Shape
Blog / / Design Careers

The Power of Niching Down as a UI/UX Designer

Finding your way into a career in UI/UX or product design is a lot easier if you niche down and choose an industry and projects that you enjoy working on.

When I talk about industries, I'm talking about different sectors like financial or healthcare, and specifically industries like FinTech, Health-tech Education or Ecommerce (more about how to go about choosing an industry here). There are four main reasons why you might want to niche down as a UI/UX or product designer and why it can be so helpful in the early stages of your career.

One of the biggest reasons that designers are afraid to do this is because they think it will limit their options. But being a generalist, that's only okay and just not as effective or efficient as being one that is really good at a specific area and here's why.

1. Job Enjoyment

Woman working on large monitor doing UI design
Photo by XPS

The industry that you choose will dictate the user flows and tasks. That you spend most of your time doing. So if you don't enjoy working on shopping cart flows all day or checkout tasks, then you're probably not going to really enjoy your job working in Ecommerce. Choose an industry that you think will give you the most excitement and enjoyment in your day-to-day tasks.

2. Saves Time and Energy

UX Designer using sticky notes for UX research
Photo by UX Indonesia

Knowing what industry you want to work in saves a lot of time and energy on research. If you already have some familiarity with the market of the industry that you want to work in; for instance say elderly healthcare or kids, then you won't have to spend as much time and energy having to research it and becoming familiar with your users and gaining access to them. If you don't spend your time around a lot of kids, then working on children's apps might require significantly more time and energy and research and gain access to your users and to understand them.

3. Broad isn't always better

White desk with laptop, wireframe stensils and coffee and other UX tools
Photo by UX Store

It's hard to be a really good Jack of all trades, especially in the beginning when you're working on learning and mastering your craft and gaining experience and doing projects.

Niching down allows you to focus on what you do best now and showcase that through your portfolio and case studies and you only need to do two or three to start out with before you jump into applying for jobs.

4. Product-Designer Fit

Asian woman with glasses wearing plaid blazer designing on computer
Photo by Windows

Employers and clients are looking for a good product-designer fit. Think about it from their perspective, with all other things being equal, if you were a hiring manager or CEO for a health-tech startup, would you be more interested in looking at the portfolios of designers that have actually worked in the health-tech space or portfolios of designers that have a broad range of experience in other areas like retail or Fin-Tech?

Showing in-depth specialized knowledge of an industry helps potential employers see that you really understand their problem space and the issues that they're facing and that you've actually worked on solutions that could be helpful to them.

Notion portfolio templates by DesignerUp
DesignerUp Portfolio Templates

There are a lot of things you can do and different ways that you can stand out with your portfolio and your case studies when you're embarking on your learning journey and creating these things. It's important that these things are tailored to who you are, that you're bringing in your strengths, that you're working on your weaknesses and telling your story. And, that you're starting from a place that doesn't completely suck up all of your time and energy before you've even gotten started. Niching down is one of those ways.

By having clarity around these things and defining them for yourself you can really push start your career in a positive way.

If you want to learn other ways to do this, and specifically how to do this for yourself with 1-on-1 guidance from an instructor, come check out our Product Design Master Course.