Job guides

How to get an entry-level Product Design job?

Role Basics: What is Product Design?

Product designers design what a product experience looks like. This includes everything: what is the logical flow of interacting with a product,  what information is displayed and collected, and — yes — what color that button is. 

Example Product Design projects:

  • Design the user signup and onboarding flows
  • Create a design system
  • Work with a product manager to mock up a new product or feature

Common activities in Product Design:

Product Design metrics: 

Core product metrics like engagement, conversion, and NPS. 

Product Design compensation: 

Entry jobs pay $80-120. They often require either specific training in design or prior experience in graphic design, user research, product management or engineering.

Product Design career path: 

Great. Product designers have the most leverage of any individual contributor in tech products.

How accessible are Product Design jobs?

  • Time to learn. 1+ year and 2,000 hours. 
  • Selectivity. Very selective. But, like engineering, also very transparent – everyone can see both how you work and what you produce.
  • Ease of working remote. OK. Design requires a lot of interaction with the product team, but great designers can work from anywhere.

Job Requirements: What you need to be competitive for product design roles?

Key skills for Product Design:

  • Visual design
  • Interaction/UI
  • User experience design
  • Prototyping experience 
  • Deep experience with Figma or a similar tool
  • Design thinking
  • Usability testing
  • Customer interviewing
  • Front-end dev skills are a big plus

Professional background for Product Design:

Many designers are trained in design or art, but many are self-taught and come to design from a product or user research background. 

Prior accomplishments to be competitive for Product Design:

  • Portfolio – the more you can show specific results (in terms of funnel metrics) the better
  • Example user flows
  • Example wireframes 

Personal characteristics for success in Product Design:

Obsessed with detail. Creative. Visual. Curious. Focused on users.

How to prepare for and get a job in Product Design? 

Projects to learn and prove yourself: 

Key Product Design concepts and resources:

By Taylor Thompson

Taylor is a co-founder at Purpose Built Ventures, where he helps launch mission-driven companies. Before Purpose Built, Taylor led growth at Almanac, strategy for Curious Learning, and product at PharmaSecure. His work helps 100,000s of people collaborate at work, 4 million children learn to read, and protects billions of medicines from counterfeiting. He has hired dozens of people, helped raise more than $50 million, and contributed to as a researcher with Clay Christensen. Taylor is an Echoing Green Fellow, and he has degrees from Dartmouth College and Harvard Business School.

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