While nearly everybody relies on software on a daily basis, and very often for much of the day, most people do not spend much time thinking about the text they interact with inside their software user interface. Despite that, these words play an absolutely indispensable role in making any program or operating system easy and enjoyable to use.
All of these texts are crafted by UX writers. Without them, software as we know it would not exist. What do UX writers earn per year, on average, and what factors influence the annual salaries of these professionals?
Average Salary for UX Writers
Writers and authors across the United States earn a median salary of $67,120 per year, as of May 2020. Annual salaries within this broader profession can range from less than $35,880 annually to more than $133,460, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
Where do UX writers — who are indeed writers, but within a very specific niche — fall into this picture? Because the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not keep track of salary data in this branch, we can examine data from privately-owned salary-tracking platforms to discover more.
- The popular platform Glassdoor estimates that UX writers based in the United States currently earn an average salary of $112,739 on an annual basis. They add that even the lowest-paid UX writers can make a very solid salary of $80,000 per year, while the top-earning UX writers potentially bring in as much as $159,000 annually.
- According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for UX writers amounts to $119,531, while ranges from $67,500 to $161,000 per year are typical in this field.
- UX Writing Hub, an industry-specific platform which surveyed numerous professionals who are currently working as UX writers, indicates that UX writers in the US earn a median annual salary of $110,000. This would make UX writers almost the top earners in the software-related writing sector, second only to content designers.
It is important to note that professionals who officially hold job titles such as senior UX writer, UX designer, or UX strategist may mainly spend their time as UX writers as well, and even hold the same skill sets. They tend to earn significantly more than those who hold the job of UX writer, however.
What Do UX Writers Make Per Hour?
Data provided by the platform ZipRecruiter would indicate that the average hourly rate among UX writers currently stands at an impressive $57 per hour.
As averages are largely statistical entities, this would mean that some UX writers will earn $30 per hour, or even less, while others enjoy a significantly higher hourly wage, at $70 or even above.
Based on Experience
Relevant and high-quality work experience tends to lead to a higher earning potential in almost every industry. UX writing is no exception. The results of the large survey conducted by UX Writing Hub indicates that UX writers who have at least a decade of relevant experience earn double the salary of those who have been in the field for less than a year.
Before an aspiring UX writer reaches the conclusion that it will take them a long time to work their way up the salary ladder, however, it is important to note that this absolutely doesn’t mean that you need 10 years of experience as a UX writer! Other work experience as a writer, and particularly a writer in the tech field, counts as well.
Based on Education
No clear data is available to show how the qualifications a UX writer has earned impact their earning potential, and it is not unlikely that some professionals who currently enjoy successful and rewarding careers as UX writers have completed a degree that is not specific to software, such as in journalism, communications, or English.
A more-closely related degree may raise an aspiring UX writer’s odds of negotiating a better salary, however. These degrees include those in interaction design, human interface technology, design computing, and interactive media.
Top Paying States for UX Writers
Data provided by ZipRecruiter suggests that UX writers who are based in the states of California, Alaska, Wyoming, and Maryland, as well as those who live in Washington, DC, tend to earn annual salaries higher than the national average.
Within California, the top-paying jobs for UX writers can be found in Mountain View, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Buenaventura, and San Jose.
This data does not, in any way, mean that high-paying jobs for UX writers cannot be found in other locations. In fact, UX Writing Hub suggests that the sector in which a UX writer works has a larger impact on their salary than their location.
The same holds true for the size of the company they work at; UX writers employed in companies with over 1,000 employees earn, on average, a whopping $37,000 more every year than those who work at small startups.
UX writers who are employed in the government sector have the highest salaries, meanwhile; their median yearly wage is $128,000.
Job Outlook for UX Writers
The overall outlook for UX writers is very positive. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs within the technical writing sector are projected by grow by 12 percent between the present and the year 2030. This is significantly higher than the average national growth across all professions, which currently stands at eight percent.
In addition, as software is playing an increasingly important role in the lives of people all across the world, the demand for UX writers is especially likely to grow exponentially. Ambitious and driven UX writers can also realistically expect to be met with opportunities for career progression. They may, for instance, become senior UX writers or UX designers.
What Exactly Does a UX Writer Do?
UX writers are responsible for designing the texts that the users of the most diverse types of software will encounter as they navigate the products. A large percentage of the words UX writers create, and that will eventually become part of a particular software product, fall into the category of microcopy — very short messages.
This includes the words users encounter as they navigate the options within their web browsers, word processing programs, antivirus software, or games. UX writers strive to make sure that all of the copy they produce:
- Enhances user experience by making the software application more intuitive and easy to use.
- Is clear as well as unobtrusive.
- Reflects the company’s mission and values.
As such, UX writers are most certainly writers — but they are also a crucial part of the product design team. Ultimately, UX writers make software more “human”. That means friendlier, more intuitive, and a familiar part of users’ everyday lives.
How to Become a UX Writer?
UX writers work in a dynamic field that is always evolving. Thanks to that fact, they are unlikely to ever run out of work. On the other hand, the fast-paced nature of the software industry also means that UX writers constantly need to stay up to date.
Aspiring UX writers will likely possess a Bachelor’s degree, or above, in a field related to writing or software design. They may build experience by working for small startups or as freelancers, and internships may also be available. As a UX writer accumulates experience, skills, and connections within the field, they may organically be offered jobs. They can also keep an eye on job postings, after which they can simply go through the application process.
Qualifications to Be a UX Writer
UX writers can have a variety of qualifications to be successful in this field.
Some will have a degree related to writing, such as journalism, communications, marketing, English, or even creative writing. More targeted degrees are also offered, however, and they include:
- Interaction Design
- Information Technology with a focus on User Design
- Interactive Media
- Communication Design
- Information Management
Skills to Be a UX Writer
UX writers rely on an extremely broad skill set. They will:
- Have an in-depth understanding of product design and user experience.
- Possess solid interpersonal skills that include being able to pay close attention to feedback from other team members and beta users alike.
- Be curious and driven individuals who are always willing to update their skill set — this field moves fast!
- Technical knowledge is another must for UX writers.
Can You Be a UX Writer Without a Degree?
Possibly. Within the field of information technology and software development, there are always non-traditional learners who have picked their skills and knowledge up on the job, or as a result of experimentation and self-study. As an increasing variety of degrees is offered within this field, however, most UX writers will have at least a Bachelor’s degree. This may be in a highly-related area of study, but that is not always the case.