What's in a Name? UX Job Titles Explained

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#1

There are a myriad of job titles out there for our industry, and this can sometimes cause issues deciphering what each job title might entail. To help y’all on your career search, here are a few of the more common UX-related job titles you might see out there, as well as a short description of what might be expected from each one:

UX Designer (or UX Architect)

UX Designers are the most-common front-line UX professionals. They are expected to have a solid understanding of UX design fundamentals, including pieces like forms best practices, data visualization techniques, rules of typography, and other user experience considerations.

Commonly Requested Skills: UX fundamentals, design fundamentals, Adobe PhotoShop, Sketch, BaseCamp

Good Career Entry Point For: Graphic Designers, Advertising Professionals, Artists, General Professionals

UX Engineer

A UX Engineer is expected to have the same skills as a UX professional, but with coding and systems architecture chops to boot. In many ways, a UX Engineer is a position that combines the skills of a Front End Developer and UX Designer. How these front end skills are used varies greatly from company to company. Some employers will expect a UX Engineer to actually pitch in on creating the features they design, while other employers will simply ask the UX Engineer to use their skill set to understand what is and isn’t possible or practical given a company’s tech stack.

Commonly Requested Skills: UX fundamentals, design fundamentals, Adobe PhotoShop, Sketch, BaseCamp, HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, JS frameworks, APIs, etc.

Good Career Entry Point For: Graphic Designers, Advertising Professionals, Artists, General Professionals

UI/UX Developer

If there’s one fundamental problem with UX, it’s that many companies don’t fully understand what it is, especially in comparison to UI. That’s why you’ll see all sorts of diagrams and illustrations out there that explain what we do. I stumbled across this (only somewhat helpful) diagram the other day:

A company that is looking for a UI/UX Designer is, in truth, looking for someone who has great visual design skills and UX knowledge. The unfortunate part of the equation is that many times it means that the company wants someone who can do two jobs for the price of one.

To me, this job title is a red flag for a company that neither truly understands UX and its importance nor has the financial backbone to make an investment in enhancing the experience of their product.

Commonly Requested Skills: Graphic Design, UI fundamentals, UX fundamentals, design fundamentals, Adobe PhotoShop, Sketch, BaseCamp

Good Career Entry Point For: Front End Devs, Back End Devs, QA professionals, Software Engineers

UX Researcher

A UX Researcher deals with the data side of the equations. In short, they must be good with conducting testing of all types, gathering data, and analyzing data from different qualitative and quantitative sources. This job deals with using the data and evidence collected to ascertain pain points and areas for improvement.

It should be noted that this is usually a design-free job, meaning that a UX Researcher needs to be good with understanding and applying the core concepts of great user experiences without actually being fully capable of creating the designs from scratch. This makes the position an excellent “open door” for those coming from other data-driven professions.

Commonly Requested Skills: Business Intelligence, statistics, UX testing methedologies and procedures, SQL/MySQL/other database language, advanced Excel knowledge, customer service acumen, interpersonal communication

Good Career Entry Point For: Business Intelligence professionals, data-driven backgrounds

Lead UX Designer

A lead UX Designer is expected to not only be able and engaged in producing great designs, but also in leading a small team of about 3-5 designers. This requires not only great design skills, but excellent communication, time management, and leadership acumen. Leads are often responsible for organizing work within a team, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the group, fielding questions from team members, and guiding overall design towards a standard vision.

Commonly Requested Skills: UX fundamentals, design fundamentals, Adobe PhotoShop, Sketch, BaseCamp, HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, JS frameworks, APIs, leadership, communication, Agile methedologies

Good Career Entry Point For: Not recommended for an entry point, but could possibly be a point of transition for a Design Manager or very experienced Graphic Designer with advanced UX knowledge

Sr. UX Designer

A Sr. UX Desinger performs some of the same design functions as a lead. They’ll answer questions from other team members, guide the group towards an overall design strategy, and help solve problems among the group. They usually do not have any of the managerial components that a UX Lead does.

Commonly Requested Skills: UX fundamentals, design fundamentals, Adobe PhotoShop, Sketch, BaseCamp, HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, JS frameworks, APIs, communication

Good Career Entry Point For: Not an entry-level job. One would need at least a couple of years’ experience as a UX Designer/Engineer to be successful in this role.

UX Manager

A UX Manager is usually a step above a lead. They are more concerned with running of a group of UX teams, each of which has its own lead, as well as guiding overall design strategy. UX knowledge is certainly needed here, but this job is more about the smooth running of a department within a company. They should be focused on the communication and strategy side of the business, rather than micromanaging the desingers in their charge.

Commonly Requested Skills: Leadership, communication, Rally/JIRA, BaseCamp, Sketch, Adobe PhotoShop, PowerPoint, budgeting, time management

Good Career Entry Point For: Not an entry-level job.


What do you think?

Have I made any mistakes on my assessment of job titles and responsibilities? Have I missed any important or common titles? Have I erred on any required skills?

Let’s work to make this list as complete and helpful as it can be :slight_smile:


#2

I think this is a good start, and I’m happy to see writing in the diagram. :slight_smile:

I think we can definitely expand the content realm within UX to include Content Strategy.

Content Strategy encompasses:

Content design

  • Editorial planning
  • Voice and tone
  • Metadata
  • Content accessibility
  • Content usability (how actionable, findable, and understandable it is)
  • Storytelling

Content operations (the people and tools aspect)

  • Content modeling
  • Content management system configurations/customizations
  • Process and workflow mapping
  • Maintenance
  • Measurement

Content Strategy is a good entry point for technical writers, marketing copywriters, and editors. It can also be a good entry point for developers and engineers who are interested in CMS configuration and usability, or content modeling.

Thanks!
Melanie

P.S. If you’re interested in learning more, I have a free 7-day email course over at my website, Prose Kiln. :slight_smile:


#3

For someone who had to study interaction design and knowing how close UX design is to product design I think those disciplines and skills should be common requirements for UI and UX. If UX is visual; interaction design should be constant part of it otherwise it is graphic design.