A Day in the Life of a Product Designer Webinar Recap

You’ve got questions. Linda Joy has answers. Stay tuned for this webinar recap.

If you’ve spent any amount of time in the tech industry, you’ll know that tech job titles are abundant. Web developer, front end developer, back end developer, WordPress developer, full stack developer, mobile app developer, and the list goes on, but that’s not even half the story.

Designers are developers’ counterparts, and their job functions are aplenty. Graphic designer, visual designer, web designer, experiential designer, UX/UI designer — what does it all mean?!

Hang onto your hats! In true Skillcrush fashion, we’re peeling back the tech industry jargon and diving deep with the help of Product Designer Linda Joy.

Joy sat down with our very own Adda Birnir to discuss her journey into tech and her current role as a product designer.

Stay tuned for this one!

Table of Contents

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What is a Product Designer?

We know you’re excited, but before we jump into the recap, we need to do some housekeeping: What is a product designer?

Product designers are professionals who oversee the entirety of the design process from start to finish. This process includes research, ideation, prototyping, and testing. Product designers are especially concerned with the user’s experience.

Product design is similar to user experience but not the same… but we’ll talk about that later. 👀

Let’s jump in!

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A Day in the Life of Linda Joy Webinar Recap

Gif of Adda Birnir and Linda Joy talking on webinarAdda Birnir (left) and Linda Joy (right) carry out a lively conversation about product design.

📌 Got a minute? You can watch the full conversation on our webinar replay.

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Linda is a former graphic designer and product designer at Teacher Pay Teacher, with experience at a small healthcare startup and a large software consulting company. Joy started her career as a graphic designer; however, as the internet became more prevalent in our daily lives, she sought out web design as a way to maintain her creative spirit in a changing world.

Joy’s passion for creativity rings true in her favorite mantra:

“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes that makes planning my day difficult.” – E.B. White

In this “Day in the Life” webinar, Joy shares her journey from graphic design to web design, her design process, and offers advice to up-and-coming web designers. You can watch the full webinar or read our brief highlight.

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Key Takeaways

Designers Wear Several Hats

What hats do you wear day-to-day? Coworker, friend, sibling, caretaker, lover — maybe more?

Well, designers where A LOT of hats because the profession is mulit-faceted, with skills specific to each step of the design process.

Joy describes herself as a Researcher, Synthesizer, Maker, Facilitator, Prioritizer, and Coach.

In Joy’s early design days, this dynamic role was exciting because not only was she designing for clients, but she also interacted with user personas to research their needs, prototype models, and refine the product as needed.

But don’t let various functions overwhelm you or dissuade you from entering the profession. Design is a collaborative effort with multiple test and design phases.

“UX Designers are never good at everything, but they are good at one thing and decent at a couple more, and that’s enough for most jobs.” – Christopher Wodtke

Joy suggests finding a specialty you love and letting the rest follow.

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Product Designer vs. UX Designer

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. There are a lot of specialties in design! So how do they — product designer vs. UX designer — differ? Our own Adda Birnir explains it expertly:

In homebuilding, a carpenter builds the wall, ensuring that the home is structurally sound, and a painter paints the wall, creating an aesthetically pleasing space.

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UX designers are more likely to be in an agency or corporation with a centralized design team that is project-based. In this setting, UX designers are more likely to create wireframe prototypes then visual designers will create the aesthetics. Thus, a UX designer can be considered a painter.

On the other hand, product designers are more likely to see a project through to fruition, including defining, ideating, prototyping, and testing a design. They are jacks of all trades, building and painting walls.

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Education is Key

Do you need a UX design degree? No, but Joy recommends taking steps to educate yourself.

“I recommend getting a solid education with a foundation somewhere. I’m not the kind of person who could learn this on my own or just with books. So much of it is getting feedback from peers or coach or mentor.”

Be a sponge, but be careful not to overwhelm yourself with information, Joy warns. Joy’s early introduction to web development and design was self-taught coding; however, she quickly found that there is a never-ending list of specialities and titles. Joy’s solution to data dumps is participating in an immersive program, finding topics that interest you, and establishing a network of people who can support you.

If you’re interested in product design or the design field, check out our Break Into Tech + Get Hired program. Break Into Tech is a self-paced program, with development and design tracks, that prepares you to enter the tech industry with confidence. The Get Hired program comes with a money back guarantee, guaranteeing you get hired in six months or get your money back.

Join our community of Skillcrushers breaking into tech! Take our tech quiz and find out where your Skillcrushin’ journey will lead.

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Desiree Cunningham

Desiree Cunningham is an impassioned writer and editor and Senior Content Marketing Manager at Skillcrush. She has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications and a MA in English, both from Arizona State University. When she's not working with words, you can find her caring for her house plants, reading, or practicing Pilates.