A very interesting 2014 article by JAKOB NIELSEN and SUSAN FARRELL.
Its backed by a survey wherein 1015 UX professionals responded. Key highlights are
- Job satisfaction among UXers is pretty good.
- Its a field with extreme diversity. Majority worked in more than 1 platform [web, mobile, desktop]. Research also found that there is high level of diversity in work activities. About 43% of respondent work on User research, IxD, IA (information architecture). Main learning here was that there is no single defining characteristic of UX careers.
- Not many had a direct degree related to UX. With respect to direct degree, HCI(Human Computer Interaction) dominated by 11%. Respondent had a degree from disciplines like MBA, psychology, programming, HCI, information architechture, information science, human factors etc. So one thing is sure that no direct UX degree doesn’t hinder your chances of making career into UX.
- Majority of respondents recommend mediums like books, blogs, articles etc for UX learning. And yes a mixture of theory and practice matters too. You can run a small usability test or redesign a horrendous screen or do a mini IA project. For newcomers, getting an internship or finding a mentor is also a way to go.
- Job titles wise too lot of diversity here. 210 unique job title found among 1015 respondent. UX Designer job title dominated by 6% only.