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Choosing a Role

Determine What Kind of Designer You Wanted to Be: There are plenty of exciting areas of design but it's almost impossible to be good at everything. Determine at least 2 areas of focus and a third as a "Nice to know".
Lenora Porter
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What are your design goals? What kind of designer would you like to be?

The first step is understanding the various roles on a typical design team. Pinpoint the area you would like to focus on and learn as much as you can. Having a starting point is crucial when you’re transitioning into tech.

Before diving in head first, remember, It's impossible to learn every area of design as a junior designer. When you start this journey, it is best to have a focused design goal. This goal can help you narrow your focus to specific areas of interest. Once you figure out your design goals, you can create a personalized design curriculum just for you and your learning style. 

Design goals can be the following:

SCENARIO 1: "I want to cultivate the ability to design clean layouts that are easy to implement."

This person may look into UI design, UX design or Front End Development. They may even combine efforts to focus on a UX/UI Developer career.

SCENARIO 2: "I want to lead design decisions to combat Airbnb, Lyft, and Uber's discrimination issues." 

This person may looking into UI design, UX Research, and Analyzing Data. They may look into becoming a Data Scientist or UX researcher.

SCENARIO 3: "I want to create the strategy for qualitative and quantitive UX research."

This person may focus primarily on becoming a UX researcher.

Pinpoint the area you would like to focus on and learn as much as you can. Having a starting point is crucial when you’re transitioning into design. I recommend focusing on one area only. Once you master one area, you can add more to your skillset. As designers, we are multi-passionate so I'm not saying to give up your overall goal. I'm saying to start off where you can and build from there.

Personally, I am one of those multi-passionate designers. I love front end development. Coding my designs helped me become a better Product Designer because I know what it would take to create. However, focusing on both roles in a fast pace start-up environment made me want to jump off the nearest building. Pace yourself. Don’t be like me. Speaking of startup environments, you can capitalize using your varied skillset. You are almost required to wear multiple hats and landing a position is fairly easy when you can provide multiple areas of value. With this experience, you can identify your true passion and focus on growing in the areas you enjoy the most.

On a typical design team, there's a variety of roles:

Design-focused job positions in the UX area include:

  • UX Designer
  • User Interface Designer
  • Information Architect
  • Product Designer
  • Visual Designer
  • UI Designer
  • UI Artist
  • Illustrator
  • 3D Interaction Design (Virtual Reality & AI)
  • Digital Designer

Research job positions in the UX area include:

  • UX Researcher
  • Data Scientist
  • UX Program Manager
  • ‍Metrics Analyst
  • Usability Researcher / Specialist / Analyst

Business Strategy job positions in the UX area include:

  • UX Strategist
  • UX Architect
  • UX Product Manager
  • UX Analyst
  • Enterprise Architect

Coder who love UX positions:

  • UX/UI Engineer
  • UX/UI Developer
  • Experience Designer
  • Interaction Designer
  • Prototyper
  • Human Factors Engineer
  • User Interface Engineer

Designers who design using mix media:

  • Audio Designer
  • Voice User Interface Designer (VUI)
  • Augmented Reality Designer
  • Virtual Reality Designer

UX writers positions:

  • Content Strategist
  • UX Copywriter

Design Team Efficiency/ Management positions:

  • DesignOPS
  • UX Operations

C-Suite positions:

  • Head of Design
  • VP of Design
  • Chief Design Officer
  • Director of UX

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