Product Designer

Career Area: Design, Media, and Writing

Occupation Group: Product Design

Salary

Percentile wages tell how much a certain percentage of an overall population in a geographic area or within a given industry or field makes. The percentile wage estimate is the value of a wage below which a certain percent of workers fall.

An example would be the 25th percentile, 25 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 75 percent earn more than the estimated wage value. At the 75th percentile, 75 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 25 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.

A typical Product Designer earns the following wages (national and state):

State

The average salary in North Carolina for those pursuing this career is $99,545

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

National

The average salary in the United States for those pursuing this career is $104,629

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

What Does a Professional in this Career Do?

Responsible for the design of a new product, or redesign of an existing product. Responsible for the aesthetics of the product but also designing how it will work, defining the problem and solving it. May be responsible for producing low-fidelity mock ups, prototypes for validation through user testing and crafting the final product accordingly.

Employment Trends

The job demand and job growth statistics shown here were derived from job posts over the past year. Expected job growth projections are extrapolated from year-over-year job post listing history.

Job demand and job growth is expected at the following rates:

LocationGrowth
North Carolina251+7.6%
Nationwide10656+4.3%

Skills

A professional in this position typically utilizes the following skills in the course of everyday work in this exciting and challenging field:

Baseline Skills

The following are baseline skills every Product Designer is expected to have in order to experience success in this field:

  • Teamwork / Collaboration: Experience working in collaborative efforts with a team to achieve a common goal or to complete a task in the most effective and efficient way.
  • Research: Experience performing creative and systematic work to understand a product, market, or customer, either before building a new solution, or to troubleshoot an existing issue
  • Communication Skills: The ability to convey information to another effectively and efficiently.
  • Creativity: Mental characteristic that allows a person to think outside of the box, which results in innovative or different approaches to a particular task.
  • Problem Solving: Problem solving consists of using generic or ad hoc methods, in an orderly manner, for finding solutions to problems.

Specialized Skills

These skills are specific to working in this career:

  • Product Design: Product design as a verb is to create a new product to be sold by a business to its customers.
  • Visual Design: Working experience of Visual Design, which aims to shape and improve the user experience through considering the effects of illustrations, photography, typography, space, layouts, and color on the usability of products and on their aesthetic appeal. To help designers achieve this, visual design considers a variety of principles, including unity, Gestalt properties, space, hierarchy, balance, contrast, scale, dominance, and similarity.
  • Prototyping: A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from.
  • User Research: Working experience of User Research, which focuses on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies. This field of research aims at improving the usability of products by incorporating experimental and observational research methods to guide the design, development, and refinement of a product. User researchers often work alongside designers, engineers, and programmers in all stages of product creation and idealization.
  • Interaction Design: Interaction design, often abbreviated as IxD, is the practice of designing interactive digital products, environments, systems, and services. While the digital side of this statement is true, interaction design is also useful when creating physical (non-digital) products, exploring how a user might interact with it.

Distinguishing Skills

Any Product Designer that possesses the following skills will stand out against the competition:

  • Agile Development: Working experience of Agile Development, which is an umbrella term for a set of methods and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Agile Manifesto. Solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams utilizing the appropriate practices for their context.
  • Sketching: A sketch is a rapidly executed freehand drawing that is not usually intended as a finished work.
  • Rapid Prototyping: Rapid prototyping is a group of techniques used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a physical part or assembly using three-dimensional computer aided design (CAD) data.
  • Front-end Development: Front-end web development, is the practice of producing HTML, CSS and JavaScript for a website or Web Application so that a user can see and interact with them directly.
  • Data Visualization: Working experience with the creation and study of the visual representation of data. This includes communicating information clearly and efficiently, with the use of statistical graphs, plots, information graphics and other tools.

Experience

This position typically requires the following level of experience. The numbers presented in the pie charts below were derived from actual job posts over the past year. Not all job postings list experience requirements.

Experience Required%
0 to 2 years16%
3 to 5 years58%
6 to 8 years19%

Many of the programs offered through NC State are designed for working professionals who need additional credentials to enhance existing work experience.

Students who do not have the expected level of experience may wish to look into internship and employment opportunities.

Common Job Titles

It is possible to find work in this field in positions commonly listed as the following job titles:

  • Product Designer
  • Senior Product Designer
  • Lead Product Designer
  • Principal Product Designer
  • Product Design Lead

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