UI DeveloperJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
The user interface (UI) is where users control and use a particular piece of software, and UI developers are responsible for visualizing and creating that part of a program. A UI developer lives at the intersection of computer programming, psychology, and graphic design. UI developers have to get inside a user’s mind and predict how a user would want to control a piece of software, then design an interface that is intuitive and easy to learn.
In addition to hard technical skills, UI developers should also have soft skills like verbal and written communication, project management, team leadership, and presentation. A UI developer needs to be able to effectively communicate ideas to stakeholders outside of the development team to align the goals of a particular project. Generally, a UI developer doesn’t work alone, so team leadership and the ability to motivate and coordinate colleagues are also critical.
Sample job description
Typical duties and responsibilities
Collaborate with product management and engineering to define and implement innovative solutions for the product’s direction, visuals, and experience
Execute all visual design stages from concept to final hand-off to engineering
Conceptualize original ideas that bring simplicity and user-friendliness to complex design roadblocks
Create wireframes, storyboards, user flows, process flows, and site maps to communicate interaction and design ideas effectively
Present and defend designs and key milestone deliverables to peers and executive stakeholders
Conduct user research and evaluate feedback
Establish and promote design guidelines, best practices, and standards
Education and experience
This position requires a bachelor’s degree in human-computer interaction, interaction design, engineering, or a related field.
A master’s degree in those fields is strongly preferred.
Required skills and qualifications
Demonstrate UI design skills with a strong portfolio
Substantial experience in creating wireframes, storyboards, user flows, process flows, and site maps
Excellent visual design skills with sensitivity to user-system interaction
Ability to present designs and sell solutions to various stakeholders
Ability to solve problems creatively and effectively
Experience working in an Agile/Scrum development process
Solid experience implementing automated tests leveraging Jasmine and Cypress
Champions data-driven decision-making
Good working knowledge of cloud security and web security
Enthusiasm to work in an Agile development model
Average salary and compensation
The average salary for a UI developer is $102,000 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.
Los Angeles, California
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
New York City, New York
Typical work environment
Much of the work of a UI developer is done in the office on a computer, working full time. UI developers use specialized software, such as Sketch, Adobe XD, and InVision to layout and prototype user interface designs. The job of a UI developer is highly collaborative, requiring close work with UX developers to create easy-to-use interfaces for the end-user. Increasingly, more UI developer positions are available remotely.
The typical work hours in an office setting for a UI developer are usually from 9 AM to 5 PM. Additional work hours can be required when approaching project deadlines.
With the increasing amount of business going online, more UI developers are needed, meaning that a number of certification programs exist to help you start your career. A bachelor’s degree in computer science and information systems is a great place to start, but not required to have a career in UI development.
Front-End Web Development Graduate Certificate. This four-course certificate program offered by Harvard teaches you the fundamentals of UI development, including coding, designing, and understanding best practices for web design. You have three years to complete the four courses with a B grade or higher.
CareerFoundry UI Program. This five to nine month program is perfect for beginners looking to make a career change. The entire course is taught online, with access to tutors and mentors. Expect to spend between fifteen to thirty hours a week.
Designlab UI Design Short Course. If you’re a mid level design professional looking to increase your skill set in UI development, this four week course is perfect for you. The course requires between 15 and 20 hours a week of your time and will help you advance your career.
A UI developer needs to have a bachelor’s degree in human-computer interaction, interaction design, engineering, or a related field. Students are encouraged to pursue internships with technology companies while they are in college to gain some real-world experience in the field. Some companies prefer applicants to have a master’s degree.
A UI developer can move up into a role like IT project manager. In that role, they oversee and guide the entire development process of a project, sometimes supervising a team of software developers and UI developers. UI developers who want to move into management roles should spend extra time developing soft skills like relationship building, motivating and influencing others, and communication.
US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook
SOC Code: 15-1255
Projected Employment in 2030
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift
UI developers need to keep up on the latest trends and study how users interact with websites and software. According to the design website DesignHill, there are several trends UI Developers should be on top of in the next few years, including full-screen video, more vivid colors, and long scrolling.
Videos have been used for a long time to grab users’ attention, but many websites and some apps are expanding their videos to full-screen to increase user engagement. More vivid colors are also being used to increase user engagement. For a few years, UI design trended toward muted colors, but as that trend continues to recede, many brands are using brighter colors to highlight their identity and personality. That trend is also expected to show itself in user interfaces.
A third trend UI developers should be aware of is the use of cards. Cards are used to display large amounts of data on a single screen, letting users get the information at a single glance. They’re becoming more common because they work well both on desktop and mobile screens. Cards can also be manipulated and moved in different ways, giving UI developers more flexibility.
Sample interview questions
Describe your design process for me.
Tell me about a normal working day for a UI developer.
How do you deal with negative user feedback?
How would you increase the performance of a page that was running slowly?
Tell me about yourself and your education.
Where do you see yourself in five years? In ten?
What makes you a good fit for this company?
What do you like best about being a UI developer?
Tell me about the most difficult project you’ve ever worked on.
How do you manage your time to meet deadlines?
How do you make the websites you design accessible?
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