Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel
Isaiah Hankel
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist
user experience

Join Isaiah and Erika as they reveal the strategies for PhDs to get hired into User Experience (UX) Researcher roles in record time 

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah explains what are User Experience Research roles and why they are available for PhDs
  • Next, Isaiah and Erika reveal why PhDs are a getting hired for user experience roles 
  • Finally, Isaiah and Erika discus the strategies for PhDs to get hired in user experience roles

From This Week’s Show… 

The User Experience Researcher Roles Available For PhDs

User experience researcher roles is one of the most exciting and buzz worthy career tracks that is available for PhDs now. Employers want to hire PhDs into these roles because of their understanding of the difference between quantitative and qualitative data and their importance. Every company has a website, apps that generate metrics that can be analyzed quantitatively to understand user experiences, while qualitative data are obtained through one-on-one interactions with the users. These data are crucial for all industries may it be biotech companies, retail, hospitality, or the service industry.

The global demand for user experience researchers is on the surge and is expected to grow exponentially. From a reference point view, the growth rate is 10X higher than most industries that are growing. PhDs are preferred in user experience roles since they know how to compile data from various sources, analyze them, and convey it as a story. As PhDs, we have had to tell a story with data for article publications or grants. The importance of analyzing the data correctly and telling a story with it forms the backbone of user experience roles. 

Why PhDs Are The Ideal Hires For User Experience Researcher Roles

User Experience Researcher roles let PhDs work with a team and witness the impact of their research. They create a product and also visualize the journey of the product as it goes into the market. Product retention is an important goal in the industry.

Companies are increasingly realizing that in order to get people to keep using their product, they need to create an experience that people love. Therefore, they need to shift their focus from the product itself, to the experience that a user has while interacting with the product. Industries need people who have expertise in conducting research, interpreting the data, and communicating the research results to a general audience. Hence, a lot of the companies look for PhDs for these roles.

PhDs also have experience in troubleshooting, often they have had to get on a call or chat with customer service to troubleshoot an instrument. So, they are adept to figure out the problem, solve it, and get their research done. Troubleshooting is an integral part for several companies. Therefore, they need PhDs in this role to make the user experience better because the user experience is the product. 

Strategies For PhDs To Be Hired In UX Research Roles

User Experience Research is multidisciplinary; your background as a PhD—STEM or non STEM—humanities, social sciences, life sciences, chemistry, does not matter. It is your ability to understand quantitative and qualitative research and your ability to analyze that will get you hired into this role. 

It is really exciting as a PhD because you get a lot of data that impact the real world and real people. You get to come in as the respected person who is able to figure out the rationale and supplement the design and programming team. As a UX researcher, you have this specialized knowledge because you understand data and can tell a story with it. 

A typical user experience project starts from collecting feedback from the stakeholders about their objectives, intentions, and aspirations with this research. While they have assumptions, they also have some research questions which PhDs can best answer. This is a collaborative process where you listen to your stakeholders to get their objectives, help them to frame the research questions, and select the most appropriate research method. PhDs compile these data into reports or present them in a slide in a way that the stakeholders can understand and appreciate.

Over 90% of PhDs that we’ve gotten hired into this role had no previous experience before their first job in that role. That doesn’t matter. You can still get hired by speaking the language of user experience, understanding the day-to-day metrics of success, product development, and having access to people working in that role for referrals. PhDs need both technical skills and the transferable skills to get hired into user experience roles. Skills as business acumen.

Your PhD experience has endowed you with the key to the kingdom, recognize your worth as a PhD. 

** for the full podcast, check out the audio player above.

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