Career Insight

Upskill Your Design Career: Become a UX Engineer

ux engineer

By Craig Tierney, Content Specialist

There’s a strong perception that tech is more science than art. Pop culture stereotypes tech workers as geeks (looking at you, The Big Bang Theory), and you could argue terms like “gigabyte” and “application programming interface” aren’t attractive to many artists.

Despite these stereotypes, creative and artistically-inclined people enjoy rewarding careers all over the tech industry. To demonstrate the possibilities here’s the story of a graphic designer turned tech professional named Gabe.

A Creator From the Start

Gabe began his career as a self-taught graphic designer: creating all the logos and elements of branding packages his clients could need. He loved the challenge of tapping into a business’s personality to create a customer’s visual experience of the brand.

Over time, this interest in designing experiences grew. Instead of just crafting a logo, he also wanted to make the perfect web page where the logo could live. So, Gabe taught himself how to use some web development platforms like Squarespace and was able to add basic web design to his freelance business, and more money to his bank account.

Adding Front-End Development

A career in tech had never really crossed Gabe’s mind before. However, he had always been an imaginative tinkerer, so after testing the waters by editing some code within website platforms he found he kind of liked this whole programming thing.

He began to consume every bit of knowledge he could, experimenting with more advanced web development platforms, and completing coding practice to learn programming languages like HTML and CSS (we’ve got you covered). Soon, he enrolled in formal training to become truly proficient in developing websites and applications – a.k.a. a Front-End Developer.

For one of his class projects, Gabe developed an app that allowed musicians to chat and collaborate on songs. When he presented the app in a demo, a hiring manager took note of his combined creative and technical skills. She hired him as a developer but also introduced him to a new opportunity: User Experience (UX for short).

Cool… but What’s UX?

In a nutshell, UX professionals design and engineer user experiences – you probably picked up on that already. They solve real-world problems by outlining the functionality of websites, apps, and other digital tools to make them easy and fun to use. Do you spend too much time on your phone? You can blame UX Engineers for creating the engaging (and sometimes addictive) experience.

As he dove deeper into the UX world, Gabe learned how to identify the needs of clients, how to empathize with user wants, and how to use programming to solve performance issues and streamline tasks. He learned how to pair both his design skills and a knack for tinkering to launch a rewarding career designing and building experiences in tech.

“I like the tech industry’s independence from traditional business models and that it’s a community of creators – people are always building new things,” he says.

Now, Gabe has added Kenzie UX Engineering Subject Matter Expert to his resume.

It’s Your Turn

Whether you’ve always been interested in tech or have just started to see your potential as a UX Engineer, now is the time to take your first step towards a rewarding career (and becoming one of Gabe’s students).

Craig Tierney

Craig is the Content Specialist at Kenzie Academy. After graduating from Butler University, he landed a global marketing role and gained experience in marketing strategy, content, and international audiences. Now, Craig enjoys writing, photography, and social media duties to connect potential learners to Kenzie’s forward-thinking model of a learning community. In his free time, he enjoys running, drawing, and listening to true-crime podcasts.

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