The Intersection of Engineering and Product design in the Age of AI: David Mulholland

As technology continues to advance, the intersection of engineering and product design is becoming increasingly apparent. The rise of AI is blurring the lines between these two professions, and as a result, they could benefit from a more holistic approach that combines their unique skill sets.

In the past, engineering and product design have been viewed as separate entities, each with its own area of expertise. However, as AI continues to automate many of the mundane aspects of these professions, it’s becoming more apparent that there is significant overlap between the two fields.

While some argue that engineers are better positioned to become more well-rounded as they already have a good understanding of systems and useful interactions, it’s important to note that design is about more than just operating design software like Figma. It involves a deep understanding of human perception, cognition, and psychology, which can be difficult to teach to someone without a background in design.

Product designers will be better positioned to conduct the user requirement gathering and business collaboration happens during product discovery to understand and research the problem space. Once you get to the solution to design that’s the easy bit. Product designers will have built out soft skills throughout building their experience in product discovery facilitation.

As our tools are advancing rapidly, the path to creating a successful career in Product design is changing. New entrants will no longer be able to follow a cookie-cutter playbook. To stay relevant, designers need to become more code-savvy and technically proficient, and adopt a technical mindset. They also need to become early adopters of new computing paradigms and tools.

As designers embrace change and learn new skills, engineers could be provided with the tools to better understand human psychology and sociological insights, making them more versatile and effective problem solvers. With this convergence of design and engineering, we can create more effective and user-friendly software that meets the needs of a diverse range of users.

It’s important to acknowledge that there are still some fundamental differences between the two professions that should be addressed. However, with the right tools and training, engineers and designers can work together more effectively than ever before, leading to more innovative and impactful software solutions.

The future of design and engineering is changing, and the opportunities are there for those who are willing to adapt and grow. As AI continues to alter the design landscape and create all types of new opportunities for designers, it’s becoming clear that the only way to get hurt is to stay stagnant. Product teams as a whole will be able to ship much more quickly as tech continues to advance, but it’s not going to be easy to strike a balance between following a thoughtful design process and keeping up with production.

As someone who has experience in both engineering and design, I am excited to see how these fields continue to converge and evolve in the coming years. As we continue to build tools that incorporate human psychology and sociological insights, and cross-train in coding and product discovery, we can create more effective and user-friendly products. The path to creating a successful career in product design is changing, and the opportunities are there for those who are willing to embrace change, learn new skills, and be ready for the future.