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The following aims to give an insight into the current conditions within the User Experience marketplace, looking at:
- The state of the market
- Emerging trends that Employers are looking for
- Opportunity Levels
- Geographical Trends
What is the state of the market currently?
Put simply, the demand for UX is significant. For the past 4 or 5 months I have consistently had 35-45 permanent opportunities and numerous contract positions to fill. With regard to the spread of these opportunities, as you would perhaps expect, a large number are based within digital agencies; however there is a noticeable increase in the number of opportunities for more technical UX professionals, particularly within the software industry, opening the door for developers that are looking to transition into UX. On the client-side, the realisation of the need for first class user experiences continues to grow, but mostly larger organisations are investing in in-house teams, with others continuing to outsource to digital agencies and freelance resource.
What are Employers looking for?
Gone are the days that a CV alone was enough to secure an interview; a presentable, concise portfolio is an absolute must, whether this is PDF or HTML. This will contain a fair cross-section of your recent work, NDA allowing, and will be annotated to explain the thought process that accompanied or lead to the deliverables that are presented (See Xcede’s portfolio guide for more details).
As far as actual skills required, the growing need for rapid prototyping is undeniable. Yes, it is nice to be able to spend plenty of time testing with users, paper prototyping and developing wireframes accordingly, but the truth of the matter is that this is not always possible with the time constraints are often in place, and more and more employers are demanding rapid prototyping skills as a means of saving time. I am also seeing an increasing demand for the understanding of analytical tools such as Google Analytics or Omniture as a means of creating a more effective iterative process in house, and as a way of demonstrating measurable added value on the agency side.
I cannot stress enough the importance of versatility within User Experience within the platforms on which you will work. Web, Mobile, Tablet and Kiosk; as well as Social Media and Interactive TV all present different challenges, but is important that you are able to adapt to work with more than just web. Previously, web was the key platform that employers would look for, but mobile experience is now essential in the majority of roles. I would add that if you are looking to be more specialist, then pursuing solely mobile, or touch screen platforms can be very lucrative.
Finally, I do feel compelled to add that aside from the technical stuff, passion, punctuality and a smile also go a long way!
Contact Chris on 0203 301 9905 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to discuss any User Experience Vacanies.