Jack of all trades – the UX squid

Over a post-#uxlx dinner in Lisbon I had the pleasure to talk to Samuel Mike Bowles and the discussion fell upon whether UX people have to be able to code. And that got me thinking about all the skills UX people actually, to some extend, are expected to master. And that is quite a lot to say the least. So if a UX person was an animal what would he/she be? The squid of course. Or maybe even a squid subjected to nuclear waste because eight arms simply doesn’t cut it. (I just listed some of the trades UX people cover)

So you don’t know how to code or you might be a crappy sketcher like me? Or maybe you don’t do much research? In that case it might seem as an impossible task to master the field of UX, especially if you are right out of college/university or just the new kid in town.

But Samuel made a good point though, that I want to take a step further. He argued that you al least have to know how to code or know how a database works. And the “know how…” is the key here. Depending on which project you are on or which organization you are in, the needed skills might differ and the needed skills might change rapidly.

That said, I know that some people are specialists that only do a couple of the trades, but do them really good, but for the rest of us hrer my two cents:

We live in a hypercomplex society where knowledge in one field is no longer enough. In the UX field you need to be agile and ready to adopt to an ever changing reality. So instead of just “learning new skills” you need to “learn how to learn new skills” (got that from Lars Qvortrup and Niklas Luhmann). Picking up the learning skill enables you adapt to new technology, new role in the project or another position in your organization.

Note: This is not a complete idea or fully thought through, but I invite you to pick up the discussion.