The second-largest metropolitan area in the United States and neighbor to the famous Silicon Valley, Los Angeles is routinely referred to as one of the best places for expanding tech companies as well as start-ups that are looking to get on the grid. For the UX professionals who flock to the area in pursuit of the many opportunities, there are an endless number of resources available.
More than 500 tech start-ups call Silicon Beach home, including now-massive names like Snapchat, Hulu, and Demand Media (the mogul behind eHow and Livestrong). In addition to start-ups, some of the most popular corporations from the Silicon Valley (Google, Facebook, YouTube, Buzzfeed, and many others) have opened up offices in what is now thought to be the third-largest tech hub in the world. Historically, Silicon Beach has encompassed the southwest side of Los Angeles, including the outlying areas of Santa Monica, Playa Vista, and Venice. However, as L.A.’s tech industry expands, so is Silicon Beach. Tech companies can now be found well into downtown and even in parts of Hollywood.
Being such a large part of the technological world, Los Angeles has the opportunity to host several of the world’s most popular UX conferences each year. In 2015 alone, the city will have played host to the 2015 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) International Annual Meeting, the Smashing Conference, and hundreds of smaller-scale seminars.
When it comes to finding organizations in the L.A. area, many UX professionals choose to join the Los Angeles User Experience Professionals Association (a chapter of the international UXPA). With more than 2,000 members who band together for events like happy hour meet-ups, mini conferences, and even a “UX Camp,” the organization provides its members many beneficial tools: online forums and articles relating to the UX scene in LA; exclusive membership event listings and networking opportunities, and many other resources.
When it comes to finding low-key meet-ups in Los Angeles, UX professionals will not be disappointed. The UX Breakfast Club and Other Fun Activities is a Santa Monica-based group of nearly 500, as of this writing. As its name suggests, UX professionals are welcome to join others in the field for breakfast (and other fun activities, of course) every month. In a rather unusual (although quite convenient) approach to UX meet-ups, the UX Book Club Los Angeles hosts discussions on books that pertain to user experience. The catch? It all happens virtually! Using online forums to host discussions, the real treat is their live-streamed events, where they bring in authors from members’ favorite books. For those looking for a larger-scale group to join, The Los Angeles User Experience Meet-Up has thousands of followers, making it one of the world’s largest UX communities. The group organizes multiple activities every month, providing professionals with opportunities to network, engage in peer mentorship, and attend local seminars. Many of the individual events are catered to specific groups of UX-ers within the field (including researchers, developers, analysts, information architects, etc.). Interested individuals can check out Meetup.com to find specific groups and event information.
The City of Angels is continuously drawing talented UX professionals, thanks to the huge tech hub that it’s becoming; consequently, there are extensive resources and opportunities available to those pursuing a thriving career here.
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