Design is Harder than Engineering
but we don't get paid as well ...
Ah, product design. The glamorous world of sleek interfaces, user flows, and endless rounds of stakeholder feedback. While some might argue that engineering is the harder job, we're here to tell you that product design is the real MVP of the tech world. Here's why:
First of all, let's talk about the sheer number of variables that product designers have to juggle. Sure, engineers have to worry about things like code quality, scalability, and performance, but product designers have to consider everything from user needs to business goals to brand identity. It's like juggling a dozen flaming chainsaws, except the chainsaws are made of user feedback and the flames are the burning rage of your stakeholders.
And speaking of stakeholders, let's talk about the fun game of "design by committee." As a product designer, you have to deal with everyone from the CEO to the intern who thinks they know better than you. And don't even get us started on the "my kid/niece/cousin could do this in Paint" crowd. It's like being in a never-ending meeting with that one person who always has to have the last word.
But hey, at least product designers get to be creative, right? Well, sort of. Sure, there are moments of inspiration and artistic flair, but most of the time, product design is more about problem-solving than creativity. You have to take a set of complex requirements and constraints and turn them into a product that meets user needs, looks great, and functions seamlessly. It's like being an artist, engineer, and therapist all rolled into one. And if that doesn't sound like fun, we don't know what does.
Oh, and let's not forget about the constant need for iteration and improvement. While engineers can write a piece of code and call it a day, product designers are always refining, tweaking, and testing their designs. It's like running a never-ending marathon, except instead of hitting a finish line, you just keep running until your stakeholders are finally happy (which, let's face it, is never).
And don't even get us started on the emotional toll of product design. The constant stress of deadlines, the never-ending feedback loops, the feeling that you're not making a real impact in the world. It's like being trapped in an episode of Black Mirror, except instead of being chased by killer robots, you're being chased by deadlines and a never-ending stream of Slack messages.
But despite all the challenges and frustrations, we wouldn't have it any other way. Product design is a tough gig, but it's also one of the most rewarding. There's nothing quite like the feeling of seeing a product you've designed come to life and make a real difference in people's lives. And hey, if all else fails, there's always whiskey (or wine, or beer, or whatever your poison of choice happens to be).
So there you have it. While engineers might have to worry about things like logic and algorithms, product designers have to worry about everything else. It's a tough gig, but someone's gotta do it. And we're just glad that someone is us. Now, if we could just get paid as well.
About John Wayne Hill
While this post, and substack, are a bit in jest and meant to be snarky, there is some truth to this as well. In truth, I love collaborating with Engineering and Product Management to make awesome products. Learn more about me at https://johnwaynehill.com
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