Juggling Expectations and Reality in UX Job Ads

by Elena Pavlenko - 15 Sep 2016

TL;DR: UX job titles and the implied skills can be confusing at times. Share your stories and opinions in our 4 minute survey to help us reduce the frustration and inspire the community to create well fitting job ads.

Job titles are kind of silly, especially in the tech world. Is a ninja superior to a rockstar? Or are they at the same seniority level? Playing around with the ingenious UX title generator by Aaron Weyenberg is great fun. But it all relates to one actual real-life problem: Even within the specific community of UI/UX, there’s no clear-cut understanding about which skills relate to which positions.

“I work with Robots, but fight for the Humans”

What exactly should be the responsibility of a UX Manager? Can we expect Interaction Designers to code? Which jobs are available for someone with a strong background in research? With your help, we want to develop a common language and use job titles that are actually accurate and relatable.

And it really is about time for a change. As nicely summed up by Kathryn Reeves, it’s hard to keep track of the tremendous variation of UX definitions. Are UX and UI the same? What about Product Design? There seems to be a never-ending debate. No wonder that in their survey, Susan Farrell and Jakob Nielsen collected a total of 210 professions all related to the field.

“Service Designer? Is that like designing call centre?”

But can these roles all be that different? Not necessarily. When Emelyn Baker screened 110 job titles on Dribbble’s Job Board, she found that 97 of them featured the term “design”, whereas only a few pointed to a clear specialization. Most employers apparently phrase their job ads very flexibly, with a lot left up to interpretation.

Let’s reduce frustration and make life easier for both the hiring manager and the potential employee. We believe that the UX hiring process--both within our own company and in the broader product and design community--deserves a little more UX design of its own.

“Getting the messy wool ball ready to start knitting”

Curious about the quotes? Find out for yourself by taking our survey and adding your stories to the mix. We’re looking forward to more insightful and entertaining input.

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All the best,
The Zalando UX Team

P.S. You’re also invited to scan our current job descriptions and to drop in a comment about what you like or don't like. We're always up for more feedback:

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