Career paths for designers

Career paths for designers
As UX design as a field is maturing, so are the insights into UX positions. A UX designer was always able to grow into a senior UX designer, but other options weren't really available within the field. Mainly because "the field" didn't identify and shape more distinctive positions. You needed to move to positions like project management or product owner. Or stick to being a senior designer.

Helping clients and users with better solutions was never an issue. But what happens when you want to level up yourself?

Market advancements

All around us we see organisations becoming more and more mature when it comes to embedding design into their structures.

Further integration of UX in organisations has contributed to the need for UX competences on more strategic positions. As a result, there's a growing need for more strategic UX profiles.


From Designer to Senior Designer

Not every designer has a clear perspective on their career. Getting actual work under their belt is a goal in itself on that path. It's crucial to gain actual experience with common problems and their common solutions.

As you gather experience you will be able to do ever more complex projects. Those have their own common problems and their common solutions. As you're coming along in those types of project, the adjective "senior" becomes fitting.

As a senior you are expected to be able to create solutions on a more conceptual level. Although progress on more execution level skills is normal, ongoing progress on conceptual level skills is crucial.


Quick note

Don't rush past the early stages of your career. Find out what you really enjoy and what you really excel at first. Besides, calling yourself a senior designer with 2 years of work under your belt will not endear you to fellow designers. At the same time, calling yourself experienced in an area or skill after one project will raise some eyebrows as well.


Design positions to grow into

At Keen, we work with the positions below that our designers can work towards.

In addition, designers are able to move to other fields. We cover user research, service design, user experience design, user interface design and visual design. Those have their own trajectory.


Career paths at Keen

Tracks that embrace differences

We have been working on personal development at Keen as long as I can remember. It's been an absolute joy to see people grow in their positions and, as a result, as people.

And everyone's different with different ambitions. That's why I'm especially glad that we have paths for UX designers that embrace these differences.

Below you will find the positions that we're helping our colleagues work towards.



Position Short description

Senior Designer

So many excellent senior designers are needed that focussing on becoming an even better designer can be challenge enough.

Design Lead Leading a group of different designers in projects, in order to deliver a high-quality result for your clients.
Leadership Track

Where as a designer you're focused on your problem, in the leadership track you are working towards helping your team achieve their results. There's more focus on communication, leadership and stakeholder management skills.

Team Lead Leading a team of different designers doing multiple projects, as part of a department in an organisation.
Design Manager Managing and growing design and designers in an organisation.
Strategy Track

The Strategy Track is all about the biggest and most complex design solutions. And helping your client with the best solutions possible. There's much more focus on innovation, reflection and skills on a higher conceptual and business level.

Design Architect Directing the organisation-wide implementation of the design strategy.
Design Strategist Creating a new design strategy for a client.
Business Units

From our Leadership and Strategy tracks there is another level to grow into, which is our Business Unit Lead position,

Business Unit Lead At Keen, we have several business units to cater to different sectors. As Business Unit Lead, you combine design with business leadership.
DesignOps Track

The DesignOps track is mostly aimed at improving design within the organisation, which often means improving designers.

Design Chapter Lead Managing and developing way of working through DesignOps, head of the UX Community within an organisation.


Level Up Yourself

The positions at Keen are obviously there to carry out our projects to a high level of quality.

In addition, they are there to help co-workers to get a better grip on where they want to go and how to get there.

Each position has its own set of competences and skills. That system helps everyone to determine what they need to do to get there. And it helps their colleagues and our clients to assess their proficiency along the way.


Don't know (yet)?

That's fine. we're not making you pick one. There's room to grow for everyone in each role. And our coaches can help you get a better sense of what you want to do.


Want to know more?

Let us know that you're interested in knowing more! We're happy to share our thoughts, especially if it helps you get a clearer picture of what you want to do next.

Send me an email at and I'll get back to you!

Trying to look forward?

Level Up Yourself!

Hans Kemp