Guide to UX Design Job Titles and Career Levels

What’s the difference between a junior, mid level and senior UX designer?

UX job titles and the career pathways available to UX professionals can be unclear, especially when you’re just getting started in UX.

In this guide, get an in-depth look at the career journey from UX Intern to UX Lead. You can click to jump to each section:

UX Internship 

UX Job Titles:  UX Design Intern, UX Design apprentice

Years of Experience: Little to no prior experience required, class projects

An internship is a common path into UX design, especially for students at UX bootcamps and degree programs. If you’re transferring from another field, UX internships can also be a pathway into UX. If you are deciding not to go the internship route, check out this article on how to find a UX job with no professional experience.

To be prepared for your internship, you should:

Here are two great examples of what you can expect your responsibilities to be as an intern:

Google Internship 1
Google UX Internship
Google Internship 2
Google Internship 3

Airbnb UX Internship

Airbnb Image 1
Airbnb UX Internship
Airbnb Image 3

Further Resources:

Junior UX Designer

Junior UX Designers can expect to work directly under more senior and mid-level designers. You will likely be given tasks and will be responsible to report back.  In your UX design career, as a junior,  you are still learning the ropes of the industry. 

UX Job Titles: Junior UX Designer, Junior Product Designer, Entry Level UX Designer

Years of Experience: 0 – 4 years

As a junior team member, you are likely to be given a blueprint or specific tasks that so you can learn from more senior team members.  This is a great time in your UX career! Take advantage of all the opportunities you have to learn. Being new to the field you will not likely have enough experience to see handle an entire project on your own. You can expect to work directly under more senior-level designers.  The longer you are in the industry, you will begin to gain more insight. 

You will be expected to :

  • Show a real interest in continuing to learn UX
  • Proficient in your knowledge of the UX process and design tools
  • Have a portfolio that shows at least one real-world project
  • Be able to take direction from more senior designers and finish tasks on time
  • Know how to problem solve on your own and also understand when it is appropriate to ask for feedback

Salary Ranges: “According to ZipRecruiter, the average pay for a Junior UX Designer is 83,948 per year.  Junior UX Designer salaries currently range between $61,000 (25th percentile) to $99,000 (75th percentile) across the United States.”

Hired.com has the following salaries for Junior level designers in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles.

Boston Salary - Junior UX Designer
Boston
New York - Junior UX Designer
New York
Los Angeles - Junior UX Designer
Los Angeles

Here is an example job posting from Trimble Inc. for a Junior UX Position.

Further Resources:

Mid-level UX Designer

As you might’ve guessed, mid-level UX designers have more responsibility than junior designers.  By this point in your career, you should be proficient in one or more branches of UX. You may still report to a senior UX Designer but will be expected to take more responsibility into your own hands. According to this article by hired guns, this the biggest gap in the UX industry. 

Job Title: Mid-Level UX Designer

Years of Experience:  4 – 6 years+

As a Mid Level UX Designer, you will be expected to:

  • Have proficient knowledge of UX tools, process, and UI patterns
  • Be able to take criticism of your design and explain the why behind your designs.
  • Take more responsibility for your own work
  • Know who and when to collaborate with other members of your team

Salary Ranges: “The majority of salaries within the Mid-level UX Designer jobs category currently range between $74,000 (25th percentile) to $119,500 (75th percentile) across the United States.” – ZipRecruiter

According to hired.com, this is what you can expect to earn as a Midlevel designer in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles.

Boston - Midlevel UX Designer
Boston
New York - Midlevel UX Designer
New York
Los Angeles - Midlevel UX Designer
Los Angeles

Here is an example of a Midlevel UX Designer position from Health Care Consultants. INC.

Health Care Consultant - Image 1
Health Consultant - Image 2

Further Resources:

Senior UX Designer

Job Titles: Senior Level UX Designer, Senior Designer, Senior Product Designer, UX Consultant

Years of Experience:  6 years -10 years

By this point in your career journey, you will be expected to:

  • Take a step back and see things from a broader perspective and manage projects if needed
  • Communicate effectively with clients and stakeholders about your team’s design decisions 
  • Be able to handle several tasks and possible projects without becoming overwhelmed
  • Take the role of a mentor to more junior designers

Salary Range: “The majority of Senior UX Designer salaries currently range between $101,000 (25th percentile) to $135,000 (75th percentile) across the United States.” – ZipRecruiter

Zip Recruiter - Senior UX Designer
ZipRecruiter

According to hired.com, you can see the following salaries for Senior level designers in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles.

Boston - Senior UX Designer
Boston Salary
New York - Senior UX Designer
New York Salary
Los Angeles Senior UX Designer
Los Angeles Salary

Here is an example of a Senior UX Designer position from Lucid Motors. INC.

Lucid Motors - Image 1
Lucid Motors - Image 2

Further Resources:

Lead UX Designer

Job Titles: Lead UX Designer, UX Lead, Product Design Lead, Staff UX Designer

Years of Experience: 10 years+

UX Leads are usually the top individual-contributor (IC) level design positions in the company before design management roles. As a Lead UX Designer, will be expected to lead design projects, establish and update UX design processes and mentor junior designers. Often, UX Leads act as interim managers who guide the entire design UX team with several senior, mid-level, and juniors designers below them. 

As a UX Lead, you may be expected to:

  • Be involved in the hiring process of other team members
  • Manage entire UX projects and teams
  • Expert level understanding – and communication – of UX
  • Mentor more junior team members

Salary Range: “The majority of Senior UX Designer salaries currently range between $101,000 (25th percentile) to $135,000 (75th percentile) across the United States.” – ZipRecruiter

ZipRecruiter

Here are the salary ranges for a Lead Designer in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles from hired.com

Boston
New York
Los Angeles

Here are two example job listing from Google and Facebook for a Lead UX Designer:

Google UX Lead Designer

Google UX Design Lead - Image 1
Google UX Lead Designer
Google UX Lead - Image 2
Google UX Lead - Image 3

Facebook UX Lead Designer

Facebook - Image 2
Facebook - Image 3

Further Resources:

Leveling Up Your UX Career

Here are some tips that you can use to move from a junior designer to a mid-level designer and on up the UX ladder.

UX Career Pillars:What to Do:
Continual
Learning
Stay up to date on UX industry design trends.
– Learn new skills that will you grow in your current position.
Effective
Communication
– Learn how to communicate your design
decision effectively.
– Set realistic timeframes for how long a
task will take you.
Be a Problem
Solver
– Be willing to do your own research and
look for solutions before asking for help
– Look for opportunities where you contribute to skills.
Take
Feedback
– Don’t take criticism of your designs personally. Remember it’s not an extension of you. 
Don’t be afraid to be wrong– Try out new skills and techniques in your work. It’s how you learn and grow.
Take
Responsibility
for Your Career
– Attend industry conferences, meetups,
and network events 
– Set career goals and be proactive in reaching them.
– Ask more senior-level designers what did they do to move on from a junior position.


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