2020

The 5 most important design job titles for the rest of 2020

4 min read
Brittany Anas
  •  Aug 6, 2020
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It’s safe to say design holds an increasingly influential seat in business: According to the Nielsen Norman Group, the number of people working in UX roles grew from about 1,000 to 1 million between 1983 and 2017. By 2050, they expect that number to surge to about 100 million people.

But since most companies have less mature design practices, many don’t have the correct vocabulary to describe the different specialities and nuances a designer compasses. The proof? Many job listings use the generalized term “UX designer” to mean different things. To put it in perspective, roles in home construction differ vastly: For example, an architect who designs the construction plans for a home is akin to an interaction designer in the design world. An interior designer who nails the home’s aesthetic could be compared to a user interface designer.

To make sense of the landscape, we surveyed job boards to highlight the roles and skills companies are hiring for right now. Here, the four most important design job titles for the rest of 2020—and why they’re in demand.

UX researcher

As COVID-19 accelerates business trends like robotics and contactless interactions, companies must rely on savvy researchers to help ease the customer transition. New questions arise like, “What inspires customers to add recommended products to their cart now that e-commerce is king?” “How does color theory influence users?” and “Can eye tracking pinpoint why users are spending less time on our application?”

To answer these questions, we’re seeing increased investment in user research in a wide variety of companies—including restaurant delivery, automakers, and even a custom hair dye delivery service. Since empathy lies at the heart of UX, researchers play a pivotal role when informing designers on who exactly they’re designing for. UX researchers are detectives on a mission to discover what users see, feel, and experience. They applying personas and empathy maps, conducting field studies and early user interviews, and even track usability bugs once a product is launched.

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Information architect

As we move into an increasingly virtual existence amid coronavirus, everything from fitness studios, to real estate showings, to college lectures, to concerts quickly pivot to online versions. And every day, more of these companies are realizing that their messy website with less-than-ideal navigation is costing them real dollars. Imagine walking into a grocery store and it’s completely disorganized: There are no aisle markers, all varieties of apples are lumped together, the shelves are chaotic, and price tags are missing. That, of course, would be a bad customer experience.

Because of this, we’re seeing companies in a wide variety of fields, ranging from healthcare, to mortgages, to telecommunications, look to fill information architecture positions. These new hires will work to organize a screen or web page to be easy and logical to navigate, giving the user a comfortable and predictable experience.

Product designer

As the marketplace becomes more competitive due to the economy’s precariousness, companies are relying on a loyal customer base to stay afloat. To do this, increasing amount of traditionally brick-and-mortar companies (like real estate, restaurants, and health care) are investing in digital products and tech companies (like social media and DNA testing) are doubling down on their product suite.

Enter the product designer. Researcher, designer, problem solver, project manager, and marketer, this all-in-one position is the captain steering the ship towards the best customer solution. These hires will be involved in the design process from start to end; from gathering research to monitoring performance after a product launches.

Design engineer

Now, all investment these days isn’t being made purely in design titles. In more design mature companies, we’re seeing an increased interest in hiring prized collaborators who can magically leap across the boundary between design and engineering. Products can’t just look exceptional or provide an unparalleled customer experience—they have to be able to deliver business-critical solutions that perform without a hitch, too.

Industries from social networking, to e-commerce, to digital media are all looking for design engineers—one of the fastest growing design disciplines. While they may be called anything from design technologist, to front-end designer, or even user interface (UI) engineer, all these roles serve the same purpose: growing an idea and shepherding it through the end-to-end development process.

Game designer

Perhaps you yourself have been startled by those weekly iPhone notifications about how much you’ve looked at a screen. Amid Covid, Many people spend a lot more time on their devices and consoles, looking for new ways to stay entertained. So, it’s probably not surprising that digital game distributors have seen a record number of daily users. Steam, for example, saw the number of daily users shoot up from 19 million in early March to 23.5 million in early April. Social simulation games like Minecraft keep people connected as varying levels of restrictions remain in place across the United States. Not surprisingly, hundreds of these game companies are currently looking for designers and UX managers as they launch everything from mobile games to virtual social clubs where users create and play games with friends around the world.