Pros and Cons of Working as a Designer at a UX Agency
UX agency employees work for a business-to-business (b2b) company that provides a specialized service (or set of benefits). The job often includes working with a wide variety of clients whose distinction spans many global locations and reaches across various industries, including the tech sector, real estate, e-commerce, and everything in-between.
So does working at such a company carry any valuable benefits, or are there too many drawbacks to consider diving into this sector? The truth is, as, with any industry, there are both pros and cons. Let’s consider some of the primary benefits and downsides of working as a designer at a UX agency.
Project And Customer Variety
If you’re looking for variety in the types of projects you work on, the UX design industry is undoubtedly ready to accommodate. UX design agencies work with a wide array of clients across niche and industry-wide businesses. This means that the work will always stay exciting, especially tackling new challenges. You could go from building a website for a local newspaper to designing a sophisticated app for NASA, which could happen in the same month.
Working On A Project With A Team Of Other Specialists
If you are drawn to a collaborative team mentality, a UX design agency involves a team working closely together on putting projects together at all times, with different team members responsible for other aspects of the project. Aside from the fun, team-driven environment that this generates, you can quickly reach out to any team members for help if you need assistance.
Rapidly Changing And Perpetually Progressive Environment
Are you looking for exciting, fast-paced work? UX design tends to demand quick turnarounds on the requested projects, which means that deadlines come up quickly, and the next task is looming just around the corner. Even the individual projects quickly move through stages which means that no two days are likely to be similar. If you enjoy being kept on your toes with what comes next, this is indeed the line of work for you.
Great Social Environment
Because UX design is so team-oriented, leading UX design agencies promote a productive social environment where employees can build solid relationships with their coworkers. This is most often achieved through game nights, basketball games, or even social events like group parties. In this environment, colleagues are encouraged to run their ideas and collaboratively help boost each other’s creative sides.
The critical aspect of the design is innovation. As new concepts are introduced, they must be learned. If you are greedy for new knowledge, then a UX agency is the perfect environment to thrive in, as there is always something new to dive into and study. A UX design agency’s reputation depends on fresh ideas and consistent delivery of optimal performance. The team members should always be on top of the latest concepts and trends. In other words, this is a line of work where one never ceases to stop learning. The more knowledge you absorb, the more effective and versatile you can be in your career, so it is always essential to be learning in the UX design environment.
While many UX designers choose to be freelancers, UX agencies offer stable work positions, paid time off, and comprehensive retirement plans. The average earnings for UX designers start at about $59,000 for entry-level designers to about $128,000 for seniors. Pending consistently good performance, a UX designer can earn as much as $90,000 annually a few years into their position. By contrast, this is far more than what an average freelancer will make for the same type of work.
Opportunities To Establish Networked Connections
While the UX agency is a social environment, there are also ample networking opportunities. The design industry stems significantly outside of one’s agency and can even build networking connections with clients. While performing one’s duties, a designer will need to interact with much different personnel in varying lines of design work, whether they are on the development end or the client end. Once connections like this are established, if you should ever want to part ways with your current agency, you will have plenty of personnel to reach out to for more exciting job opportunities.
Focus On Your Favorite Aspects
Those working in a UX design agency do not need to concern themselves with some of the main issues facing freelancers. They need to market their services, manage their finances, and pick up new customers by whatever methods they can acquire them. Plus, their workflow can suddenly dry up, leading to stress about earning their regular income. And on top of all that, they need to put their maximum effort into doing quality work. At a UX agency, employees can count on all aspects being taken care of, so their focus can be solely on producing the best possible output for their clients.
No UX Agency Is Exactly The Same
Every UX design agency has its atmosphere and style, and no two are exactly alike. While some observe a more conservative, hard-nosed ideology, others offer a much more passe environment with a far more relaxed culture. Whatever your preference is, there is likely a UX design agency with your preferred style of ethics and culture for you to fit into comfortably.
Some people work well under pressure, while others get scatterbrained and stressed. Clients' perpetually looming deadlines and strains can be overwhelming for some individuals. For those working in the UX design industry, it is important to have thick skin in accepting client criticism and coping with last-minute deadline changes mentally.
Excessively Competitive Environment
When accomplishments in project completions get incentivized by bonuses, the collaborative environment can turn into more of a cut-throat competitive one. Instead of working together with a team, such an environment becomes a race to get the best results first. Many UX designers are essentially toiling away on the same aspects of a project individually. Unfortunately, some UX design agencies operate in this kind of “shark” mentality, and that kind of culture is certainly not for everyone.
Lack Of Industry Specialization
We mentioned the variety of projects as an advantage that keeps users constantly shifting to new tasks, so the work doesn’t get stale. But there are two sides to this lack of industry specialization too. If you are trying to get fully immersed in a particular project akin to your interest, you may not be able to do so as you will be pulled away to work on something different. Particular UX designers get frustrated by this as it impedes their ability to learn and dive into a specific industry in any depth.
Not All Work Will Be Exciting
UX designers can be thrilled to work on an excellent, trendy app one week, then get shifted to mundane websites full of charts, tables, financials, and other elements they find utterly tedious work. The projects may not always be engaging and exciting because of the constant changes in clients’ and agencies' work. UX designers have to handle dealing with unexciting work as this is simply part of the gig they signed up for. Showing lowered enthusiasm or dragging your feet on a project you find to be stale and boring will not reflect very well on your relationship with the agency.
While working with a UX agency can be an enriching experience, it also has its downsides, and it is fair to say that this is an environment suited for some designers far more than it is for others. How you feel about a design agency depends on what you are looking to get from your experience working with them. If the cons described above are things you can handle, a UX design agency could be an ideal landing place for your career.
– Thanks for reading! 🙏🏼
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