When we talk about the stability of a career, we're talking about things and services that people will always need. Industries that rise with economic inflation and withstand economic downturns overtime. That's why many of our parents wanted us to become doctors or lawyers or more recently computer engineers. But can we add UX and Product Design to that list?
When we talk about the stability of a career, we're talking about things and services that people will always need. Industries that rise with economic inflation and withstand economic downturns overtime. That's why many of our parents wanted us to become doctors or lawyers or more recently computer engineers and now I think we can confidently add UI/UX and Product designer to that list.
There are 3 big reasons why a career in product design is going to be stable for the next 10, 20 or 30 years
- Digital dependence - The world is only becoming increasingly digitally dependent and connected - there are more and more use cases and complexities of problems to solve and an immense amount of data that we have to sift through and process in order to design things that make that connectivity more accessible and usable for more people.
- Old businesses are moving online - There are the mom and pop shops and small business and archaic institutions and governmental systems that need to evolve to compete to stay relevant and to stay alive and to stay useful.
- New tech innovation is forging ahead - There are the cutting-edge experiences that are just now being developed for voice recognition, games, augmented reality, virtual reality, AI and machine learning and were just scratching the surface.
"Not only were we supporting the businesses, but in a lot of cases we were helping create that North Star and really getting the business to [rethink their experience strategy] in order to compete and thrive over the next 100 years.” - Heidi Munc, Vice President of User Experience at Nationwide
But that might make you wonder, doesn't that mean AI and the robots will just take over the world and make our jobs obsolete?
Well as much as Skynet frightens me to, that's not really historically the case or how it tends to work in complex systems over time. In fact, the human factor is predicted to become even more valuable in most cases regarding innovation in technology, whether we are programming, designing it or holding it accountable to our human standards we will be involved in the co-creation and advancement of technology at least for the long foreseeable future.
Human judgements will become more valuable in the age of AI.
The other reason for career stability in this field; is professional evolution. Designers don’t disappear, they evolve.
This is evident is the history of design, starting with industrial design moving to graphics and into more complex digital interfaces and interactions. The same way many graphic designers transitioned into visual design, then web design then UI/UX and now product design. Up-skilling and learning new things is the key to expanding our career options over time. Those that can keep up are rewarded with future proofed careers. Those that can't tend to get left behind.
So the answer to is this a stable long-term career option, absolutely yes.
Another consideration is job stability
A job is simply a contract between you and an employer or client. Jobs are what make up your career. The stability of these jobs will vary depending on the organization, the industry the demand and various other factors of how the business is run. The interesting thing about being a product or UI/UX designer is that you have the option to apply your skills to getting many different types of jobs.
For example in my career as a product designer I've held jobs as a freelancer working for health-tech startups, I've been employed by large tech companies I've built my own SaaS apps and worked at an agency just to name a few. Some of these jobs were more long-term or stable than others, but when I was ready to move on there was always something else waiting just on the horizon. Something else to continue the trajectory or my stable career.
But the caveat is that it requires you to constantly evolve with the field in order to capitalize on opportunities.
For that you need to constantly be addressing the following things
- Practicing what you know
- Learning new things that you don't
- Working on things you love
- Monitoring trends
- Accesses your weakness and strengths
- Filling in blindspots
- Being proactive about your learning
- Investing in your education
- Optimizing your processes
These are all the things that I love about product design and have kept me in the industry for 13 years now. But I think, the best part is getting to mentor and teach and learn from others that are doing incredible work in our field and watch new designer make things better for all of us for years to come.