Product designers have a daunting task: making a product as appealing as possible to consumers and clients, who are often picky. It’s a job that incorporates multiple disciplines, from UI/UX to user research. It can also pay quite a lot—especially if you specialize.
Levels.fyi, which crowdsources compensation information for a number of tech positions, broke down the median compensation for product designers who choose to specialize in web, data visualizations, user experience, and more. Check it out:
No matter what your specialization, keep in mind that all product designers must master a core set of skills, including visual design tools (such as Figma and the Adobe product suite), wireframing, prototyping, research, and more. In addition, product designers frequently work with multiple teams throughout an organization, which means they must have great “soft skills” such as communication and empathy, because they’ll need to secure buy-in from other stakeholders.
As with other design roles (such as graphic designer or UI/UX designer), your chances of landing a position increase exponentially if you can show a recruiter and/or hiring manager a robust portfolio of previous work, and explain how those projects had a positive effect on your previous employers and clients. For some potential employers, possessing certifications such as the Google UX Design certificate or one sponsored by a school can help you stand out in a crowded field of applicants.
Last but certainly not least, it’s important for all product designers to approach each new project from the perspective of the eventual end user. That requires a good deal of research at the very beginning of the process to figure out what the users actually want, followed by a lot of collaboration with team members such as UI/UX designers to determine how to translate those desires into the look and feel of the product. At larger tech companies like Google, perfecting your product design abilities can often translate into sizable compensation.