What Is a UI Developer?
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated April 22, 2021 | Published March 15, 2021
Updated April 22, 2021
Published March 15, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
UI developers play an important role in maximizing technology products for seamless user interaction. They're responsible for employing a variety of tactics and collaborating with other development professionals to create intuitive applications for users to enjoy. If you're considering a fulfilling career as a UI developer, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the role, its average responsibilities and how the position differs from other related roles. In this article, we outline what a UI developer is, what they do, how they differ from front-end developers and provide information on the average salary and job outlook of UI developers.
Related: Learn About Becoming a UI Developer
What is a UI developer?
A user interface (UI) developer is a technological professional that translates creative design concepts into tangible, utilizable materials in the development of software applications. They are primarily responsible for crafting the graphic materials of software for functional implementation. When UI developers perform such work, they often do so with user and organizational needs in mind. UI developers typically work in the technology industry for companies that specialize in software application, software publishing, finance, computer manufacturing, electronics and company management.
The role of UI developer combines disciplines like programming, consumer psychology and graphic arts to generate software that can be navigated intuitively. While identifying efficient frameworks and tools for product development, UI professionals focus on conforming to the typical behavior and expectations of consumers. This expertise greatly informs the design of interfaces these developers create. It's important to note that the role of UI developers differs from that of user experience (UX) developers. While UI developers work to design user components, like interactive digital media elements, UX developers focus on building the software coding behind how such user-friendly elements behave.
What does a UI developer do?
A UI developer may be responsible for an array of duties depending on their specific role and what industry they work in. Regardless of situational factors, though, UI developers are typically in charge of planning, developing and implementing convenient and aesthetically appealing interfaces. In the digital sector, the term interface applies to any detail that a user may interact with. With this, UI developers work toward optimizing these interfaces to maximize a user's interaction with a product. Here is an extensive list of the various duties a UI developer may assume in their day-to-day role:
Using illustration software to sketch and prepare graphic materials
Scaling and adjusting interface concepts for resolution optimization
Analyzing needs and behavior of a product's target user base
Identifying necessary design components for a product's operating system
Designing functional interfaces with convenient features
Prioritizing aesthetic qualities of interfaces
Facilitating a seamless user interaction
Collaborating with UX professionals and front-end developers
Performing simulation tests on UI elements
Conducting usability tests and collecting data from target users
Integrating social activities through social networking APIs
Interfacing with business professionals and management
Operating content management systems
Managing search engine optimization
Staying updated on current UI trends
Average salary and job outlook for a UI developer
A UI developer's salary may depend on their exact role, duties, location and industry. As is the case with many professionals, UI developers are often compensated at higher rates as they gain more experience and seniority in their positions. On average, though, UI developers earn $83,954 per year with the potential for cash bonuses of $3,000 per year.
The career outlook for UI developers is quite promising. As more companies prepare to develop digital elements and software products in the near future, the demand for UI developers will likely increase. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of web developers and digital designers, like UI developers, will increase by as much as 8% in the next 10 years from 2019 to 2029. This projected growth rate is much faster than average, which can likely be attributed to the technology industry's expedient rate of growth.
UI developer vs. front-end developer
Many professionals outside of the technology field confuse UI developers with front-end developers, often citing that they're essentially the same role. This is a common misconception that stems from the fact that UI developers and front-end developers collaborate on the same products and work toward similar goals. Despite this, though, the two roles are divergent in their responsibilities and competencies. Here are a few of the differences and similarities between UI developers and front-end developers to help you better understand both roles:
Some similarities between the two roles include:
Working toward optimizing UI: Front-end developers and UI developers alike work toward a common goal of creating functional and navigable user interfaces. They work together to optimize a product's UI.
Staying updated on user interface trends: Both UI and front-end developers must stay informed about current trends within UI design and implementation. This is particularly important, as such trends dictate their work and the success of the products they develop.
Finding solutions to UI issues: It's common for both UI developers and front-end developers to troubleshoot solutions to issues they identify with interfaces. Since they are both involved with the product development phase, UI developers and front-end developers must troubleshoot such issues before a product goes to market.
Primary differences between UI and front-end developers typically include:
Primary objectives and responsibilities: UI developers and front-end developers have varying objectives and responsibilities in their roles. UI developers work toward the objective of designing visually appealing interfaces that users can operate with convenience. Comparatively, front-end developers work toward implementing the interface and ensuring that it functions smoothly.
Skill set necessary: Because they are responsible for different duties, UI developers and front-end developers typically have unique skill sets. As mentioned above, UI developers combine disciplines like design, engineering and consumer psychology in their work. Front-end developers utilize a wide array of inter-industry technical skills, like programming, web development, database architecture and engineering.
Tools used: Since UI developers and front-end developers work on different parts of user interfaces, they utilize different tools to accomplish their goals. Front-end developers often use web browsers and software development tools. Comparatively, UI developers often use design software, such as creative illustrating applications.
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