The tech industry in Denver has transformed in a matter of years, and companies that were once known only on the coasts are setting up camp in Denver. But before you consider drinking the kool-aid and making the move to Denver, Colorado, it's helpful to look at why Denver is such a great place for UX Designers to call home.
Colorado's tech market employs thousands of people and shows no signs of slowing down. Colorado is home to 2,996 tech companies, according to Built in Colorado, an online community for Colorado startups and tech companies where you can find startup jobs, tech news, and events.
Colorado’s 100 biggest digital tech companies alone employ more than 25,000 people. The plethora of different companies that call for UX Designers means that there are plenty of opportunities and reasons to call Denver home.
If you're coming from a city where 50+ hour work weeks are the norm and looking for a better work/life balance, Denver could be a good fit. There are many reasons why Denver is the best city for work/life balance. While there are always trade-offs, in general, many companies both encourage and support employees in their need for flexibility with work and home schedules. This means more time to enjoy Colorado's activities and scenery.
With a Median Household Income of $73,250 and an unemployment rate of 2.4%, Denver is still ranked #4 for business and careers.
What can a UX designer expect to make in Denver, Colorado? According to Built in Colorado, The average base salary for a UX Designer is $83,220/yr and $104,714/yr for a Senior UX Designer. Glassdoor puts Denver's average base pay for UX Designer’s at $87,505/yr. While that's still 19% below the national average, the salaries and size of the industry are comparable with other high-ranking metros, and the cost of living is typically more affordable than other major cities.
Beyond Denver’s growing tech market, what makes Denver a great place for UXers? According to Toni, Lead UX researcher at Gloo with over 15 years business experience, and has lived in the greater Denver area for 9 years, it is the diverse set of challenges companies expose UX employees to. “We are a young and growing tech hub where designers can work on wicked problems in a huge scope of topics. Our industry isn't limited to just financial services or adtech, ” says Toni. “(What makes Denver unique is our) housing differences, accelerators and bootcamps, and our deep hold on all things data."
There are plenty of places that offer free WiFi and are a great station for remote work. Work among travelers in the 100-year-old historic landmark, Union Station lobby, enjoy Denver Skyline views on the top floor of Avanti Food and Beverage or enjoy great coffee and tamales at the bike-shop-turned-cafe, Denver Bicycle Cafe.
In order to keep your creative inspiration flowing, it's important for UXers to have creative outlets in the city where they work and play. There’s a reason why Denver is now one of the best cities for art and design.
Denver has a long-standing art and design culture, celebrating big annual events like Denver Arts Week, monthly First Friday Art Walks, and atypical museum events like Black Sheep Friday’s when you’re in the mood to unwind and have fun in a creative environment. Not to mention, Denver has the second largest performing arts center in the nation after Lincoln Center in New York City.
Denver has a strong UX community for UX designers, researchers, and strategists who have both been working in the field for years, UX “newbies,” and those looking to transition into UX. Here are just a few of the groups that help contribute and support Denver’s UX community, and make it a great place for existing and aspiring UXers:
Just as important as on-the-job experience is free and low-cost educational resource to help you learn and grow as a UX Design professional. Denver is home to many free large-scale events that offer free and affordable workshops, panels, and classes to help buttress your existing experience within the field:
In summary, Denver's growing tech marketing, art, and design culture, and variety of resources for people within the UX design field make it a great place to consider (if you haven't already) calling home. We didn't touch on all of the UX opportunities available but recommend doing your own research on what companies will best fit your needs.
Whether you're a Colorado-based designer, out-of-state job-seeker, or hiring manager looking for talking points on why Denver's great, we hope this list is a good reference to help highlight Denver's attractiveness as your next career basecamp and home.
Clients don’t always know to ask the right questions, and they often miss some important details that are hiding in plain sight.