It's easy to say Don did the user experience profession a great service with this list, but it's very hard to imagine where some of us would be without it. The BayCHI chapter of the Special Interest Group of Human Computer Interaction (SigCHI) is a major force for professional good, offering great talks by industry stars and important networking opportunities. (I just looked at their page and discovered that a friend from the UK whom I haven't seen in 10 years is speaking this month, and I'm missing it!) The Bay Area is the spiritual home for user experience professionals, rivaled only by some odd corners of Scandinavia. That job list, to which many non-locals subscribe, is one of the best ways to track industry opportunities in interaction design and usability. Watching that list gives one important insights into what's going on at major software companies. Jobs outside the Bay Area are regularly posted there, because of its large readership and the recruiting pool that exists in the Bay Area. I myself have been reading it since grad school.
In honor of Don's tenure (how long HAS it been? I can't remember when he didn't run it!) I've made a few retrospective graphs of the job list contents from 2003 to 2006.
Unsurprisingly, the growth of the stock market matches the growth in the raw number of job postings appearing on the baychi list. We're averaging around 70 to 90 jobs every weekend right now, incidentally. This picture shows the raw counts of job posts overlaid on the percentage growth of the NASDAQ.
Check out the major players in user experience on the left edge.
Now, these are dumb data points -- we know nothing about actual filling of positions, or how many times a job was reposted or how many positions each posting represented. One major caveat there: the Google NY jobs have been open for almost a year, I think, without disappearing, so this is inflating some of their stats. The Trend Micro positions in East Asia were likewise open forever.
Regardless of the potentially misleading nature of these numbers, the stats do get more interesting when you compare the size of the company with the number of UX jobs posted on the baychi list. For the public companies that I could track down, I resorted by the higher ratios, and this shifts the list tremendously. Microsoft, for instance, falls way back down, as does Oracle.
As a former TiVo employee, I am not surprised to see them leading the pack (even when I know that their numbers are probably inflated by difficulty of hiring, and recent departures of key folks -- but then, everyone has this problem, right?). More interestingly, Shutterfly comes in second now. Shutterfly is where my former UX Director from TiVo, Kyrie Robinson, landed post-TiVo departure. Ah, suddenly not so surprising to see Shutterfly second to TiVo. (She has just left Shutterfly to take a VP role elsewhere with the words "User Experience" in the title, a rather rare position name.)
Senior interface designers top the most wanted (or bottom, in this graph). Usability and user research positions trail rather in comparison. This is actually a nice trend for the industry, since Don Norman noted a few years ago that "design is where the action is." As a hiring manager seeking senior UI designers, their popularity is bad news for me; it's very, very hard to hire them. There aren't enough, and they're clearly in high demand.