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UX Design Career Levels

I’m often asked how I measure success or develop career growth for designers. I’ve made this map to help guide. Use this to know if you are in the right title and what a promotion entails. Also use this in recruiting to put someone at the right level when they join. I hope its helpful.

Level 1: Shadowing

  • Can learn by watching, Won’t embarrass us

Level 2: Intern

  • Everything in Shadowing AND
  • Can follow instructions and collaborate with relevant employees
  • Has a good work ethic and attitude
  • Gets along well with others
  • Can be assigned small tasks

Level 3: Intern II

  • Everything in Level 2 AND
  • Has 1 season of Intern
  • Has some basic domain skills

Level 4: Associate Product Designer

  • Everything in Level 3 AND
  • Recognized as a junior/entry member of the team
  • Personally contributes towards concrete goals and deliverables
  • Very little or no work experience in domain

Level 5: Product Designer

  • Everything in Level 4 AND 
  • Has 1-3 years of professional domain experience
  • Has intermediate skills (4+) in a few (30%) facets of domain
  • Can lead small (1-2 week) projects with oversight

Level 6: Product Designer II

  • Everything in Level 5 AND
  • Has 2-4 years of professional domain experience
  • Has intermediate skills (4+) in many (60%) facets of domain
  • Can lead small projects (1-2 weeks) on their own
  • Can lead medium projects (2-4 weeks) with oversight

Level 7: Product Designer III

  • Everything in Level 6 AND
  • Demonstrates team leadership
  • Has 3-6 years of professional domain experience
  • Has intermediate domain skills (4+) in most (90%) facets
  • Influences others outside his/her own project
  • Can lead medium-sized projects (2-4 weeks) on their own
  • Can be part of an interview panel

Level 8: Sr. Product Designer

  • Everything in Level 7 AND 
  • Actively seeks to be a resource outside of immediate project/team/local scope
  • People will come and ask them for input
  • Advanced domain skills (8+) in a few (30%) facets
  • Has 4-8 years of professional domain experience
  • Can lead large projects (1-2 months) with oversight
  • Mentor 1-2 junior members of the team

Level 9: Sr. Product Designer II

  • Everything in Level 8 AND
  • Advanced domain skills in many facets
  • Has 5-8 years of professional domain experience

Level 10: Sr. Product Designer III

  • Everything in Level 9 AND
  • Advanced domain skills (8+) in most (90+) individual contribution facets
  • Can lead large projects (1-2 months) on their own

Level 11: Director of Product Design

  • Everything in Level 10 AND
  • Can do detailed critiques/reviews as well as mentor/manage lower levels on a daily basis. 
  • Executes on mid-range plans
  • Able to identify, plan, and execute career development for employees
  • Able to teach team on their own initiative
  • Influences architecture/process beyond their own project
  • Looks across the organization
  • Mastery of craft
  • Can lead Gionormous projects (1-4 quarters) with oversight
  • Has 6+ years of professional domain experience
  • Is part of the recruiting process on an active basis

Level 12: Sr. Director of Product Design

  • Everything in Level 11 AND
  • Can fill in for the VP if needed
  • Has strong knowledge of the complete ecosystem
  • Recognized as an influential leader
  • Manages performance on a daily basis
  • Executes on long-range plans
  • Works effectively to hire and retain talent
  • Effectively manages employee performance
  • Influences architecture/process beyond their own project
  • Looks across the organization

Level 13: VP, Product Design

  • Everything in Level 12 AND
  • Is recognized as the leader in the company
  • Works consistently with other leaders in the organization
  • Builds effective process and standards

Legend

Small project1-2 weeks
Medium project2-4 weeks
Large project1-2 months
Gionormous project1-4 quarters
Beginner Skills0-3
Intermediate Skills4-7
Advanced Skills8-10
A Few Facets30%
Many Facets60%
Most Faces90%

Worksheet of Product Design Facets
1Usability
2Illustration
3Color Theory
4Sketching (paper)
5Idea generation
6Prototyping/Storyboarding
7Interaction Design (Web)
8Interaction Design (Mobile)
9Information Architecture
10Emotional design
11Design Software (Figma, XD, etc)
12Mobile visual design
13Web application visual design
14Composition
15Testing (Design of Experiments)
16Working with Product Managers
17Working with Engineers
18Ethnographic Interviews
19Typography

1 reply on “UX Design Career Levels”

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