I have been a software developer for the past 5+ years and am considering switching to a role that is less focused on coding/development. UX design is one of the paths I am considering.
My two most recent positions were very broad development roles at small companies, where I did some front-end development but also a lot of business logic and data access work. At my most recent job, I was mentoring a junior developer on the team. For several months, I led him in sessions explaining HCI principles that I had learned in an introductory HCI course in college, supplementing it with more material from Jakob Nielsen and Donald Norman. (I have a bachelor's degree in computer science.)
I've always done development work with a UI design book on my desk, made sure that UIs I designed looked as professional as possible, and made sure to follow accepted design principles. But as a mentor, I truly rediscovered my strong interest in HCI and UX - and my passion for making sure that users have the most positive experience that they can while using software.
Before I begin shifting my career toward UX, I would really like to know what it is like to work in UX and what my expectations should be.
Within the broader classification of UX, which more specific roles suit themselves well to people with software development backgrounds? What kind of UX-related role can I reasonably expect to get in the near future with my background?
Will I need additional education and/or certification(s) before I can expect to land a job in UX?
How does a UX role differ depending on which development methodology an organization uses? How do UX roles differ based on the size of a company or company culture?
How do UX designers usually fit into their organizations? Who do they report to? Is it more common for them to be the only UX person on their team or have other UX practitioners working with them?
If you are a UX practitioner: How have you been affected by crunch times in a project? Is there a heavy requirement for overtime in UX, compared to development? (For a comparison: Most recently, I've worked 40-45 hours a week most weeks - occasionally exceeding 50 - on an agile team that uses scrum. I am also aware of development shops with heavy overtime requirements, and used to work in one.)
I've seen a few other questions here at UX Stack Exchange that address some, but not all, of the same topics: