What Type of Designer Should You Be?
How to find where you fit best in the design industry
When I interview design candidates fresh out of school I always ask them, “When you get assigned a new project, what part do you hope you get to do, and which part are you secretly praying someone else will do?”
Students are notoriously bad at knowing what type of UX professional they want to be, and they often claim that they love everything and are great at everything. I call shenanigans.
We all have our strengths and passions; being successful and happy requires that you find a career path (and role) that intersects both. I’m going to shed some light on the archetypes in the industry, not only for students but for hiring managers who are unclear where to start when building out a UX org.
When you get assigned a new project, what part do you hope you get to do, and which part are you secretly praying someone else will do?
Obligatory paragraph building up my credentials so you can quickly determine whether or not I’m completely full of 💩:
I received a Masters in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) from Indiana University in 2007, a month before the iPhone was released and set in motion a sea change that kind of rendered my entire design education useless. (Just kidding kids, that’s not how design works… this is why you learn theory, design critique, and philosophy).
I spent four years designing Windows-based software, then another four years designing and building a UX team for a web-based product. Since then, I’ve been head of design for a fast-growing product agency. Over these 10-plus years, I’ve hired designers, built teams from scratch, and mentored design students. I’ve also read books! Lots of them! Ones with big words!
Alright, alright, I hope you’re still with me. Here we go!