Sophie Shepherd

December 6, 2017

Calling all web designers

I’m hiring a designer to work with me on the web team at GitHub, and wanted to give a little more info than what’s on the job description. If this sounds interesting to you, you can apply here.

Is this a product design position?

No, but it’s an everything-else design position.

What kinds of projects would I be working on?

The web team works on all sorts of stuff. The work is never stale and there are always new challenges.

  • Designing and building new marketing pages for to support new features and initiatives, and then using data to iterate on those designs.
  • Defining direction and designing content-rich areas of, like the Explore page.
  • Designing and building subsites to support marketing initiatives, such as
  • Working with our developer marketing team on how to best deliver the great content they’re creating, for example the Open Source Guides or Open Source Fridays.
  • Designing annual reports to help share data about GitHub with the world, for example, our State of the Octoverse, the annual Diversity Report, and the GitHub Giving Report.
  • Designing conference websites. This means working with our creative team on extending a event brand to the full site, then implementing it using our internal front-end design system and Jekyll.
  • Contributing to a design system. This can take many forms, depending on what you love. For some, it’s creating tools to make designers’ lives easier, for others it may be refactoring CSS, and for someone else it could be documenting illustration styles. It’s up to you.

Who would I be working with?

These amazing people:

Among us there are designers, writers, and project managers. Most of us work remotely, so we make sure to get together IRL a few times of year to hang out. Personally, this is the best team I’ve ever worked with.

We work closely with the editorial team to make sure our voice is accurately representing our product and its community. We work with data scientists to help visualize and share their work on the web. We work with social impact to help bring awareness to the work they are doing, internally and externally. We work with the open source team to help amplify the voices of maintainers and contributors. We work closely with the design systems team to contribute reusable CSS and design documentation, and to ensure work stays consistent across all GitHub properties. We work with the docs, training, and support teams to help them provide our users with the information they need at the exact times they need it.

This is the best part of the position, you get to work with so many incredible people. You will never run out of people to learn from.

What skills do I need?

First and foremost, this is a design position. As a designer, you will need to create great-looking sites that present content in a way that is easy for users to understand. It helps if you care about how a brand carries over to multiple properties. It helps if you care about accessibility. It helps if you have a knack for typography and/or illustration. It helps if you have any experience in writing or managing content.

It would be great if you feel comfortable building your designs in the browser. We’re not looking for a #1 best developer ever here, but caring about semantic markup and clean, functional CSS is important. When it comes to heavier engineering things (which, in my designer opinion is Ruby, JS, etc.) you will always have help and support from engineers.

It may go without saying, but experience using GitHub would be excellent. We really like the product, and use it for almost everything internally.

In terms of soft skills, writing is important. We work on a tool that helps people work together remotely and asynchronously, and the best way to work asynchronously is to be a good writer. If you can present your ideas succinctly in writing, with the right tone to get people excited, you will be successful at GitHub.

Many of our designers work remotely, so the ability to be a self-starter and work autonomously is a huge plus. That said, you’ll get plenty of support from your team.

This sounds pretty great, but I’m still not really sure if I should apply?

You may feel confident about almost everything, except for one detail that’s hanging you up. Here’s the thing: we’re not expecting every candidate to be able to do everything. If that was the case, we’d never find anyone. If you can do most of it, and are up for learning the rest, you should apply.

The confidence gap is real. The fact that you feel like shouldn’t apply might even be a result of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which makes the less qualified folks not realize how unqualified they are (aka, you’re not unqualified!).

I’ll leave my DMs open for the next week or so if you want to ask me anything directly. Otherwise, if this post made you at all excited about the possibility, please do apply!


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