, you can learn how to code, manage version control, test/debug, and do many other things by using online resources. Many websites for novice UX engineers will offer guidance and mentoring. However, you need to be very motivated and efficient to become a self-taught UX practitioner.
Education is not enough to get a UX engineer job. You will also need to create an eye-catching portfolio. It means that before you get a real job, you will have to participate in some free or paid projects where you can build your skills. You may also need to get to know people in the industry to learn about specific job vacancies and requirements. With a bit of luck and hard work, you can easily find a job in this field!
The best thing about being a UX engineer is that there is always a space for professional development. You will begin as an intern or junior engineer and then progress to a senior one. You can also specialize in an area of interest, such as testing or research. More importantly, you can work on diverse projects, from e-commerce to entertainment, so there’s always a place for fun! In addition, UX engineers can work from home, which means you get the much-desired flexibility.
A career in UX engineering is a good option for people with a tech mindset and strong motivation. You can be a part of a multidisciplinary team and create wonderful products that people enjoy and find meaningful and useful. However, a successful UX career starts with hard work, education, and training, like in any profession. If you overcome this barrier, there are no limits to your professional growth.