User experience research is the systematic study of target users and their needs. UX research jobs aim to determine user behaviors and requirements before providing valuable insights that help design products and services.
Over the years, the user experience researcher role has become all the more significant, and this is why UX research positions are in high demand nowadays.
Professionals in UX researcher jobs are needed in multiple industries. User researchers often work alongside designers, engineers, and programmers during all production stages, from conceiving an idea to creating a product.
What Do UX Researchers Do?
A good UX researcher must be able to provide data-driven insights at the planning stage of a company’s products. Moreover, a user experience researcher’s primary task is to provide useful data to designers, enabling them to create the best possible experience for website users.
This is achieved by making websites as easy to use as possible. Part of any UX researcher job, besides researching user behavior and preferences, is to check website content thoroughly before developing improvements for various design features, such as colors and images.
UX Researchers Duties
Professionals employed in any user experience researcher job must provide solutions to challenges related to a product’s design and production. UX researchers are required to uncover what consumers want or need by conducting thorough research.
Here are some of the primary tasks and responsibilities you should expect to see listed in any UX researcher job description:
- Meeting with clients to gather information on what needs to be researched, designed, or corrected.
- Putting user experience first; making sure that design is simple, easy to use, and visually appealing.
- Developing and implementing a well-constructed research plan with clear objectives so the company can reach its goals.
- Being tech-savvy.
- Keeping track of costs and budgets.
- Taking part in recruitment procedures for user research.
- Having the presentation skills needed to explain all design progress stages to business users.
Types of UX Researcher Jobs
UX research positions can vary, ranging from low-level assignments to more serious roles, depending on user researchers’ experience and knowledge. That said, all positions involve the analysis of customer behavior, preferences, and needs.
UX Research Jobs at Entry Level
The first thing UX research professionals at entry level jobs need to learn is how to manage user research and concept development. Then, they should be ready to research and investigate buyer behavior before working closely with marketing and product management teams to learn how to identify research topics.
UX Research Assistant
Becoming a research assistant is one of the best ways to learn new research techniques, improve your skills, and acquire invaluable working experience. Research assistants are usually employed by universities, UX research companies, or other private organizations. Most of the time, these professionals are hired on temporary contracts that involve projects aiming to assist in academic studies or private research.
Junior User Researcher
Junior UX researcher jobs require carrying out user research activities. Although junior UX researchers possess some practical experience and knowledge, they are regularly supervised, guided, and trained to make sure they deliver the best results. They usually work on teams led by a senior user researcher.
Mid-Level User Researcher
Mid-level user researchers are responsible for planning and carrying out user research activities and don’t need much guidance. This UX research job description entails working either independently or as part of a team.
Senior User Researcher
Senior user researchers are responsible for planning and leading user research activities in larger teams and can undertake more complex tasks. A senior user experience researcher job description also includes occasionally supervising and helping junior UX professionals and mid-level user researchers upgrade their skills.
Lead User Researcher
Lead user researchers are tasked with leading and supervising all user research activities across several teams. In these UX research jobs, one of the primary duties is to ensure that teams adopt a user-centered, evidence-based approach to help designers deliver the best possible results.
Head of User Research
Professionals in this user experience research job are responsible for all user researcher related matters in an organization, including hiring new UX researchers and improving existing employees’ skills. They are UX experts with years of experience who can define and perform the best practices, develop optimal strategies, and collaborate with colleagues for the company’s benefit.
Internships and remote UX jobs are also among the various types of jobs available to UX professionals. These types of UX related jobs are quite popular among UX professionals, so here’s a brief overview of both:
UX Research Internship
An internship is an excellent way to improve your skills while gaining knowledge and experience. UX interns learn new techniques that help them design their research approaches, analyze results, and formulate hypotheses. Interns usually work closely with a supervisor who guides and encourages them.
UX Research Remote Jobs
One of the advantages of UX researchers working remotely is that they get to choose their working hours. Remote UX researchers work from home to research target customers and their user experience.
People in remote UX research jobs are involved in analyzing the buyers’ use of a company’s products, testing audience changes, making the most of review results to collect users’ opinions about products or services, and interviewing random customers to gather additional data.
Other duties professionals in UX research remote jobs have include identifying usability concerns, determining how to test and deliver the best user experience, managing partnerships with other companies, and providing data-supported suggestions and recommendations.
Remote researchers also need to use virtual office software for communication purposes with coworkers.
User experience researcher jobs exist in virtually every industry, such as banks, digital marketing agencies, telecommunications companies, media, retail, web development agencies, and others.
People aspiring to be employed as UX professionals need to remember that this line of work is ideal for team players. Furthermore, they should expect that they will be working in an environment that promotes social interaction.
Injuries and Illnesses
User experience research jobs are carried out in an office environment. Therefore, they entail sitting in front of a computer for many hours on end, which can cause narrowing of the spinal channel, also known as spinal stenosis.
Moreover, spending many hours in front of a computer screen can cause eyestrain. Eyes may become dry and irritated, and employees may, eventually, find it difficult to focus.
Except for professionals in UX researcher remote jobs, UX researchers generally work regular office hours (9 am to 5 pm) from Monday to Friday. However, sometimes there may be some weekend or overtime work, especially when there’s a deadline coming.
How to Become a UX Researcher
If you want to follow a user experience researcher career, you either need a degree in design, computing science, psychology, web development, or any other related field, or vast working experience. Knowledge and experience are probably the most critical assets. Employers look for experienced candidates with an impressive employment history.
If you’re keen on having a successful career as a user experience researcher, you need to have some of the skills required in most UX researcher jobs:
- Excellent team working skills
- Communication skills
- Understanding user needs
- Creativity and innovation
- Superb presentation skills
- Experience in qualitative and quantitative research
Having a degree in a specific field isn’t necessary to get a UX research job, but you must have a deep understanding of user behavior. Around 35.4% of user experience researchers have a Bachelor’s degree, while another 43.1% boasts a Master’s degree.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Although not mandatory, every UX researcher should pursue a license or certification if they want to stand out in this industry. The main reason is that, according to many experts, it’s predicted that insurance companies will soon stop covering organizations that employ unlicensed researchers.
Advancement in UX Research Jobs
Depending on how much effort you put into your work, a senior UX role promotion can happen in just two years. With hard work and dedication, you can even land a head UX research position within five to ten years.
The UX researcher salary varies, depending on which industry you’re working in. That said, most UX researchers earn between $100,000 and $149,000. The average salary for a user experience researcher in the US is around $82,687.
Entry level research jobs offer an average salary of $76,947, while mid-career researchers earn about $101,012. The average salary for experienced researchers is $116,768.
User experience researchers in the United Kingdom earn £33,370, while the average salary in Germany is €50,629.
UX is a growing field, and the user experience researcher role is becoming all the more pivotal. Nowadays, most companies understand the need for UX researchers. Therefore, the demand for UX research jobs is expected to rise by 14.9% over the next ten years.
This career path seems to have a bright future. As your knowledge and skills increase, so should your level of responsibility and pay. In a US popularity rank for jobs conducted in 2017, the user experience researcher job role came in at number 39, with estimated job growth of around 19%.
Frequently Asked Questions
As this field continues to grow, choosing a career as a UX researcher is not a wrong move. Besides the job’s financial aspect, several research studies show that only one in seven UX researchers isn’t satisfied with their job. According to statistics, most UX professionals report high job satisfaction. This shows that UX research is definitely a good career choice.
UX design remains one of the most in-demand fields and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Therefore, pursuing one of many entry level UX research jobs is the best way to start. That said, most full-time job openings are skewed towards senior level design positions, with companies increasingly focusing on hiring people for more specialized and tactical design roles.
A UX researcher is a market analyst and data scientist tasked with seeking and understanding the reasons behind users’ behavior, needs, and priorities when interacting with a company’s products. UX researchers are responsible for providing insights during all production stages through detailed written, oral, and visual presentations.
Every UX researcher must have analytical skills and knowledge on how to read data. It’s most certainly beneficial to have a background in a relevant field, such as marketing, information science, cognitive science, psychology, or economics.
Ideal candidates for the best UX research jobs are typically passionate and curious team players with previous experience working in fast-paced environments. They should also be familiar with generative and evaluative research methods to gain a thorough understanding of user behavior.