Curated by Zaichi Cheng
The aim of the topic was to figure out what a person new to UX could reasonably expect when embarking on a UX career in Singapore.
Here are 8 points brought up by senior UX folks:
- There are generally two UX career paths; the UX researcher path, and the UX designer path
A UX researcher specialises in interfacing with the customer, conducts many many user interviews and seeks to understand the user.
A UX designer is a generalist that is expected to carry out the whole range of UX tasks; from doing user research at the very beginning, to doing the interaction design for the prototype or mockup.
- There are three types of companies that need UX resources; startups, big tech companies and agencies
Startups don’t have money to pay good salaries. But they are a good training ground for a newbie UX practitioner. Startups generally need you to have a range of tactical skills such as UI, visual design and prototyping; skills that are suited for the implementation stage.
Big tech companies, the example given was Alibaba, are able to offer loads of money for good UX practitioners. The number $200k — $300k per annum was being thrown around (I might be mistaken). BUT (there’s always a but) they tend to hire only experienced UX folks. Tough luck.
Agencies are digital or marketing or UX agencies that help clients with UX. They offer low pay, and generally look for experienced UX people. Working conditions in agencies are brutal, there is too much work and the turnover is high.
- It takes about 5 years for a UX designer to become a lead. It takes about 500 interviews for a UX researcher to become a lead.
These numbers were only wrangled out of the senior UX folks after much prompting. Understandably, not all experience is equal, so take the numbers with a pinch of salt.
- There are two paths you can take as a lead; A specialist path and a managerial path
The specialist path involves being a practice lead, which is someone who goes super in-depth into a particular UX field.
The managerial path involves dealing with people, stakeholders and understanding business needs.
- Here’s what you are expected to do as you grow in your career
1–3 years: Can you do the work?
4–6 years: Can you defend your research or work?
7+ years: Can you get people to work together? Mentor junior UX folks? Can you present in a board meeting? Can you deal with stakeholders? How do you look at design from a systematic point of view?
- A good mentor will help you grow. But there’s a lack of good mentors in companies in Singapore
Going overseas to work was suggested as a way around the lack of mentors.
- You can gain UX experience outside of full-time work
Take part in hackathons or volunteer to help others with their UX problems. The point is, you can gain valuable experience outside of work. And this is doubly valuable if the experience is in a different vertical or industry.
The senior UX folks highly recommended this book.
That’s all for the discussion. Thanks to all the senior UX folks who came by to share their wisdom.