Increasingly, businesses are recognizing the impact of a great user experience on their bottom line. As a result, these organizations are making it a top priority to improve their UX design and are hiring skilled professionals to help them accomplish this goal. According to Onward Search’s 2019 guide, the top two most in-demand positions in the digital, creative, and marketing areas are product designer and UX designer. In picking a professional path, UX designers often have two primary options: creative agencies or product companies. Read on to learn everything you need to know about both career options so you can select the best match for your lifestyle, skill set, and personality.

 

Working For a Creative Agency

Do you enjoy working on a variety of jobs in a fast-paced setting? Design firms are usually environments in which you must think and adapt quickly. Someone who values diversity in their day may embrace the ever-changing options that working through an agency provides.

When designing for a creative agency, you’ll be surrounded by team members with varied experiences, but all of them will likely have some design background. If you are new to your career, you may appreciate the chance to find a mentor in the UX field at a design firm. 

A creative agency may also be right for you if you are looking to broaden your skill set. With different projects come different skill requirements, so you’ll have the chance to flex your design muscles in new ways. Since you will be liaising with new clients, you can hone your interpersonal skills and your ability to present in front of the room. With multiple colleagues focused on design, you are also more likely to be up-to-date on the latest trends in the field. 

As an agency designer, you will be accountable for ensuring that you fulfill the client’s goals and the process may not be as straightforward as reporting to a supervisor at a product company. You’ll be working with a variety of personalities, and you’ll need to be able to adapt to different scenarios quickly.

 

Working For a Product Company

Are you the type of designer that loves to focus on a single project at a time? Working at a product company may allow you to be a part of the entire design process and invest and grow with the product. If you’re easily bored, you may be a better fit for a design agency. 

If you prefer autonomy, however, you may find that as an in-house UX designer that you have fewer people to report to and more job responsibilities. Because you are not in an agency setting, there is no guarantee that your coworkers will value or even understand user experience design. In some cases, you may be the sole advocate for your work. With this comes the freedom and flexibility to pursue projects your way, even if you may lack some of the feedback you would receive from a design team. 

When choosing a UX career path, evaluate your personality, professional objectives, and the opportunities that will be accessible to you. Consider what your career priorities are. Whether you work for an agency or a product company, the future of UX design is bright.

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