What’s the difference between UX, UI, and web development? Good question! In this post, we’ll be exploring these three related areas to clear up any confusion. Whether you're just beginning your career or looking to switch from one field to another, this article will help you learn more about each of these roles and how they differ.

What Is User Experience (UX) Design?

User experience (UX) design is a subset of web design that focuses on the interaction between people and products. The goal of a UX Designer is to raise the user’s satisfaction with the product by making it more efficient, engaging, user-friendly, accessible, and enjoyable. To reach this goal, UX Designers must conduct user research and test prototypes to gather valuable data which will guide their final design choices. 

What Is User Interface (UI) Design?

User interface (UI) design is a specialization of web design that deals with all the interactive elements on a website. UI Designers are responsible for designing, developing, and organizing interactive website components such as buttons, widgets, scroll bars, menus, search fields, sliders, tabs, and icons. When creating these designs, the UI Designer must make sure they adhere to the client’s style guide so the website’s overall look remains consistent.

What Is Web Development?

Web development is all the coding work that goes into the creation and maintenance of a website. The job of a Web Developer requires using a variety of coding languages to make websites that are functional, user-friendly, and visually appealing while also meeting additional project specifications. The websites that Web Developers create can vary in complexity from a simple, plain-text webpage to a complicated ecommerce or social networking site plus practically anything in between.

There are three separate specialties within the field of web development: front end, back end, and full stack development. Front end web development deals exclusively with the parts of a website that users interact with. Front End Web Developers use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to code all of a website’s visual elements, ensuring that the site is both aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly. Back End Web Developers use advanced programming languages such as Java, Python, PHP along with frameworks like Django, Ruby on Rails, and Express.js to code and maintain the website’s database, server, and applications. Full stack web development is a combination of both front end and back end development, incorporating aspects of both types.

Key Differences between UX, UI, and Web Development

While web development, UI, and UX are all essential in the creation of websites, there are a few key differences between them, including: 

  • Web development is its own field while UI and UX are specializations within the field of web design. 
  • Because they’re subsets of web design, both UX and UI are more focused on design elements and aesthetics instead of the technical aspects of a website. 
  • UX and UI are both front-end only while web development deals with both the client side and server side of a website. 
  • It’s useful for a Web Developer to have some knowledge of UX and UI, especially if they work on the front end, but the opposite isn’t necessarily true; UX and UI designers don’t really need to be well versed in web development because there’s no coding required.
  • As specializations of web design, UX and UI are more focused on details rather than the overall end product. For example, UX Designers are mostly concerned about how the intended audience will interact with the website and whether it’s user-friendly. UI Designers are focused on minute details that users interact with like buttons, scroll bars, menus, search fields, and tabs.

Outlook for UX, UI, and Web Development Careers

Now is a great time to start a new career in UX, UI, or web development; the web design and development industries are experiencing tremendous growth and are in dire need of new recruits to help fill open positions. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be 17,900 jobs opening up in web development and digital design every year from now until 2030. That equals a 13% job growth rate, which is significantly higher than the average growth for all occupations, which is predicted to be 8% over the next decade.

Salaries for those working in web development, UX, and UI can vary based on location, experience, and area of expertise, but they do tend to be lucrative career choices overall. The average salaries for Front End, Back End, and Full Stack Developers typically run around $100,000 in the United States. UX and UI Designers typically earn a bit less than that on average with UI Designers earning $78,000 and UX Designers bringing in $90,000 per year. These salaries are far higher than the average for all job categories, which was close to $56,000 in 2020.

Which Career Path Is Right for Me: UX, UI, or Web Development?

UX, UI, and web development all deal with the creation of websites, but they tend to attract people with vastly different interests and capabilities. As specializations of web design, UX and UI are often the preferred choice for artistic people with lots of creative ideas who love designing beautiful things. These career paths also appeal to people who want to focus their attention on the way users experience websites and improve their interactions. Web development, on the other hand, tends to attract more analytical and technically-minded people who enjoy solving complex problems. 

If you’re seriously considering choosing either one of these fields as a career path, but you don’t know which is a better fit, the key question to ask yourself is this: Would I prefer a job that’s creative and deals with aesthetics and the user’s experience or am I better suited to technical work that requires coding, problem-solving, and high attention to detail? 

How to Start a Career in UX, UI, or Web Development

The best way to start a career in web development, UX, or UI is to enroll in a bootcamp. Often viewed as a viable alternative to university education, these skills-focused programs operate on an intensive, abbreviated schedule to get you career-ready in just a few months’ time. That’s especially good news when you consider how many open positions there are in these fields; you can start to earn back your financial investment shortly after graduation.

Noble Desktop offers live online bootcamps for both web design and web development. They provide a variety of web development bootcamps including a front end web development bootcamp and a full stack web development bootcamp. There are also several web design bootcamps to choose from including a specialized UX & UI design bootcamp.

If you’re not ready for a full bootcamp, you could start on your new career path by enrolling in individual UX, UI, or web development classes. Noble Desktop has a wide array of both front and back end web development classes available covering languages and tools such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, Ruby on Rails, Git, Flexbox, React, and more. Topics covered in Noble’s web design courses include UX design, UI design,  Adobe XD, Photoshop, Illustrator, plus essential Graphic Design and Visual Design principles.