Who are companies looking for, 10 years later

Who are companies looking for, 10 years later

10 years ago, an article was published in which I analyzed 40 UI designer jobs to understand which skills and responsibilities are most popular. Since then, the market and the world have changed, so I wanted to repeat the experiment to compare the data and try to see the trends.

This mini-research is an attempt to look at the industry through the eyes of a designer, and then compile a portrait of the kind of designer the average employer needs. Since the job description is not structured in any way, I manually analyzed each description, highlighting things that were repeated.

UPD: At the end of the article, a link to the survey of designers has been added.

At the beginning, it is worth mentioning the difference between real demand and what is visible on classifieds sites. It happens that companies need dozens of designers, but at the same time there are only a few shared vacancies on hh.ru. Sometimes a part of vacancies is closed by searching through acquaintances and chats, before publishing an ad. Therefore, to get the full picture, it is worth conducting a larger study that goes beyond job sites.

This time, I analyzed not 40, but 50 vacancies, but selected them only based on the request “UX/UI designer”. Last time, the main search query was interface designer.

And this is the first noticeable change – the term “interface designer” has practically gone out of use. I found only one vacancy with this wording, although it used to be a common definition.

The demand of the profession

In which cities are looking for UX/UI designers

In the last study, there were 120 vacancies for the query “Interface designer” on the website hh.ru in Russia, today there were 704 for the query “UX/UI designer”. It is not correct to literally compare these values, but we can assume that the demand for the profession has increased over the decade by 5 – 6 times.

The distribution by cities shows the same order as 10 years ago. Moscow and St. Petersburg, as before, are ahead of other regions by a large margin. New regions appeared in the list, but you can’t call them a surprise, since most regions are quite visible both in the country’s economy and in the IT industry.

Salary level

What are the salaries for UX/UI designers?

This study does not aim to analyze the level of salaries, so I will not even attempt to compare the data with the past in detail, but it is worth showing the general picture.

Today, almost half of the vacancies with the specified salary offer more than 100,000 rubles per month. Most likely, this is the level of novice specialists, so with this profession, as before, you will not remain hungry 🙂

Areas of activity

Who is looking for UX/UI designers

These statistics show only a cross-section of the investigated vacancies, not the market distribution, but the main trend is again indicative: most vacancies are distributed among product companies whose product is a service, software, corporate software, SaaS tools. Quite a lot of vacancies from studios and agencies. Moreover, the same services, software and tools are included in their job descriptions. As before, I happened upon companies that produce games. From the new – crypto startups, blockchain, NFT.

Requirements for candidates

What is expected from UX/UI designers

Compared to the last study, the requirements for designers have not so much changed as they have been supplemented.

Portfolio and experience, as before, remain the most frequently mentioned, I did not expect any surprises. This time, I did not remove an obvious item from the portfolio from the schedule in order to once again remind about its importance. As someone who is involved in hiring designers, I will say that many UX designers for some reason do not think at all about the UX of those who are the users of their portfolio. But I would rather write a separate article on this topic.

On the topic of the portfolio, I came across a rather revealing phrase in one description: “Portfolios consisting only of landing pages are not considered. Thanks for understanding!“.

Indeed, many designers are now involved in creating landing pages and there are many courses dedicated to this, but it is more packaging design than product design, which I recently wrote about on my channel.

I want to dwell in more detail on the UI point (printer, composition, grids). It has been mentioned in 22 jobs out of 50. Last time this item was called Graphic Design with 27 mentions out of 40 jobs. But in past research, I noticed a fairly clear division in the descriptions of “more logical” and “more aesthetic” designers. In most jobs today, I’ve seen a combination of requirements for knowledge and fundamentals of UX and an understanding of UI aesthetics. I haven’t met any vacancies that would require some kind of engineering UX-designer who works at Axure (who remembers what that is?), after which all the beauty is then drawn by a graphic designer. In my hiring practice, I can confirm this: today, companies have almost stopped looking for UX and UI designers separately. Companies need versatile specialists who will design the interface independently and “turnkey”. Yes, sometimes it is a rather ascetic interface of professional systems, which you can’t particularly boast about on Dribble, but knowledge of printing, grids and composition is also necessary and important there.

This thesis also confirms the demand, which has gained popularity, for knowledge of trends and supervision. It was clearly written about in 17 vacancies out of 50. I admit, I don’t remember how popular this requirement was 10 years ago, but if it was, it would most likely have made it into the article.

Understanding development technologies remains quite important. The understanding of the practicality of what a designer does has been noted before, but now they have started to write about it a little more often.

The description of vacancies also shows the growing maturity and education of the market. For example, today many people write about the importance of understanding Jobs To Be Done. In 2013, I don’t remember such a thing, although the Russian-language edition of Christensen’s book with this concept is already 6 years old. Today, only a lazy person does not try to build CJM and write about it in job vacancies, and in 2013 there was no such term. By the way, in the same year Igor Mann’s book “Points of contact” was published, such an express method with introduction in CJM.

The need to understand the component approach, create a UI kit, and develop a design system became a new requirement. I wouldn’t say that at that time no one was doing it, rather no one called it a design system, and there were no technical means to support it then.

Among the new and interesting, I can note the more frequent mention of the need to understand metrics. 10 years ago, the concept of DDD (Data Driven Design) was known, at least a lot was written about it in the English-speaking environment, but it was difficult to apply it due to the low level of implementation of behavioral analytics collection systems in products. Unfortunately, today, the ability to understand metrics is often required in jobs, but cannot be used in practice for the same reason of insufficient implementation in products.

This time, I did not divide the requirements into basic and additional, and also remove the rare ones, since many of them are not written, but are meant. I recommend designers to look at them, comparing with their skills.

Tools

What do UX/UI designers do?

Figma is the new and buzziest word in the design industry in recent years. Although, how new it is – those who have been transferred to Pixso will say 😉

Photoshop, as before, is mentioned in many vacancies. I wonder who and how often uses it in practice?

Sketch in 2013 was not yet popular, and in 2023 it has already ceased to be so. He was mentioned as many as 5 times, but maybe just out of inertia.

Among the mentioned are other programs that the designer of digital products has to use sometimes. But this is not an obligation, but rather an additional plus. The exception is games, where the skill in 3D and graphics was clearly prescribed.

I noticed a funny title of one of the vacancies: “UI/UX designer — Figma specialist“. By the same logic, you can write “Copywriter – Specialist with Google docs” or “The artist is a specialist in brushes and paints😉

Duties

What UX/UI designers are asked to do

Has the work of an interface designer changed? By and large, no. Designers, in addition to directly designing interfaces, will still be asked to analyze competitors, conduct or accompany research, and sometimes draw banners and promos.

The most noticeable of the new ones are prototypes. They are referred to in two contexts: as interface sketches and as interactive mockups.

The former were often written about 10 years ago, but then prototype makers were a separate specialty. The second – interactive prototypes – companies have tasted together with the appearance of this function in Figma as a quick and convenient way to present and test the design.

From the new one, he also noted a clear mention of the need to formulate and test hypotheses. Here, too, there is an increase in worldview in the industry and some fashion for tools and terms.

Interface animation was not written about before either, but today it was noted in 10 vacancies out of 50. I believe that this is also a noticeable trend that designers should pay attention to.

Of the rare, but interesting ones, he noted the impact on design processes, which is really no less important than development processes, which are traditionally given more attention, even allocating separate roles for it. The term Design-ops is also floating around the industry, but so far very modestly.

I was also surprised by the obligation to “Offer options”. It was mentioned only in two cases, and this is a rather holivar point, since some customers work according to the principle of “bring three options, and I will choose”, others – “work through three options and bring the one you think is right.” It is possible to work effectively in both options, depending on the qualifications of the designer and the built process.

Conditions

What UX/UI designers are offered

Distance has become a major change in the industry. Almost half of the vacancies are written about the remote work format. At the same time, an anti-trend is also visible – 6 times there was a clear mention that the vacancy involves working in an office without the possibility of removal.

In ten vacancies, they wrote about a hybrid schedule. Various formats are offered:

  • 3 days office/2 days removal,

  • per month 1 week in the office, the rest of the days are removed,

  • the team chooses a common day when everyone is in the office, the rest is optional.

The requirement to stay in Russia was met several times. And both times it was written by banks.

Another notable innovation was the mark of an accredited IT company. 11 out of 50 vacancies indicated this. I wonder if this is a lot or a little?

It is good that some companies clearly indicate the possibility of working with or being a mentor. This is a good option for a beginner designer to grow quickly and almost the only option for a more experienced designer to grow just as quickly, since there are practically no courses or books for Middle/Senior/Lead level designers.

Conclusions

Over the past 10 years, the digital product industry has evolved rapidly, and with it the role and tools of the interface designer.

The popularity of designers has increased, the threshold for entering the profession has decreased significantly, and the requirements for specialists have become more meaningful and structured. A large number of designers in companies demanded a better understanding of the levels of designers and distinguishing among them leading or managerial roles, which, in turn, affect the maturity of the design culture, forming more precise expectations from specialists.

Job descriptions have become more uniform. Today, interface designers want to see a universal specialist who will understand the task, find the necessary information himself, go to the users for clarifications, design a beautiful, user-friendly interface that is implemented, and then make sure by the numbers that it really solves business tasks and makes users happy . The designer should not do all of the above himself, but he should be aware of it.

Survey for designers

Answers to some questions provoke new ones, so now I ask myself: and which of the requirements and duties are actually present in daily design work?

It is interesting to compare what is required of designers when hiring and what they then have to deal with every day. I created a survey that lists the requirements, responsibilities, and tools that employers wrote about, as well as an opportunity to write in your answers. If you are a designer, I suggest you take a survey, and based on its results, I will write an article where I will conduct this comparison.

Survey designers in Google Forms

The format of the survey on Habré would not allow it to be divided into blocks and add so many answer options, so I created it on the side.

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