Forbes has ranked UX designing as one of the best jobs for work-life balance. Apart from delivering the desired work-life balance, the job of a UX designer offers several other benefits too. If you are a UX design aspirant, it can be useful to learn about the typical career path of a professional UX designer. Creativity, passion, innovation and a willingness to adapt to the latest industry demands are the prerequisites for becoming a successful UX designer.
UX designing is fast becoming one of the most well-paying jobs, not just in the USA but also across the globe. Brands are now becoming more conscious of their digital presence and want to invest more freely in improved user experiences through their websites and other marketing collaterals. The intense competition between top brands has helped create exciting career opportunities and improved the job outlook for UX designers in a fast-growing industry.
Here is the conventional career path for becoming a successful UX designer.
Start as a Generalist
You can start as a generalist and practice different aspects of designing in a natural way. You can use the first few years of your career as an opportunity to learn new things and polish your craft through different experimental drills. A number of tools and software are available for aspiring designers to learn and improve their skills. One can also join online forums and groups for healthy discussions regarding the creative processes involved in UX design and engineering. You can also enroll in a UX design Bootcamp course that is offered by several well-reputed institutes to help beginners develop and enhance their skillset.
During your journey as a generalist, you must focus on developing a technical portfolio to reflect your unique skillset. You should also give attention to learning basic coding during this time. It is not essential for a UX designer to do coding, however, learning the basics of it can help improve the understanding of technical processes involved in designing a digital product from the scratch. This is also the perfect time to enhance your research and communication skills, which can further improve your chances of landing the perfect UX designing job.
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After spending the first few years as a generalist, you can now look for a senior position at any reputable organization. There are several opportunities available for UX designers in the USA who can help brands stay ahead of their competition through friendlier, dynamic and engaging user experiences.
As a senior designer, you will be required to work independently on various projects in addition to managing some juniors. This is your chance to gradually grow into a managerial role by fulfilling the expectations of your employer and by bringing something new to the table whenever you get an opportunity. It is the best time to exhibit the unique skillset that you developed during your journey as a generalist.
In a senior role, you will also be able to learn managerial skills under the supervision of your team lead and product manager. The key to growing as a senior in UX designing is to never stop learning and adopting new skills in line with the requirements of the industry and nature of projects. At one time, you might be designing a complete campaign for a pharmaceutical client and on the other instance, you might be asked to design a landing page for a furniture website. Such a 180-degree change requires a senior UX designer to be flexible, innovative and willing to adapt to the challenge.
When you have learned it the hard way during your stint as a senior designer, you will soon find yourself ready to take on the challenges as a product manager. Usually, this transition is smooth and does not require any overnight improvement in the skillset. However, the acceptance of the managerial position and growing into a more responsible role can sometimes be emotionally challenging for some individuals.
With a focused approach and by recognizing your true potential, you can easily grow into a successful product manager who knows the craft of playing with visuals for enhanced user experiences. Now, you can control the entire cycle of developing a brand’s digital identity and taking it to new heights through your vision, experience and limitless potential.
The career path from being a generalist to becoming a product manager can pose different challenges and the outcome depends on how well you cope with these challenges. Some outside factors such as market dynamics, industry trends, organizational hierarchy and available growth opportunities can also play a major role in ultimately deciding your fate as a UX designer. However, if you stay focused, keep faith in your potential and do not make a compromise on the quality of your work, the path towards achieving your goals as UX designer can become smooth, productive and rewarding.