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Why is there an increase in demand for UX designers?

By: Dr. Leslie Jensen-Inman

Design matters. And it doesn’t just matter to designers.

CEOs, CxOs, Vice Presidents, and the rest of the folks in the C-Suite sit around conference tables with their iPads, wondering why their company’s products aren’t as delightful to use as their competitors’.

These folks are beginning to understand that design is a differentiator and a necessity. Design is a necessity for their business not only to survive, but to thrive.

However, they may not understand how to make design happen. They may even believe that it’s some type of magic or secret sauce. They do know that design matters and that they need designers to make their companies, organizations, and products relevant. Executives in the C-Suite realize that design is life for their companies, and so their companies’ lives need to be centered in design.

Hiring managers know that design plays, and will continue to play, a critical role in the success of their companies because: What has been seen cannot be unseen.

And what has been seen is companies like Apple, which are investing a lot of resources in design. We can see how much design matters by looking at Apple’s profits in comparison with their competition.

This understanding is leading to an increased demand for designers, and even more specifically it’s leading to an increase in demand for user experience designers. In fact, in the United States alone, there are around 150,000 job listings in the user experience (UX) field.

That’s a tremendous number. And it’s growing because the understanding that design is critical to business is growing. New design graduates are not prepared for these jobs.

And keeping unfilled positions open isn’t practical. It is an unacceptable solution for companies. If you’re in a large company and have the resources to do so, you can create an internal school to create your own designers.

IBM is planning to hire 500+ UX folks in the next five years. IBM knows they have no other option but to hire people who may not have the complete skill set they need to do well within the company. So, IBM made their own internal school, a six-month program that’s a bit like designer boot camp.

This kind of program is necessary because it’s challenging to find people with the holistic skill set needed to perform well in our industry.

Companies know that designers and developers—UX folks—are part of their business solution. The bottom line is: experience sells. But these companies struggle to find talent with the right type of experience to craft the right type of experience for their customers. So they resort to expending a lot of resources to recruit and train a team.

We get these questions from hiring managers. What happens if you don’t want to bring education in-house? What happens if you don’t have endless resources? Where do you find the talent you need?