Career Path Confusion - UX / UI / Web Developer / Web Designer / Front End / Back End


So I’ve been trying to get a better understanding of the differences with the career paths between ux/ui/front end development/back end development/web designers/web developers and using some visuals that I’ve pulled from Google. This one feels the most comprehensive except I don’t know where “web designer” or “web developer” falls? Is “UX designer” the same as a “web designer” and is a "front end/back end developer the same as a “web developer?”



No, definitely not. Web designer is probably closest to Graphic Designer.

They are both subsets of wed developer, yes.


Web designer is an old term the same way graphic designer is old. The web is everything because the internet runs our lives so I actually think web designers are UX designers (or developers) but don’t know it yet - this is how I eventually progressed into “UX design” even though I applied most of the thinking in my everyday wor already. Or you could pivot to making code your primary task set which then makes you a front end/ back end developer.
Now graphic designers are digital designers unless they specifically deal with print material so i dont even pay attention to that title.
I’m not sure what you don’t understand. I think that diagram lays it out well.
Attached a diagram that may help out a little and I’ve linked articles below. To be honest there are too many titles these days, and this is the fault of both the design and business industry. Eventually we will solve it. That’s another topic.


Don’t worry too much about the titles. :grin: The same role can have different titles depending on industry, company, HR dept., etc.

If you are getting into UX, focus on UX Designer and Product Designer.


Yep. Be wary of jobs advertising as UI/UX designer.




Because they’re more than likely a UI design job rather than a UX job.


Maybe. But not in my experience.
I’ve carried projects from research all the way to ui design for such jobs. It’s important to ask questions with the job poster to gauge whether they understand the full spectrum of UX and whether it fits within your skillset.


Thank you so much for sharing this much information. I really enjoyed the article for “Why UX, UI, CX, IA…Are Dumb.” Having worked in other industries I could see the parallels with what I’m already familiar with so that helped me frame it up.


Thank you! That really does help and it makes sense the more I look at all these different roles.

In the same way you explained, “If you are getting into UX, focus on UX Designer and Product Designer,” would you focus on “UI Designer”? I’m actually wondering if UI may be the most optimal for me and I keep hearing that it’s very demanding to try to master both UX and UI at the same time and it’s best to pick one if you think you have one you lean towards.


UI Design is a subset of UX Design. It is better to learn UX and then specialize in UI Design. You can’t technically pick one over the other, although a lot of people do, but it makes them not very good UI Designers. :slight_smile: There are some great courses on Udemy to give you an overview of UX. Check those out first and then look more into UI.


Titles tend to be more for HR classification, whether or not HR or the supervisor really knows what it should mean. I started out as a print/web designer, doing both visual design and html/css. I always (informally) did as much UX as I could when designing websites and even some print projects (like expo booths). I’ve found that most postings for Web Designers expect Web Development skills. I think I’ve met one Web Designer ever who only handed off visual design. I’ve applied for Web Design jobs that thought I should know database management because “they’re in the website”. You need to inspect the skill requirements carefully and ask about “day to day responsibilities”.

Most of my jobs since the Recession have been small organizations, where I’m the only one attempting to do UX regardless of my title; Media Designer, UI Designer, Interactive Art Director, etc. I’ve even worked with a Marketer who jumped at every UX article, lecture, and conference she could. The fact that she was thinking, planning, and getting as much user feedback as she was able to qualifies her as “doing UX” whether or not she’ll ever apply for a job with UX in the title.

I’ve yet to meet anyone doing Back-End that thinks UX, but that would be great. Thank you for the infographic. Saved.