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How to Become a UX Researcher With no Experience?

education Sep 14, 2022

User Experience Design has been gaining popularity as the demand for designers grows. UX Design focuses on the user-product relationship and on creating efficient designs. Another profession that might not be quite as well known is User Experience Research.

Similar to UX Design, UX Research is a well-paying position in the tech industry. UX Research positions have an average salary of $100,778. If you are interested in the analytical side of UX Design, UX Research might be right for you.


What is UX Research?

We often do not think about how much planning goes into the design of everyday things. When building a website, every element has a specific rhyme or reason behind it. Or at least it should. This is where User Experience (UX) Research comes into play. UX Research plays an essential role in the design process. Research finds problems and solutions through data collection, observation, and testing. These problems and solutions are then communicated to the rest of the design team to make beautiful websites that serve a purpose. Therefore, UX Research reveals users' needs, motivations, and behaviors.


What Does a UX Researcher Do?

UX researchers aim to improve the design of websites by researching user needs and trends. They specialize in interface testing and market analysis. 

The day-to-day responsibilities of a UX Researcher usually include:

  • Creating Research Plans
  • Uncovering User Needs
  • Using strategies such as Surveys
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Discovering Targeted Users


What Are The Steps to Become a UX Researcher?

  • Make sure UX Research is proper for you - If you enjoy problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and helping people, you may be a great fit for UX Research. Gauging your skills and interests is important to see what career path is right for you.
  • Get an education or certificate in UX Design/Research - There are a few different options we will discuss for getting educated.

Option 1: Bootcamps Bootcamps have become increasingly popular due to their ease of entry, strong support network, job assistance, self-paced opportunities, efficiency, cost, and mentorship. Bootcamps can range in cost from around $300-$15,000. Make sure you research and read our article on the best UX design bootcamps.

Option 2: Self-taught This option is best for those with a lot of time and a strong work ethic. Teaching yourself an entirely new career can be worthwhile if you have the right resources and want to save money. There are a lot of free materials online to help you learn UX Design, although it can be tricky to cover everything yourself. Read our previous article to learn more.

Option 3: University A formal university can be a good fit for those who have not started a career or had a formal education. However, you can get a UX design job without a degree. Universities are often very expensive, time-consuming, and have varying amounts of job support. If you go the university route, you will get an in-depth education in UX Design as well as many other topics.

  • Build a Portfolio - Once you have an education and have gained experience in the field, you’ll need to put together a portfolio. This is important because you’ll need to be organized and communicate your past projects to land a job. A perfect example of how crucial a killer portfolio can be is Avocademy. Graduate Benny Sun, only one month after starting to apply, Benny accepted an offer as a UX Researcher from Morgan Stanley. Benny went from having no experience to becoming a UX Research connoisseur. Check out Benny's portfolio here.
  • Apply to jobs the final step is to apply, apply, apply! Do not be discouraged if you don’t hear back from the first couple of applications you send out. UX Research is a growing market with great demand.


What is the difference between UX Design and UX Research?

It can be tough to distinguish UX Research roles from UX Design roles. This is because UX research is a part of the overall UX design process. There are some UX Design roles in which the designer will carry out the entire process, from research to prototyping to user interface (UI) design elements. In other cases, there will be separate positions for UX Research and UI Design.

A UX Researcher will do the first stage before the design process begins. They will conduct initial research using methods such as surveys, market research, focus groups, and usability testing.  After this, a UX Designer will focus on completing the design of the project. They will create initial layouts of the website, called wireframes, work on the placement of certain elements, and create graphics. The role of the UX Researcher makes the design process much more efficient because both the designer and the researcher can focus all their attention on their positions instead of carrying out the entire process themselves.

If you’re still not sure which UX path is best for you, we would suggest starting some hands-on learning to see what you like. At the end of the day, you will never know unless you try.


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Brynn is an aspiring UX designer who loves the beach, cooking, and meeting new people. She loves her avocados on a big salad or in a breakfast burrito.


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