user interface developer
UI developers shape the way we interact with the digital world.

User interface (UI) developers combine programming, psychology and creative design to craft intuitive controls for software and hardware. The UI developer’s mission is to create an interface that behaves as users would it expect it to, facilitating a seamless and efficient user experience.

In the coming years, a record number of businesses will launch new computer systems and web-based applications to gain a competitive advantage in the increasingly digital world. Demand for talented user interface developers will flourish in all of these domains, including web, software and mobile application development.

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There is a range of UI development classes and college degrees featuring coursework in the skills needed to become a user interface developer. Compare UI development training programs in the U.S. and online below.

a.k.a. UI Engineer | Graphical User Interface (GUI) Designer | Mobile UI Developer | Web UI Developer

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UI Developer Skills & Responsibilities

Typical day-to-day activities and marketable skill sets for UI developers include the following. User interface developers:

  • Are fluent in the essential front-end web development languages, i.e., HTML, CSS and JavaScript.
  • Are skilled in modern application programming languages, such as Java, .Net, PHP, and Ruby.
  • Use Adobe Creative Suite programs, e.g., Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash & Flex to mockup UI elements.
  • Use responsive web design to create applications that automatically conform to multiple screen sizes/devices.
  • Conduct usability testing to identify and fix UI issues, and gather real-world intelligence from target users.
  • Use social network APIs (from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.) to integrate social actions.
  • Collaborate with business and IT decision makers to discuss user interface requirements and brainstorm UI ideas.
  • Use visual aids such as wireframes, storyboards and UI flow charts, to plan and present user interface designs.
  • Are familiar with popular content management systems (CMS), e.g., WordPress, Joomla!, Magneto & osCommerce.
  • Wield their knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to develop search-friendly websites and interfaces.
  • Keep current with the latest trends and best practices of UI/UX design and HCI (human-computer interaction).
  • UI development managers need superior soft skills in areas like verbal/written communication, team leadership and project management, to effectively communicate with business decision-makers and subordinates.

User Interface Developer Salary

The average salary for User Interface Developers in the U.S. is $91,000 per year.

UI Developer Salary $91,000


Salaries for UI Developers and related positions by experience, medium and specialization:

  • User Interface Designer: $85,000
  • User Experience Designer: 86,000
  • Front-End Web Developer: $90,000
  • User Interface Developer: $91,000
  • iOS User Interface Developer: $93,000
  • Android User Interface Developer: $96,000
  • Lead User Experience Designer: $99,000
  • Principal User Interface Designer: $101,000
  • Senior User Interface Developer: $111,000

The hourly wage for user interface developers ranges from $25 to $100 per hour, depending on the individual’s experience, geographic location, skill set and portfolio.

The uniquely projectized nature of user interface development translates to a decent number of contract positions with monthly compensation. The monthly UI developer pay scale ranges from $8,600 to $9,700 per month. As you can see, contractors tend to make a higher per-unit wage than full-time employees, in lieu of the stability and benefits of full-time work.

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UI Developer Education Requirements

UI development employers typically require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree, with a major in Computer Science, Web Development, Human-Computer Interaction, Mobile Computing, Graphic Design, Software Engineering or a related field of study. As in most creative, project-driven roles, a strong portfolio of your best work will play a key role in UI developer hiring and pay.

Marketable skills to look for in an UI development education program include front-end web development, interactive media design, human-computer interaction, usability testing, mobile development, graphic design, and team-centric soft skills, such as effective interpersonal communication, leadership and project management. Marketable programming skills for UI developers include HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, JSON, jQuery, Java, Ruby on Rails, and SQL database development. UI devs will also benefit from learning Photoshop, Flash, Flex and Illustrator from the Adobe Creative Suite.

The subject matter in UI development training lends itself well to both live online ILT and self-paced distance learning.

Compare the top-ranked courses and degrees that align with user interface developers’ training & skills requirements.

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UI Developer Certifications

There are no widely recognized certifications for user interface developers. IT certifications are used to validate your skills and accomplishments to prospective employers; as a UI developer, your Portfolio will accomplish this objective.

Ideally, you should maintain an online portfolio of your best work, including screenshots, links, testimonials, and concise project descriptions. Your portfolio site should have multiple contact methods (including a secure web form) and, of course, a top-notch user interface that's indicative of your skills and style.

UX/UI design bootcamps can help you gain the skills and credentials to enter this field.

UI Developer Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, UI developer employment is expected to grow by 13% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the 8% projected rate for all occupations. Candidates in this field will find both full-time and part-time job openings, while UI developers with a mercenary spirit can hire out their skills to the highest bidder on a contract basis.

UI developers are in-demand across all industries, in both the public and private sectors, however e-commerce is a standout area for UI developer employment. Thousands of retailers and wholesalers flock to the Internet (and the mobileverse) every week in an effort to increase their reach in the fast growing digital marketplace. As more online sellers strive for differentiation in this competitive space, demand for talented UI developers will reach a fever pitch. Smart companies understand that the user interface is front-line in the online shopping experience and will pursue skilled and qualified UI developers accordingly. Developers with experience in the leading e-commerce content management systems (CMS), such as Magneto, WordPress, osCommerce and OpenCart, will be well-positioned to capitalize on this demand.

Due to rapid growth of the Internet and mobile computing, and recent advances in software and hardware capabilities, UI development job openings outnumber the pool of qualified professionals, otherwise known as an IT skills gap.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook

User Interface Development Jobs

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About the Author

IT Subject Matter ExpertDaniel Greenspan is the founder and Editor-in-chief of ITCareerFinder. Working closely with IT professionals, world-class trainers, and hiring managers since 2005 has given him unique insight into the information technology job market and the skills and credentials IT pros need to succeed.