Sometimes I get the impression people perceive UX as one giant pile of lego. Why not combine everything we like and create a UX Transformer, a Frankenstein monster that combines an entire user-slash-behavior-slash-interaction-slash-design-slash-programming field in a single person?

Looking at some UX job offers (UX designer, UX director, UX engineer, you name it), I cannot help but wonder what drug they took before formulating their expectations.

Conjunctive fields, such as interaction design and user interface design, are commonly thrown in the same pot. Even worse, many job offers expect programming experience. Some of the job descriptions I read sound more like a warrant for a super hero than an actual job. The demands are not only high, but also extremely diverse.

My thinking is, they will get what they will get: seemingly skilled wunderkinder, jacks of all trades, who may have dabbled in everything a little bit, but may lack experience in some of the most important skills. It reminds me of the time when Web developers were expected to be designers, and vice versa. There was a new breed of hybrids grown by the market. At the time, around 2007, I embraced this new trend. Now I am not so sure anymore. It was a different time, where designers needed to understand more of the interactive part of their domain.

Personally I know only very few people who possess mathematical, logical and artistic skills united in a single person. And even if they have these traits, I can tell from personal experience that it is incredibly hard to play them out in a way that doesn’t fight over itself all the time.

JavaScript should not be a requirement for a UX job. OmniGraffle, Visio, or other wire-framing or visual prototyping tools, sure. But these tools are examples of commonly used tools, they change and evolve in a rapidly changing market. Using these and no other tools should not become a main requirement.

The main requirement should be critical thinking, a notebook and a pen, an unmatched skill for abstraction and simplification. The most important skill should be a people skill: a sense for empathy, to sense what people experience and to ask the right questions to learn, to analyze and find conclusions out of these learnings.

It is not wrong to want a piece of all, of UX, UI, ID and so on. (Hint: we love two-letter abbreviations.) The trick is not to be greedy or illusionary, thinking you’ll find Superman, willing to work for the salary of a teller clerk.

My advice to these companies is, maybe you need to do some user research among UX talent. Not only will it help you sorting out terminology of different areas in this field, it will also get you the right person for the job.