UX by job title
I stay active in the world of UX and this makes me a target for recruiters. I respect a lot of them and appreciate that they are doing their jobs. A lot of them are passing on job descriptions that vary from web development to design to interaction design, interface design and on. I did not ask for this as I clearly market myself as a UX designer. But what does this mean and why is it relevant? We can use this as a chance to learn more about the world’s perspective of the UX field.
A user experience designer is defined in many ways and has many interpretations which is clear from the varying job postings that I receive.
You can tell which companies actually understand the role and which have devloped their own definition. That is not entirely negative and can give you a lot of insite into the way the company operates and how they feel about the field as a whole.
For example if they describe the position as both designer (using Photoshop and Illustrator) and Developer (font end and back end) then that is a red flag. You will be drowning in that job role. It is important to be T-shaped but do not try to be an expert in everything. Not only does it reflect poorly individually but a client may have deadlines and you may not be able to deliver.
Clearly that example is a stretch but I have seen it. Another example I am wary of is when they want requirements gathering and client facing involvement. This is not a bad thing if you are comfortable with it. I would categorize this position more as a Functional Analyst. It isn’t bad to do this if that is what you want to put your energy towards, but this is a full time job and will leave very little time for UX strategy and problem solving.
Balancing two roles is possible and I’ve seen it at smaller agencies. Larger agencies tend to promote moving people into silos rather than encouraging dual roles. You can see what type of work environment it will become by all the roles listed in the job description. Choose what you are comfortable with and know your limitations. Neither option is bad and there can be benefits to both. There will be late nights sometimes no matter what; it’s just the industry. So don’t discredit one because you think it will be harder. Each company has its challenges.
So what is the perfect job description you ask? It depends on the individual. I enjoy both design and UX strategy and would be likely to take on a position where I dive deep into the way the user may interact by creating a user flow and prototype and I may also help to design basic UI structures. Other people prefer the more research and heavy lifting of trends and data. Others want to stick solely to user testing and the iterative process.
There is a sweet spot and it is up to you to define that for yourself. Don’t adjust yourself to fit the job descriptions. They will all be different. If they list programs you need to know, make sure they are the ones you enjoy working with or are industry standard. Make a personal list of career goals and keep it with you at all times. Find a company and position that fits your dream job. You may even take your list with you to interviews and be ready to ask them to make sure they fit your needs as well.
Good luck career hunting!
Passion is the difference between having a job and having a career.