Photo of Atul Verma in Delhi, India
I started my journey in the UX domain in 2015. Before that, I used to work as a software engineer. Over these years, I have worked in UX departments at companies, as well as in UX agencies. And now I am running Ethnity, a UX research agency in India.
In my experience of working in an in-house environment first and then moving to an agency environment, I have noticed some big differences between them.
In this article, I have compiled some major distinctions between these two environments for you to compare.
- Better visibility of the product roadmap: In-house practitioners get to be closer to the project that allows them to get more exposure to the product roadmap from start to finish.
- Better clarity on the impact of research on the product: UX practitioners get a better understanding of what is the impact of the research project and how could they make more impact. There are opportunities to work on products until it is released and even continue to improve it after release.
- Industry domain expertise: If you work in an in-house research team, you are most likely to work on a specific product offered by the company. This can be truly gratifying as you have a direct role in the success of your product. Also, you develop a long-term relationship with the product and that can result in you becoming an expert in a particular industry domain such as in E-commerce, Edu-tech or IoT, etc.
Working at an Agency
- Learning at its best: There is so much to learn in an agency environment. Often teams consist of practitioners from different skillsets and levels of experience. They learn new ways of working from each other. Every project is different and has unique requirements, which means the researchers get exposure to a variety of research approaches and industry domains and that too in a short period.
- Fast-paced work with cutting-edge tools: Agencies are often hired because they can do something quickly and more efficiently than an in-house team can. And agencies are more likely to have innovative tools and tools specifically made for researchers. This also allows learning to use the latest tools and methods.
- Collaborate with new clients and consultants: The clients and consultants are always changing in an agency environment. This gives the chance to work with new people often and grow one’s network.
In the end
These two environments have their differences and no one is better than the other. It is all about your work preference. The above thoughts are based on my own experience, so I recommend you to explore both kinds of workplaces to form your opinion. Having a variety of experiences is not a bad thing in the industry.
At Ethnity, I get to interact with UX practitioners from in-house and agency environments. It is helpful to know about what work life is like for them. Understanding another person’s viewpoint always gets you closer to empathise with them and improves communication. At Ethnity, we are not only interested in strengthening our team but also support our client partners and industry peers with our experiences and learnings.
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