Nice to meet a fellow introvert, UX Dude. =)
Definitely don’t let your introversion stop you from pursuing a career in UX.
Are introverts oppressed? I reckon yes. Extroverts are easy for introverts to understand, because extroverts tend to be more voluble, but introverts are hard for extroverts to understand. Extroverts seem to dominate public life, and therefore set the expectations. Many introverts are good at behaving like extroverts.
Being an introvert does not mean you’re more shy, depressed, anxious, misanthropic, feeble, negative, or intellectual than anyone else. It just means that, while extroverts are energised in the company of others, introverts get tired quicker if they’re around people all the time. It’s counter-intuitive, but introverts can be just as upfront and present when they need to be. There were a lot of actors in my university course, and a lot of them are introverts—which seems strange for people who were heading into careers on the stage or in front of the camera.
My advice is to build on your strengths: get alongside people and explain things you’re passionate about. It doesn’t all have to be front the front of a room, but I’d encourage you to work on your public speaking manner and to get used to making your voice heard—those skills will be very useful for your life ahead, and will make you a well-rounded and very employable professional. But never be ashamed of being an introvert.
Typically introverted attributes like being good at listening, reflecting, reasoning, arranging, thoughtfulness, thinking before speaking, thorough preparation, reading, researching and writing are all pretty ideal for UX roles, I think you’d agree. =)
Susan Cain did a fantastic TED talk about The Power of Introverts. She also does some other cool stuff on her website: The Quiet Revolution http://www.quietrev.com/
So, do UXers need serious communication skills? Yes, but that doesn’t exclude introverts at all. It just seems that way!