As one moves higher in the career ladder, what job roles does a Senior User Experience expert (incl. of specialization in information design, interaction design or similar designation tags) get involved or engage in. What kind of roles they usually play? To split this -

  1. 5 years and above
  2. 10 years and above
  3. 15 years and above
  • Are you speaking generically across the industry or specifically within your organization? Mar 10, 2012 at 13:30
  • In generic, how are people seeking/working in differing roles when they turn senior!
    – inkmarble
    Mar 11, 2012 at 4:04
  • UX design as a field is not old enough for there to be any meaningful conventions that have been established and can be referenced. As such, this question will only reveal assumptions, anecdotes and opinions, which isn't useful.
    – Rahul
    Mar 12, 2012 at 19:22

2 Answers 2


Tough question! There are a number of things that come with being an expert/senior in any field which most certainly applies here too. There are two main roads to follow: (1) manager role (2) specializing and getting more responsibility.

The manager role is straight forward. You get promoted to lead your User Experience expert group, if the company is big enough or your company invests in the field of User Experience. Now, that’s not always the best thing assigning the best specialist to take on a manager role, since a manager (in my mind) should be a leader and not an expert. You waste your competence managing other people where you could make a difference with your skills.

It would be better to choose the other road - increasing skills either in general or specialize in a certain field such as Information Architecture, Interaction Design or Usability Testing or even narrower such as Card Sorting expert or Ontology specialist?

Its very hard to say when one will get promoted/more specialized since there are a lot of unpredictable variables such as:

  • "Is there a position open?"
  • "Is there going to be a reorganization sometime soon?"
  • "Does the company grow and needs to hire more employees?"
  • "What will happen in world economy, and will Greece stay inside the Euro zone?"

That's why "when" cannot be answered correct.

  • I agree that there is a lot of variables. Not sure it's the right thing to say 'It would be better to choose the other road'. Especially in a growing organization it can be very beneficial if a skilled expert takes a leadership role develop the skills of the entire group. Mar 12, 2012 at 17:17

The higher you move in the career ladder the less important specific UX skills become. The reason I say that is because at the senior level it is expected that you already have a solid grasp on fundamental UX skills. What really changes over time is your ability to think strategically. For example, are you able to consider architecture-level, project-planning, and other project-level issues? Are you ensuring that projects are conducted in ways that benefit the project objectives, the people participating in the project, and the client's/company's long-term interests? Are you able to bring teams together to facilitate making difficult decisions? In short, are you able to contribute beyond just the assigned tasks.

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