I'm Steve & I'm a full stack designer
Over the last eight years I've been called everything ranging from a Communication Designer to Developer to Content Strategist to User Experience Designer to just plain crazy.
It made me think back to my limited days of playing Dungeons & Dragons when I was 14. You had to distribute your Experience Points across 6 skill options; Strength, Dexterity, Charisma, Wisdom, Intelligence and Constitutions.
I think there are a lot of parallels between my early D&D playing days, and the life of a designer. When you're a design student, you get a certain amount of points to allocate (dependant on where you spend your time and energy). Are you a UI Designer? Do you focus on User Experience? Branding? Are you a Content Strategist? Or a developer? HTML? JS? We all make choices early in our career.
If you pour all your efforts into one skill, you level up pretty quick and achieve success in a niche. Wizard, Knight, Brand Designer, Information Architect. And you become singularly focused and amazingly awesome at that one thing; An information architect is good at flowcharts and wireframes. A knight is good at 1:1 battles and anything involving strength.
As your characters embark on a quest and you put together a team, you need to assemble a group of skills. You need a knight for battle, a wizard for spells, an information architect organize data and a UI designer to push pixels. They all have value and all have a role.
But one the game plays out a little bit more, and your characters level up, the most valuable person isn't the awesomely strong Knight, or pixel pusher extraordinaire, it's the person who is valuable in all situations regardless of the impending tasks. It's all about the long game.
In design, the most valuable member of your team is the person who can shepherd a task from conception through execution inclusive of business strategy, microcopy, wire framing, number crunching, development and yes, pixel pushing. That is to say, the less you have to hand a task off to another member of the team, the better the outcome of the project will be.
For developers, this is called full stack development. Someone who can work on all layers of the application; database, servers, front end implementation. When you give a task to a full stack developer, they don't need to pass off that task to anyone else, they can complete it regardless of where in the stack it lies.
I consider myself a Full Stack Designer. Defining a product, multi variant testing, UI Design, implementation. I am challenged by and infuriated by every aspect of the design process on a weekly basis.
If you know one aspect of a project by default you see your skill as the solution to it. That's not the fault of an person, it's a by product of being talented at one task. (if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail syndrome). Lateral vision and the ability to communicate to all teams and stake holders are the most valuable skills on your team. That's me. A full stack designer.
I'm currently a UX Designer at HootSuite. I joined HootSuite in March of 2012 and work on the Web team there designing & developing solutions for the dashboard. I've also developed the blog & other Wordpress based sites.
From the time I designed my first pixel in 2005 until joining the HootSuite Team I worked for & with design agencies in Vancouver. I started as a Junior Designer doing mostly print before focusing on the web & once focusing on that have written proposals, project managed QA, trained clients & every task inbetween.
In the Community
I developed and taught a 24 week course at Langara's Electronic Media Design Program from 2005–2010 focusing on teaching designers the fundimentals of how to code websites.
I served as an executive with the BC Mainland chapter of the GDC from 2006 to 2010 both as Web Communications Chair and as National Rep. During this time I represented the local chapter at the National AGM three times and served on the steering committee for Graphex in 2008 & 2010.