When a company is hiring a designer, what do they look for? What do they expect a designer will do? What skills a designer should have?
Those are exactly the questions I will answer now, based on a data-driven analysis of job advertisements. If you want to know more about the method and what I mean by data-driven analysis, I wrote a separate article explaining it.
Design job titles: Explained
A data-driven approach to understand four design job titles: Product, UX, UI and Visual Designer. by Paulo Dziobczenski. Founder of designcareer.co
In short: Much has been said about what it means to be a Product/UX/UI/Visual designer. Many designers have written wonderful articles before. I am taking a different approach: I look at what companies say in their job advertisements.
UI Designers are specialists.
UI Designers focus their work in designing visually attractive and functional interfaces.
UI Designers need to understand technical limitations, the user and use cases to be able to deliver their work.
Moving to more specifics, I started counting how many times each request showed up in the data set. Here are the top 5 requests:
User Interfaces are the main delivery made by UI Designers, which means that they design interfaces, websites and any other digital outcome.
UI Designers also work in building the User Experience, mainly through the deliver of Interfaces.
UI Designers do not only are involved in design activities and also in conducting and analyzing user research. It is a clear expansion of the role of UI Designers (similar to Visual Designers): from simply designing interfaces to designing interfaces based on knowledge about the user.
UI Designers build prototypes to test their initial ideas, before moving to final interface versions.
UI Designers work building design systems. A design system, by definition, is a ‘a collection of reusable components, guided by clear standards, that can be assembled together to build any number of applications’.
UI Designers need to have a varied range of skills to do their jobs. For example, UI Designers need to have ‘communication’ to conduct research.
Think about these skills as some necessary layers (or mindsets) for designers to do their work. As you can see on the Top 5 below, not only design skills:
UI Designers rarely work alone. By working in teams, having communication skills are key for doing the job.
Perhaps the most obvious, as UI Designers are all about how the project will look like. Here companies emphasize how UI Designers need to have ‘an eye for design’, in terms of knowing about color, composition, typography, etc.
UI Designers need to know about business goals and how their work affects their clients’ businesses.
UI Designers are advocate for the users. User-centered design is a method/skill to help designers put their users at the center.
UI Designers utilize data for making decisions in their designs.
UI Designers also need to carry some other skills in their skill sets, such as Coding, Motion Design, Illustration, and Branding:
UI Designers mainly use Adobe Creative Cloud, while Sketch and InVision are less frequent in the job ads.
I analyzed 50 job advertisements for UI Designers found on LinkedIn. These job ads came from 24 countries in the Americas (North and South, Asia and Europe. Some companies are very well-known (Peloton, Seat, Ubisoft) while some others were new (at least to me). The full list of companies can be found here.
UI Designers shape the User Experience through delivering interfaces: mobile apps, websites, etc.
But 'pixel-perfect' interfaces are just one part of the job. UI Designers get involved in a range of activities to be able to do the job — research, business, coding, etc. For example, understanding requirements and conducting research as a way to design better interfaces.
Each company is different. A company hiring their first UI Designer have very different needs than one looking to hire their 100th UI Designer.
In this article, I have mentioned over 10 different skills/activities/software. But do not panic, not all companies will ask you to know it all.
To illustrate how companies might differ in their requirements, here is a comparison between some of the requests made by Peloton, Seat and Ubisoft in a UI Design position.
As you can see, companies might emphasize some skills more than others when hiring. The recommendation here is to spend some time researching the companies you are interested and what they are looking for. Which skills do they look for? Then make sure to build those skills and not all the possible skills :)
If you liked this article, I recommend to check the other guides I wrote looking at the Product, UX and Visual Design careers.