I am a QA Engineer since end of 2013. I was made responsible for performance testing even though I don't have the background or feeling with the position.

Background Story

Rewind 1 year ago. The main task of my job has become performance testing, but I felt I didn't have feeling with the position. During my performance review I've explained my ambition towards UI/UX design work. It is something that I feel comfortable doing and really want to dive into. I've explained that the company didn't really have a face, an identity. It just produces products that does what it functionally is meant to do, but nothing more than that. Not had a thought who is going to use it and how it will be perceived by the users. There's no design at all and no identity in which you can clearly tell it's a product of this company. The UI/UX design aspect of the job doesn't exist in our department. So suggested I want to do this to improve the quality of the products and the identity of the company.

My boss asked me if they recruited a person to do my performance testing, I would be willing to do more UI/UX design tasks? I agreed.

So in the following couple of months I did get some UI/UX design tasks (alongside my performance testing job), which I completed succesfully. Developers who worked together with me on the project were happy with the end result. My boss told me as well he was pleased quoting: "What's done great, must be mentioned!" and I was happy with the opportunity they gave me. The signs of better times ahead or is it?

Current Situation

Fast forward 1 year later. After that successful project I worked on, I started to get a few small tasks here and there, mostly small design changes that were needed for that specific project, but then it sort of ended.

I continued my performance testing and was thinking when I would get more UI/UX related tasks. By then they've hired a new QA Engineer. So I thought, finally someone to do performance testing, so I can concentrate on UI/UX! Next QA meeting, my boss tells us that the new guy knew things about security. He also has UI/UX knowledge because his girlfriend studies Psychology. Yes! This is the turning point. From there on then, no UI/UX tasks anymore for me. The new guy isn't going to do performance testing either. I remained doing what I was doing before: Performance Testing.

In a time gap of 6 months, they've recruited 2 web designers who basically also worked on the UI/UX design and creating new web applications. I've also noticed the term UI and UX are used far more often nowadays on the floor. Funniest thing of all is my boss became an UI/UX design expert overnight. We had a CSS 101 course for those who were interested what the language could do. For me of course, it's basic stuff that isn't new to me. I remember right at that time, the project team I worked with asked me to rethink a different colour scheme, because it was going to be released for a new client. So I did and I got feedback from the team on some areas that could be better color wise and thus adapted my design color scheme and handed over to the developers. What I didn't know was that my boss had adapted my color scheme and demanded the developers to use a different main color, in which they followed wisely. Later I found out, so I confronted my boss and asked why he changed it without letting me know. He just thought his idea was better. My boss is a micro manager, which could be the reason he's taking control of all this.

Since then I didn't get any related work anymore. Everything about UI/UX design of the web applications is now decided by the web designers and developers. Often my boss is called over to give an opinion and feedback on what he thinks is better. My opinions isn't asked.

Now I'm not sure what to do. My performance review for this year is in September.

I'm not sure what options I have now, but this is what I think of the situation:

  • My boss does not want me to get out of my current position.
  • Seeming he likes to micro manage, he wants to keep the UI/UX job away from me, so he can be the go to guy for it and be called the expert.

Which made me think I should...

  • Confront my boss that he's ignoring my talents and ambitions
  • Move on and find a new job

Am I thinking correct?

  • 1
    Please, consider adding a too long; didn't read part (tl:dr), where you outline in a few sentences what your problem and specific question(s) are
    – DarkCygnus
    Aug 10 '17 at 15:40
  • 1
    @GrayCygnus The whole post should probably just be shortened. Aug 10 '17 at 15:44
  • These are frustrations that are very common among passionate people that want to make a career trajectory change. Unfortunately larger orgs and the managers within them don't usually appreciate versatile folks who are apt to want to try different things. Start looking for something else, consider smaller places that value adaptable people rather than shun them, but also be ready to be required to jump into something you're not expecting.
    – teego1967
    Aug 10 '17 at 22:30
  • @teego1967 Yeah, I've already asked people within this field of work and they said I should do the same, because I don't have the 'true' experience or position to back me up.
    – WaikeCU
    Aug 10 '17 at 23:05

This one is very simple, you were not hired as a UI designer, so your boss doesn't want you designing the UI. Your boss is pushing you away from UI because he doesn't want you doing UI. He wants you to do your job and let the UI designers do their job.

There is no need for your input on the UI design because

  1. You are not the UI designer
  2. You do not own the product

You should not confront your boss about this. You can tell him that you miss UI design and if there is every a chance to do it again, you would love to. That's about it. I really doubt he is "ignoring your talents and ambitions". It sounds more to me like he agreed that the company had no face, so he had you help with a short term solution. NOW he wants you to do your job, and he has hired permanent staff to do the UI work, because he has realised how important it is.

If you really feel like you want to do UI design instead of your current job, update you resume and start looking. You can always go to boss before circulating the resumes and ask if there is an opening on the UI team. If there is isn't, just leave.

  • If you have time could you read the mind of my boss too? Aug 10 '17 at 17:02
  • unless you ask question, there is a standard fee. Aug 10 '17 at 17:33
  • @SaggingRufus Well the whole point that I pointed out during my performance review was basically we don't have UI designers at that moment. Developers would simply just develop something what was described in the specs. There were no mockups, wireframes, prototypes and such. So I requested I wanted to offer this service, which my boss agreed to, but then as you read, it went away from me and I am back in the situation prior the performance review.
    – WaikeCU
    Aug 10 '17 at 23:03
  • 1
    @WaikeCU like I said in my answer, he got you to do a quick fix then hired people to do it full time. Mention to your boss that you still want to do UI. Either you be made a UI developer or you wont. Aug 11 '17 at 10:05

It's been my experience that most companies (that I've worked for) don't really give too much thought to UX/UI and all that in entails. As long as the program works they don't really care how it looks or how the user's interaction with it is.

It's also been my experience that just because someone wants to do something or thinks they can do something doesn't necessarily mean that they can actually do that thing, especially when it comes to something that requires a bit of talent for that thing. UX/UI design is kind of like art - anyone can paint a painting, but not everyone can paint a painting that someone would actually want to hang on their wall.

It could be that, even though you have done acceptable UI work in the past, your boss just doesn't think that your UI work is up to par with someone who should be doing it full time. If you think that your work is good enough and it really is, you may just want to find a job with a title and responsibilities that align with what you really want to be doing. The problem is that it doesn't seem like you have too much to show potential employers when going out for UI jobs. For positions like that you more or less need a portfolio to show.

So build your portfolio and go job hunting... your boss has already made up his mind about you and UI.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .