Growth of PM vs UX

Hello all.

What do you think there will be more of a demand of PM or UX roles in the future?

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Both roles are needed now and will be needed in the future. Both require you to understand the customers.

The key is this: product management is about articulating problems; UX is about designing solutions. Unfortunately, many product managers aren’t doing product management; they’re supervising dev teams and designing user interfaces. Important work, yes, but not product management.

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Both - currently a PM, but thinking of making the switch to UX to escape the middle management hell that seems to come with the role.

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@RisaButler,
Funny. UX designers sometimes switch over to PM because they want more ownership and decision-making authority.

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Grass is always greener on the other side…

Is being a middle manager that bad?

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@DaveKim, Unfortunately, yeah… being the face that takes the blame for bad C-level decision making is exhausting and grating.

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@Lawrence, Would you switch to something like project management?

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@DaveKim.
Honestly think it will probably be UX based - I like the technical parts of the UX work I currently do and being in the market testing with users is great as well. My least favorite parts are playing the visionary and making sure everything runs well… my current role is more product owner + project manager + product manager + UX or other understaffed tech role, which doesn’t help. I’m stretched too thin and always feel like I’m underperforming :confused:

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Look into Design Operations, or “DesignOps”. Many design-centric organizations are just now standing up or growing Design Operations practices within their larger design organizations. It might align with your interests. The DesignOps Summit is this week, so you will see a proliferation of content about it over the next few days, if you are looking.

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Each of these roles is incompatible with the rest. No wonder you’re exhausted.

Hiring managers today seem to be searching for “purple squirrels.” They’re unicorns that can do everything and will work for peanuts.

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Oh damn that sucks. Hopefully you’ll be able to do something which you truly love. I do a mixture of product management and product marketing. I don’t really like product management and I’m leaning more towards product marketing.

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I think both will be demanded. PM includes UX among other components, and doesn’t get as deep into it, as UX does. I see PM as a “wide” area, while UX as a “deep” area. It is important for a PM to be competent in UX, though it’s impossible to be as competent in it as the UX, whose primary job it is. Different problems will require different people.

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I personally also am finding the PM role to be middle management hell. It’s probably better, but also more stressful at the upper levels.

Some general thoughts:

  • There are less product management roles overall. Also, at higher levels, it seems difficult to break into companies, because they often promote from within for people that know the product and industry already.
  • Product management is a better path to the executive type level (director, VP, etc.) if you want to go that route
  • PM will have lots more variety of busy work including presentations, customer calls, side research projects, pricing projects, travel, etc.
  • UX, especially mobile focused, can get you a job anywhere
  • UX is easier to get remote work for

Basically, UX is more of an individual contributor role and PM will be more management. Have to decide what you have more interest in but consider the things I listed above.

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You will get a higher market value with ux as it is more transferable. Pm is a bit more bound to an industry imo.

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@HeatherKurtz, I’m feeling this right now. Got a year and a half into a Pro AV PM role in a region that has mostly software-based industry. The company folded and I’ve been struggling to find another gig. I did some app development and other software stuff as part of that job but not to the degree that everyone’s looking for.

I have a design background and I’m into UX so I’m hoping to pivot once I get my portfolio on point.

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They’ll probably grow in lock-step. Most (big) companies care about the ratio - e.g. my current company is targeting a 1 designer to 2 PMs ratio. So as long as the company/industry is growing, you should see demand for both roles grow at roughly the same rate.

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I think UX can only grow. We are now seeing best-practices masquerading as expertise, but that will flesh-out over the next few years. The stats are in, HUMAN CENTERED DESIGN is the wave of the future.