The individual contributor (IC) career path starts with people beginning their design career and is designed to help grow them to seasoned industry leaders.
Each skill is split into 5 levels in an approximately exponential scale. This is designed to accomodate early-career designers leveling up at an appropriate rate. This helps prevent the creation of functionally meaningless job titles that often confuse, rather than reflect the true value mid and senior level designers bring.
Support | Starting their professional journey
Experience Little or no professional experience in the track. Titles Intern or Associate level Path Levels Support in at least six levels. Tenure 1-2 years
Early-career designers, recent graduates or people new to the design field.
Has a basic foundation from formal or informal education, but little-to-no professional experience.
Requires hands-on mentoring and outside direction for most work.
Is still learning the value and application of feedback.
Similar to the traditional apprentice model, this designer copies and produces work that more experienced designers establish.
Build | Mature knowledge
Experience Mature knowledge to build and create, starting to help others to grow Titles Mid-level Designer Path Levels Build in three or more levels, support in at least four others. Tenure 2-5 years
A designer that has established themself as a capable contributor and is able to apply and share the knowledge they've gained from a few years of professional experience.
Self-starter, able to produce value with little direction while proactively seeking and applying feedback from others.
Effectively uses and extends what others create.
Applies best-practices successfully, is able to understand and apply underlying principles behind successful designs, copying while adding their own synthesized take on the work.
Lead | Responsible for the success of others
Experience Lead teams or projects, driving culture and processes at Liferay. Titles Senior Designer Path Levels Lead in at least three levels, build in four or more, and at least support all others. Tenure 5-20 years
Senior-level designers are recognized, resident experts in a few verticals.
Able to successfully balance quality and quantity to deliver value.
Create economies of scale, develops and effectively shares useful tools and best-practices.
Designs at an increasing resolution — beyond layouts or pages to entire projects and applications.
Starting to mentor and lead people more directly — may have one or two direct reports.
Strategize | Organizational leader
Experience Proven success internally, becoming noticed in the industry. Titles Staff Designer, often a project or program leader Path Levels Strategize in at least two levels, lead in five or more. Tenure 10-20 years
A high-level performer with a proven track-record for driving change at the organizational level.
Leading multiple initiatives, large product areas, or teams and programs.
Starting to progress in people management, as necessary — may have multiple direct reports.
Architect | Industry leader
Experience Helping to shape the industry. Titles Principal Designer, or upper-level management. Path Levels Architect a level, strategize in two or more. Tenure 15+ years
Established high-level performer, able to provide technical leadership for a department or program.
Designers at this level are recognized industry experts in their respective verticals.
An experienced people manager, able to effectively manage multiple direct reports as necessary.