While there are certainly occupations that might seem, on the surface, anyway, to be better than being a product designer (billionaire crimefighter, reality TV star, etc.), those jobs don’t compare to taking an idea and figuring out how to make it a reality. Sure, the hours might be long, but the pros outweigh the cons by a wide margin. Here are some of the best aspects of being a product designer.
We’ll start with the most obvious plus first. As of Feb. 2017, the average annual salary for a product designer is just under $74,000. That’s nothing to sneeze at, to be sure, but a closer look at the numbers reveals some specific companies with even better pay. Designers at tech companies can earn between $140,000 and $160,000 a year. Even at the bottom end of the salary scale, an intern with Apple’s Product Design dept. can make nearly $40 an hour.
The amount of control you exert over what you design can be near-total. If there’s a flaw or if something breaks down, you can be the person who saves the day and fixes it. Yes, that will require some extra time and brainpower, but you’re providing a vital service to customers and businesses, and there’s a certain amount of pride that goes along with that ability.
Part of the team
Product design isn’t just about the individual; it’s about that individual working as part of a group. If you’re someone who loves when a football or basketball team works like a well-oiled machine, you’ll probably love playing a vital role in something bigger than yourself.
Playing the field
With such a fast-growing market that seems to produce new innovations every few minutes, there’s an increasing demand for product designers all over the world. And that means greater opportunity. If you so choose, you don’t even have to commit to one company. Freelancing can be a great way to dip into and out of various areas of product design , because it’s such a wide-ranging field that you can get all kinds of different experience under the same umbrella.
A mixture of skills
How many people have you known who excel at one job, but also show promise in another field? Perhaps you know someone who can work wonders in mechanical engineering, but is a talented artist in their off-hours. Product design is a combination of different skill sets that can allow you to express yourself in different ways. It’s a mesh of artistic, engineering, and business acumen that takes a special kind of person to perform.
The image of the worker headed off to their cubicle-bound job wearing a suit and tie is outdated in a lot of professions, but it’s especially inaccurate in the world of product design. Design departments are often some of the least formal areas in a company. In a world where free-thinking and artistic expression are a vital part of the process, the starched shirt, windowless rooms and flimsy five-foot walls are increasingly a thing of the past.
Tools of the trade
Technology is improving within the world of product design so quickly that ideas and concepts once thought impossible are now commonplace. With increasing sophisticated tools, it’s becoming ever-easier to bring complex ideas to fruition. This creates new opportunities every day for those who want to design new and exciting products.
Is product design for everyone? No. Make no mistake, it’s a demanding occupation. But with the potential rewards and the ever-widening field of possibilities, it’s certainly a job worth considering, if you have the right set of skills.
Want to stay up-to-date on the product design industry? Read our post “7 Excellent Websites That Every Product Designer Should Bookmark .”