Photo by Mia Baker on Unsplash

Becoming a Senior Product Designer

Becoming a Senior Product Designer may be different from you think.

shay.
shay.
Aug 28, 2019 · 4 min read

This post is written based on my own experience and some of the things mentioned below may not apply to you and your journey as a designer. This is also written from the perspective of a Product Designer but may also apply to other design fields.

We, as modern human beings, work for 30–40 years. Decades passed, design changed, the industry changed, the world changed. If you have a bad habit and you practice said habit everyday, you aren’t as good as your neighbouring designer who keeps pushing themselves forward everyday to be better.

Good habits become skills and I wanted to share some of the skills I’ve learned while progressing towards seniority as a Product Designer.

1. Learnability.

One example is the tools you use to design. As a junior, you learn the industry-standard tools and start creating with them, you may have a mentor to teach you how to use the tools. But as you progress, tools change, and no one is gonna be there to handhold you through a new tool forever. The tech industry is moving so fast that it is a very important skill to keep up with and to learn quickly. Otherwise, you’ll be left behind.

Besides tools, learn about new processes, new workflows, things that work for your team logistically and financially. Moreover, learn about development, nature, politics, science, art (not necessarily in this order). Become a unicorn. Get out of your comfort zone and your own head. Learn about everything and anything. Find how you learn best and learn more, everyday. Learn from other people. Learn so you get inspired and also you can inspire others.

Being a senior means curiosity and self-education.

2. Adaptability.

Be flexible, try to use your knowledge for different scenarios. Don’t be rigid. Don’t be precious. Don’t get attached to ideas or processes. Don’t be egotistic.

Being a senior means adapting.

3. Communication and collaboration.

Use your adaptability skills and be flexible when you communicate and collaborate with your team. Stop being controlling and pushy, compromise with your team (and know when to do so). Ask for help when you need it.

Paradoxically, you’ll need to be less of a perfectionist to make a better product; meaning, know when to push for a design decision and when to let go. Your team makes your products stronger, not the other way around.

Being a senior designer means working well with others (not just designers).

4. Educating others about design.

If your stakeholders already know and adopted design and design thinking, great! Now it’s time for you to work out the process that works for your team and be an even bigger champion of design.

Being a senior designer means championing design.

5. Design team.

Do you know how to hire designers and evaluate their skills? How do you know they will work well with you and your team? If you use a recruiter or recruitment agency, do you know how to brief them?

When you have new members in your team, how are you training them? Are you being kind and patient? Are you being too hand-ons (read: micro-managing)?

These questions are not only applicable to designers but also for any other roles.

Being a senior designer means leadership.

6. Confidence.

But what does confidence mean in a design environment?

You know how to provide and receive feedback. You know your work may not be perfect but that’s okay and you know how to improve in the next iterations.

Confidence is knowing no one is perfect.

Being a senior designer means confidence.

One last note.


Design + Sketch

The best collection of articles, tips, tutorials, and stories on designing and prototyping with Sketch and beyond

shay.

Written by

shay.

designer-writer & maker of all things digital. my words have appeared on UX Collective, The Startup, Design+Sketch, P.S. I Love You & more. | myagender.info

Design + Sketch

The best collection of articles, tips, tutorials, and stories on designing and prototyping with Sketch and beyond

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