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User experience career stages and expectations
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Early careerMid-careerLate career
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Soft SkillsDefinitionAssociate
Associate +
Mid-level
Senior
Senior Lead
Associate Director
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Professional skills%
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Collaboration and opennessWorks with all stakeholders to understand the needs of the business and the user in order to meet their needs and not their own personal agenda.Participates in collaborations sessions by offering their ideas openly and builds on ideas among the team.Occasionally facilitates collaboration sessions to find a solution.Gains proficiency at facilitating meetings and collaboration sessions in order to drive the group towards consensus. Excels at facilitating meetings and collaboration sessions so that they can to drive the group toward consensus. Excels at guiding/mentoring others in facilitating meetings and collaboration sessions so that they can to drive the group toward consensus.
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Confident in their point of view, open to ideas around them, with the goal of finding consensus among the team.Continues to offer ideas but also encourages the ideas of others.Gains proficiency in maintaining a positive environment to encourage all ideas. Excels at maintaining a positive environment to encourage all ideas. Excels at guiding/mentoring others at maintaining positive environment to encourage all ideas.
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Gains proficiency at guiding others in the above.
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LeadershipOwns their own success. Leads through their actions, either to lead people or as a thought leader to forge their ideas into shipped products (or both).Owns their own success by seeking to overcome roadblocks and challenges to create the best product they can.Makes decisions with the success of the whole team and product in mind.Gains proficiency at owning the success of others and the success of the product design.Excels at creating product plans, estimates, and guides the product design around challenges or roadblocks—seeks to minimize issues before they happen.Guides others in all the aspects of leadership described in the previous career stages.
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Balances owning their own success by activity seeking help when they do not have what the need to overcome challenges.Helps others overcome roadblocks and challenges.Gains proficiency in looking at the problem and solution through the lens of all three disciplines: interaction design, visual design, site-developmentGains proficiency at guiding others in the above.
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Plans and estimates their own work and delivers completed product/tasks on time.Helps lead the planning and estimating, and guides the product design.Is proficient at looking at the problem and solution through the lens of all three disciplines: interaction design, visual design, site-development
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Begins to anticipate and over come roadblocks on all tracks of work on the team.
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People growthSeek and provide mentorship to all of those around them, regardless of which team they come from or product affiliation.Seeks to gain proficiency in core skills and gain new skills outside their core skill area.Actively seeks to help others through direct real-time feedback. Gains proficiency in fostering an environment of direct and real-time feedback.Excels at fostering an environment of direct and real-time feedback.Guides others in all the aspects of people growth described in the previous career stages.
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Expects direct and real-time feedback from across all involved teams.Gains proficiency in actively mentoring others in their careers.—in and outside the design team.Excels at actively mentoring others in their careers—in and outside the design team.Is accountable for “design literacy” across the company, seeks to instill design skills in non-traditional designers, for for all products within one or more vertical.
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Seeks to grow “design literacy” across the company and seeks to instill design skills in non-traditional designs.Gains proficiency at growing “HCD literacy” across the company, seeks to instill design skills in non-traditional design roles.
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Excels at growing “design literacy” across the company, seek to instill design skills in non-traditional design roles.
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Relationship buildingPursues twin goals of creating the business solution and building the relationship across the team to bring that solution to market.Seeks to understand the perspective of all members of the team and looks through the eyes of others.Gains proficiency in using existing relationships in order to have a greater impact on the product design.Excels at using relationships to have a greater impact on the product design.Makes self indispensable and desired in any discussion within a project or product they are working on.  It should not be an org chart that requires them to be there, it should be the whole team wanting them there because of the value inherent in their ideas and ability to facilitate towards a common goal.Guides others in all aspects of relationship building described in the previous career stages.
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Product delivery %%%%
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Creative problem solvingCreates a positive environment to recognize the parameters of the problem and overcome challenges to create a desired solution.Seeks to understand the problem and presents solutions that navigate constraints.Gains proficiency in understanding all facets of the problem and presents solutions that navigate constraints with a clear design point of view.Excels at understanding all facets (user, business, technology) of the problem and presents solutions that navigate constraints with a clear design point of view.Gains proficiency at understanding and articulating the long-term strategic context and direction of a product line.Gains proficiency at guiding others in all aspects of creative problem solving described in the previous career stages.
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Gains proficiency at positioning a solution to an immediate design problem as a stepping-stone to the strategic goal.
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User focused deliveryDelivers the best possible user experience that achieves the business objectives with the available technologies.Seeks to understand the business needs, technology constraints to create options to meet the users needs.Advocates for the user's perspective to help shape the design of the product.Champions, yet balances, the perspective of the user with the constraints of the business and technology solution to create the best solution within time.Looks across many releases of a product, into the future, to advocate for the user at each release while seeing it as a product evolution.Gains proficiency at guiding others in all aspects of user focused delivery solving described in the previous career stages.
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Communication skills%%%%
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Presentation skillsPresents an idea or concept in an engaging way and works to persuade the audience to understand, or accept, this idea.Seeks to gain proficiency in presenting ideas and points of view clearly.Excels at presenting ideas clearly and seeks to gain proficiency in persuading the amicable audience to understand or accept your point of view.Excels at persuading an amicable audience to understand or accept practitioner point of view.Excels at engaging and persuading an in-different audience.Excels at engaging and persuading a disagreeable audience to understand or accept practitioner point of view.
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Gains proficiency in engaging and persuading an in-different audience to understand or accept practitioner point of view.Gains proficiency in engaging and persuading a disagreeable audience to understand or accept practitioner point of view.Guides others in all aspects of presentation skills described in the previous career stages.
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Group facilitation skillsFrames the goal of the discussion and facilitates the group toward that goal.Seeks to understand goals of the discussion and contributes to finding that goal.Aids in the framing the goal of a discussion and assists the facilitator towards that goal.Gains proficiency in framing the goal of a discussion and facilitating a group to consensus.Excels at framing the goal of a discussion and facilitating a group to consensus.Guides others in facilitating a group to consensus.
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Interpersonal communication skillsTakes each interaction with a team member as an opportunity to build relationships. Seeks to connect the goals and motivations of others to the value of the task at hand.Seeks to gain skills that make each conversation with an individual a learning experience.Excels at using each conversation with a team member as a learning experience.Excels at using each interaction with a team member as a means to build a working relationship.Excels at reading other people in a conversation and understands how to help them gain what they are looking for from the conversation.Guides others in all aspects of relationship building described in the previous career stages.
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Gains proficiency at using each interaction with a team member as a means to build a working relationship.Gains proficiency at reading other people in a conversation and learns how to help them gain what they are looking for from the conversation.
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