A Peek Into The Design Cultures of Tech Companies

Robene June

December 14, 2022


Designers are some of the most in-demand professionals in today's digital world. The global market for specialized design services was valued at $141.13 billion in 2022, and it's projected to grow to $187.12 billion by 2026. That's because tech companies recognize how integral design is to their projects. A bad design can cause a company to lose millions of dollars.

With technology becoming a staple in our lives and continuously advancing, designers will likely continue to be in high demand in the tech industry. If you're interested in pursuing a career here, you may be curious about design culture in tech. Here's what you need to know and how you can prepare accordingly.

A competitive field

Getting into design is understandably competitive, especially when applying for big companies. Unprecedented digital transformation requires designers to be agile, keeping up with the latest challenges with the best training. To acclimate to the competitive nature of tech design culture, you must have the edge over other applicants. Finishing a design degree program can often make you more qualified than applicants with a design certificate.

However, design degrees are less crucial today than before. As such, finishing a certificate course can be an excellent way to get into the field if you majored in something else.

Variation according to the company’s size

The culture of a company’s design team can vary dramatically, depending on its size. Designer Fund’s 2017 article ‘A Designer’s Guide to Working in Tech’ delineates these differences. A big company will always be hiring, given the number of projects they constantly need to staff. Because of the scale of their operations, it’s likely that each design team has a different working dynamic. You will also have ample time to focus on your specialization since a professional is assigned to each stage of the creative process.

Startups, on the other hand, allow you to explore your different areas in addition to design. Since design teams are smaller, you may need to take on multiple design roles. In addition, you’ll have ample opportunities to explore tasks like project management or marketing. However, because they generally focus on a few projects at a time, hiring will be more opportunistic. Startups may only open positions in light of vacancies or new projects. Still, being a part of a tight-knit team makes you an influential key player in the team’s dynamic and the startup’s progress overall.

Culture of collaboration

Because design is so critical to tech products, your input is needed throughout the design process. That's why you need to get comfortable with tech's culture of collaboration. You will be critical for ensuring that software or hardware is navigable, simple, and aesthetically pleasing. To do this, you'll need to work with other departments, and in this digital age this will likely mean developers, data scientists, and engineers. When it comes to design, experts in this field are becoming heavily involved in both interface design and mobile and web design. These software developers are also in charge of programming new platforms, building apps, performing data analysis, ensuring cybersecurity, and advancing emerging technologies like AI, making them a crucial part of the design team.

Since designers are critical for ensuring that the average user can easily access the end products, you will also have to work closely with engineers. You need to have some form of understanding of the technical side — of how software and systems work — to come up with a design that is feasible, efficient, and affordable to produce.

As such, you need to train yourself to accept input from others with different perspectives or backgrounds from yours. Learning to combine your expertise with those of computer science professionals' will result in an excellent user experience for your customers.

A wide range of tasks

Designers focus on more than the visual aspects of tech companies and their products. While they may dabble in brand or content design and video and photography, they are also focused on elevating the user experience. Some design fields you might get into if you jump into tech include product design, UX research, motion design, audio design, and brand experience design.

Tech companies also greatly emphasize the importance of data across all of their processes, so it permeates your job as a designer. Data-driven design considers a product's goal, how its success is measured, and how the product’s design can influence it. As such, you will have concrete footholds on what to base your plans, enabling you to collaborate well with product managers and stakeholders.

Entering design allows you to dip your foot into numerous areas and choose what it is you want to focus on. So, expanding your skills and learning new design aspects can help you find what you're best at. This leads us to the next aspect of design cultures at tech companies:

The drive to learn continuously

The design of a tech project is the first thing that customers will perceive. So to gain a competitive edge in a forward-thinking field like tech, you need to innovate constantly. By establishing a culture of continuous learning, you can collaborate with your company to become design leaders in your field.

What this looks like can vary, but in essence, it means partaking in an atmosphere that encourages growth. Bring something new to the table by upgrading your tools and attending conferences, workshops, and other events. Keep up with new technological insights and innovations and study how they can be applied in your work. Doing this helps you propel your company forward.

Becoming a designer in a tech company is a great way to collaborate with others and ensure that your work is helping improve the lives of others. Knowing what culture to expect, you can approach the field more confidently.

Written by

Robene June is a freelance writer with a deep interest in tech and business. She is intent with providing readers unique insights into this rapidly changing landscape.

No items found.

Keep Reading

Launch your career

We’ll send the latest apprenticeship opportunities right to your inbox.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.