For anyone feeling stuck in a career that isn’t moving forward fast enough, has become creatively stifling, or just doesn’t feel engaging anymore, UX/UI is a well-paying path that calls for skills that many people already possess. Many of the abilities that come into play for UX/UI designers—research, communication, design, collaboration, and critical thinking—underpin several types of jobs, from graphic design, project management, and research to interior design and software development. A career switch to UX/UI is not only completely viable, but can be done at Otis Extension within 12 to 15 months.
What is UX and UI?
UX, or user experience, involves the overall interaction a person has with a product or service. Think of some of the most frustrating experiences you’ve had with an app, appliance, or even piece of furniture (we’re looking at you, IKEA), and it’s generally due to bad UX design. UI, or user interface, applies more often to a website, app, or device that a person interacts with. Think of all the actions you can take online or on a device—scroll, tap, swipe, etc.—and that’s the work of an interface designer. Jobs that combine UX and UI typically exist in web and app development, and for any number of industries, including technology, healthcare, automotive, and education. And unlike some careers that already are negatively impacted by the rapid growth of artificial intelligence (AI), UX/UI stands to benefit from it, according to LinkedIn.
The UX/UI for Web Design Certificate Program at Otis Extension combines both UX and UI into a comprehensive learning and pre-professional experience that will provide all the tools necessary for entry-level positions in the industry. The program has a low entry point—no portfolio or prior experience is required to register—but a high return on investment. Did you know UX/UI designers earn $113,455 a year on average?
Students in the certificate program at Otis Extension take a total of 10 courses that run the gamut from Color Theory and Design and User Experience (UX) Design, to Introduction to Graphic Design and Digital Design Tools. They learn everything from design standards, accessibility best practices, basic coding, and common workflows, to industry-standard tools like Sketch, Figma, Mirro, and Adobe Creative Suite. Throughout the certificate program students work with instructors who are experienced professionals and artists; connect with a network of creatives; and receive career support, including career counseling, career assessment, internship advising, and employer networking opportunities. Graduates walk away with a professional-quality portfolio demonstrating conceptual, design, and technical proficiency to hit the ground running in a new career.
“Otis, having a long and storied history in the field of graphic design, is in the unique position to train students in the field of traditional design, which is essential, and merge it with the new skills required for UX. Many other schools offering UX programs are lacking in the foundational design history and insights that are crucial to having a well-rounded education in this field,” says Jessica Thompson, an instructor with over 18 years of experience in branding, user experience, visual design, and digital strategy who now teaches in the program.
For anyone doubting whether they can pivot to this lucrative, rewarding field, just think of how easily transferable some skills are for a job in UX/UI. Communication is used in working with clients on their web design and/or app projects, listening to their needs and desires, and presenting solutions and ideas back to them. The research process is essential in understanding the habits and abilities of the end-user and often involves interviewing, observing, and testing. At the heart of the design process is problem-solving, putting yourself in the user’s shoes, and thinking critically about the scope and limitations of a project’s timeline, budget, and viability. Being able to collaborate effectively with clients and coworkers is another essential skill.
There are a variety of jobs a person with a UX/UI for Web Design Certificate would be qualified for upon completion, such as junior UX designer, junior UI designer, junior web designer, and freelance designer, to name just a few. With experience, they can move up into managerial or more specialized roles, with the higher salaries to match.
The rewards of working in a career that combines elements of tech, design, and psychology are matched by its future prospects: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, jobs in web development and digital design (essentially the work of UX/UI designers) stand to grow 23% between 2021 and 2031, vastly surpassing the 5% growth projected for all occupations.
The team at Otis Extension has worked to streamline the UX/UI for Web Design Certificate Program to its most essential 10 courses, helping with a student’s bottom line as well as timeline for entry to industry.
“A significant curricular change we made is a focus on user-centered design, which applies to how students build interactive experiences across the whole design process, from concept to final execution,” says Terry Nauheim, Assistant Dean at Otis Extension. “This reflects what today’s designer needs to be equipped with as they create experiences for mobile apps, websites, and various platforms. It is a unique advantage to be agile with an educational program. As industry trends change, so can we so that we may best serve our students with knowledge and portfolios relevant to entry-level positions in current and emerging fields.”
Visit otis.edu/extension for more information on the UX/UI for Web Design Certificate Program. A 15% discount is applied across all required courses once a student is registered for the program.
Below are a few examples of work done by students in the UX/UI for Web Design Certificate Program at Otis Extension.
Main image: Photograph by UX Indonesia/Unsplash; Top image: Work by Christine Van Deman; Bottom image: Work by Sarah Asper.