Hiring a Junior vs. Senior User Experience Designer

  • The rapid need for Senior UX Designers exceeds the actual talent pool. There simply haven’t been enough people trained with enough time/experience in the workplace. Give it 2 more years.
  • Budget. I work in a land of start ups on tight budgets. To hire a Senior UX Designer costs considerably more than a Junior Designer. Hiring a well-trained Jr. UX Designer can be well worth your money.
  • Junior UX Designers: Students leaving a reputable UX Design training have learned the theories and have practiced the fundamental tools in a UX Designer’s tool belt. They should leave any course being well-rounded UX generalists with the ability to jump in and tackle product design at any stage of the product life-cycle.
  • Senior (more years of experience) UX Designers: There are a large number of people, that, in order to find employment, have put the letters “UX” next to their title. I don’t blame them; it’s a good strategy in a market that is now looking for UX Designers. However, they may often lack the full knowledge of a well-trained UX designer. [This part of my post may be controversial, but I’ve seen it time and again, where someone puts UX next to their name (usually coming from a visual design background) yet they have never done such basic things such as created a persona, done contextual inquiry or performed user testing. I believe this confuses hiring managers and recruiters as to the actual role of a UX Designer, but that’s a topic for another post.] That being said, I personally came from a “Graphic Design and Web Design” background and evolved into “UI Design” and then, finally into “UX Design”. In my career, I learned UX as a survival skill; UX cuts opinion out of the design direction and bases design solutions on research based data. I’m sure this is true for many current UX Designers.
  • Junior UX Designers: These designers may not have years of experience as UX Designers, but that could be a good thing. They have not been told “no” so many times in a corporate environment. Not yet jaded, new designers might be more apt to think outside the box and take risks which could lead to great user experiences. For example, they have not been told “no” to taking the time to do the proper research and user testing. Because of this, they are bright-eyed and passionate. Ready to hit the ground running to make the best product ever! Also, many of my students have a vast education, work and life history that has lead them to UX Design. Their life experience prior to becoming UX Designers is often a great resource for their design thinking abilities and helps inform their critical thinking and product design strategy.
  • Senior (more years of experience) UX Designers: These designers may find themselves more jaded when it comes to implementing proper research and testing. They’ve probably been told “no” so many times based on timeline and budget. There can be a tendency to go with the flow, keep your job and don’t rock the boat, even though the product suffers. Advocating for incorporating UX Design into an old workflow can be hard and scary. (This mentality that UX Design may “take too much time” inside companies is hopefully changing as the benefits of UX become more widely known and appreciated.)Don’t get me wrong, senior designers have wisdom of experience from and have been building a store house of heuristics that speed design evaluation and production.
  • Conducts necessary research.
  • Keeps the business goals and user needs at the center of design decisions.
  • Tests with target demographic. (A Senior designer knows that the actual user is the best place to find out how to make the best design solution. But so does a Junior designer.)
  • Iterates based on data from testing, thereby reducing avoidable development rework and saving the stakeholder’s money.
  • Collaborates and communicates well with the team and beyond.




CEO at Digital Karma: digitalkarma.io; Global Educator, Speaker, Mentor, Product Advisor, and Founder

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Jill DaSilva

Jill DaSilva

CEO at Digital Karma: digitalkarma.io; Global Educator, Speaker, Mentor, Product Advisor, and Founder

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