How can I make an income in UX outside my main 9-5 job, using my backend software development skills?

Ive been thinking about using my 20 years in software to produce some digital products.

First thing I need to get my head around, when most of you think of UX design, you are thinking of websites right?

This is where I have clashed in the past as I come from designing million dollar systems. UX design is part of system design or business analysis, its NOT a seperate career in the IT fiield generally, however it is growing and I see it on seek, looking for Business Analysts with UX design skills. Ballsamiq prototyping, producing RAD project management fast iterations, like Agile but without the need for stupid naming conventions haha.

Anyway, Im wanting to produce Ebooks, blogs, possibly youtube channels and UX based products.

What can I sell? What is it you all are mostly selling, individual UX designed Websites?

So of course I want to include he 3 main sources of marketing income.

Has anybody else produced good results?

UX isn’t a tangible end product that you can sell on a marketplace, it sounds like you’re confusing UX with wireframing/prototyping. In my view, UX is all about the discovery and definition of user motivations/pain points and this involves a lot of user research and analysis. It’s the time and effort before a box in a wireframe is even drawn. And then it’s the effort in iterating over designs based on user feedback. This can apply to both websites or systems/products.

In terms of what to sell, it’s tough. There’s training videos, books about how to get better at the different phases of UX, consultancy… maybe tools, but there are many established players already here.

It sounds like it’s the terminology that is confusing you? What you describe here sounds like a web design template? These tend to be designed with UI/usability best practices in mind, but until they involve actual users, it’s not UX


Haha of course not. Perhaps I didnt word what I am asking well.

UX in Business and Systems Analysis, was the gateway to UX design careers, because by the share nature of designing systems you have to understand the stakeholders use cases. All that takes place well before you write you business requirements etc in the SDLC.

What Im asking is, a LOT of people on here are selling themselves as UX designers, yet what they show for it is an end result, a portfolio of static (I consider anything that doesnt link to a DB domninantly static) websites.

So what are people on here making money from using UX skill sets.

I have an extensive corporate UX background, but not so much dealing with individuals etc. Ive developed MS, its not really bad, but I need to cut my commute out and dealing with 8 fiigure pieces of software and being sole responsible takes its toll.

I can however use my design skills still, I enjoy engaging with people an understanding what they require, regardless of the end product, be it a website or a full blown web app, or a C++ to Oracle app, its all the same to me.

But it seems the large percentage on here are focussed on fairly static sites, which Im wondering if there is a living to be made in this arena, given the freelance type websites have somebody in developing countries offering the same product for 1/5th the price, although in my experience outsourcing, communication for bad work or even negative test results ended up being cheaper to hire local specialists.

Anyway, back to my question, what to do outside the 9-5 grind with my UX and Design (wireframing etc) to back end, well anything you like skills.

I think people who get good at say web development, when I say good I mean as in getting good amounts of work, are via word of mouth. That is something I do have on my side, a lot of contacts nationally and internationally.

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I don’t sell anything besides my services, but I see you’re looking for something more scalable. Something with a larger upfront investment and a fatter tail.

I think your perspective about UX overlapping with BAs, focusing on systems analysis, etc, is a bit out of the usual conversation within the public UX space. By public, i’m referring to what you might hear from bigger players and thinkers in the space, and the social media folks echoing them. Goodwin, Spool, Natoli :wink: , Monteiro, etc. They seem to focus on the qualitative human side, and how it interacts with business (stewarding expectations and leadership, but also strategy and profit).

Needless to say, since I believe this is the case, I think you might have something worth sharing, worth buying.

I’m not exactly sure how you want to tie your backend experience into the sales though - you want to build your own platform? or you want to share how you apply some particular methodologies to more complex technical systems?

If i’m hearing you right, your background reminds me a little bit of my own, I just have less than 1/2 the years. I used to refer to JJG’s framing of the areas of UX (, and sometimes referred to myself as an interaction designer, doing basically work from the bottom, up to the 3rd or 4th layer. What i might describe as a the process of designing user-facing systems; the research, artifact creation, and testing of complex user-facing systems. or something like that. (here’s an example project: )

a project i had started but dropped was how i actually do competition research. what the viewer got was an in-depth understanding of the app i was researching, a look at what that research looks like documented, my informal process for chunking up the research, and how all the information would be used in the next steps. the viewer would see the app i was using in real time on one side of the screen. on the other would be my system mapping and note taking, in real time.