does 15years exp mean step up to manager?

i have 15 years experience as an industrial designer. do you think HR and design directors will look at that and say like hey, this ones got all these years experience why is he not going for the manger position?

Interesting first post.
What do you want to hear? In my eyes 15 years of (relevant) experience is more than sufficient to get
elevated to manager level. But experience is not half of what it takes to be a manager. You could have
30 years on senior designer level and happily stay there, if you love to fiddel with details in CAD and

But, if you are really strong in analysis, branding, finance and team guidance you might see yourself as
manager in much younger years.

Where do you want to go?


I’ve always thought by the time you have 7-10+ years of experience you really should be a design manager/director regardless of skillset or experience level. There was a thread here not too long ago titled ‘there are no 40 yr old designers’?

no. definitely not.

Some of the biggest mistakes in resource allocations i have seen is taking a SR. designer and promoting them to manager or team leader.

You can be a great designer and still be a horrible leader or manager. I worked for one company were in the promoted a sr engineer to manager as a justification to increase their pay and “reward them”. It was the worst thing they could have done for the dept. and for the individual. he in the end was demoted back down and the dept took a hit on their credibility.

Seniority, management, leadership.
These are three very different things.
One does not necessarily lead to another by default.

"Scott Adams: ‘I wrote The Dilbert Principle around the concept that in many cases the least competent, least smart people are promoted, simply because they’re the ones you don’t want doing actual work. You want them ordering the doughnuts and yelling at people for not doing their assignments—you know, the easy work. Your heart surgeons and your computer programmers—your smart people—aren’t in management. That principle was literally happening everywhere.’

As opposed to the Dilbert principle, the Peter principle assumes that people are promoted because they are competent, and that the tasks higher up in the hierarchy require skills or talents they do not possess. It concludes that due to this, a competent employee will eventually be promoted to, and remain at, a position at which he or she is incompetent."


At some point in an ID or engineering career you get faced with a choice of principal or manager. A ‘creative director’ is sort of a hybrid of the two, but it depends on the amount of direct reports. However, there’s nothing that says you can’t be a solid staff contributor for the rest of your career.

good inputs from everyone!.. so the question is: What should the Sr IDer become if not a manager? These days having 3-5 yrs of experience qualifies for a Sr IDer. So by the time we have 7 yrs of experience under our belt we should be well within Director/Manager territory based on posts like this →

I know this is a general guideline but I just can’t imagine someone staying as Sr IDer with 15 yrs of experience (with same title as someone with 3-5 yrs of exp).

Title inflation is rampant. I just reviewed a portfolio from a candidate who called himself a “Senior Lead ID”, with 6 or 7 years, implying there were also Junior Leads, or just plain Senior ID’ers as well.

Its the expertise, the manner, not the tenure. I know guys 2-3 years out of school who are much better people and project managers than some people with 10 years.

I’m so sick of title chasers, honestly. I feel like saying “just get back to work”.

Exactly, in the end it is what you do, not what your called.

I think a lot of people are doing this so that that next position they’re applying for they get to take with them their inflated title.

thanks everyone, great info.

I don’t care what my title is per se, anything mid-level ID and above is fine, it is just that the HR gatekeepers and other business types seem to go by these things (or used to in my experience), maybe all this has changed. I realize if i can switch industries I may have to start at a lower level which is fine to prove, then rise up.

I see a ton of ads asking for designers with 3-5yrs experience. So it is NOT odd to have a guy with 10-15 applying for these? Realistically, does he/she have a chance??

I’ve seen that a lot. Sure they have a chance - same as everyone else - as long as their expectations for the job duties and compensation are in line with the advertised position.

that is another thing, you are no longer apply for a title but number of years exp. If I wanted someone with 5-7 years and you applied with over 15 I would think 1. you are out of my price range 2. the job may beneath you 3. you are looking for any job and may not stay long. Now keep in mind if I say I am looking for a Sr designer with 10 - 12 years experience, i will not look at some one with less then five no matter what title the managed to obtain at their last company.

it really all depends on how the company is set up and if they even know what they are looking for. I see many postings looking for a SR. Designer with 3- 5 years experience (which is low in my opinion) and then they list the responsibilities that are more in line with someone who has 10 -1 2 years experience.

very true! in the corporate world HR categorized your title based on pay-scale, experience level, number of reports and position in org chart. So if a guy from a design consultancy (5-10 employees) with 3-5 yrs of experience and earns the title as mid-level or SrID he/she will be applying to the corporate position as ‘fast-tracked’.