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Valve is an entertainment and technology company driven to design and deliver rewarding experiences to customers. We hire generalists who also exhibit deep expertise. Designers at Valve contribute in a wide variety of ways: We define and articulate goals, we design and ship user interfaces, architectures, layouts and graphics, we create and implement user studies, we write press releases and blog posts, we manage projects, and much more. We also recruit designers. People like you.
At Valve, our design process really gets going once products are in customers’ hands. Our best work is the result of an ongoing dialog with customers. This is fundamental to the way we create great products. Through years of shipping software as a service through Steam, our digital distribution platform, we’ve learned to include our customers in the entirety of the design process. With an engaged community of millions of users, what will you ship? What will you try, and what will you learn through doing so?
Do you prefer to define the work that you pursue, rather than simply following a vision that’s been set for you? If you’re seeking an opportunity to steer product definition, functional exploration and design decision-making, consider joining Valve. We can’t wait to see where you’ll take us.
BS/BA/BFA degree (or equivalent) in graphic, industrial, or interaction design (or equivalent)
6+ years of professional experience shipping world-class software and services
A thorough understanding of graphic and user interaction design principles
Highly effective multidisciplinary collaboration skills
Personal commitment to quality, attention to detail
Confidence with design communication tools
Effective, articulate design communication and decision-making skills
An online portfolio of work which conveys your capabilities
Please include with your application an online portfolio of work which conveys your capabilities.
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- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I worked at Valve Corporation full-time (more than a year)Pros
Valve offers extremely generous benefits and perqs, and affords employees high levels of trust to do whatever they need to be productive. It is a privilege to work with the folks at Valve because nearly all are exceptionally accomplished, competent and eager to build something great. The environment really encourages employees to be positive and to focus on work that will directly impact the customer. Productivity is rewarded in part by peer review which makes employees accountable to their team. Changing teams/projects is usually easy, and is usually each employee's own decision. Employee autonomy is inherent in Valve's process.Cons
Many of the ways in which Valve seeks to differentiate from other companies are not actually so valid. While it's true that Valve has no official job titles or promotions, compensation varies greatly among employees and many teams have an obvious pecking order. There is no formal management structure, but it's clear that some people have substantially more control over project direction and the work of others. Even though productivity is said to be the only metric that matters, people who are already connected or are accomplished social engineers will do just fine. Denying that all of these social forces are at work makes the problem intractable and difficult to even discuss.
For a company that makes so much money, Valve is surprisingly risk-averse. New projects, internal tools, dev infrastructure, and anything that doesn't contribute to a current product are met with disdain. Because teams are intended to be self-forming, it's rare that enough people will want to assume risk to all collectively embark on a new project. It's too safe and too profitable to just contribute to something that's already successful. Even though failure is supposed to be tolerated and even encouraged so that employees will try new ideas and experiments, there is little evidence of this. After a few rounds of bonuses, folks learn quickly what is rewarded, and what is not.
Valve's success has made folks arrogant, and this contributes to the problem of how new ideas are considered and discussed. Dogmatic thinking is actually common because people can always point to a great success in the past and use this to justify why everything should continue as it is. Some folks at Valve do not want the company to grow. Valve already has an incredibly strong profit/employee ratio. Why dilute it? This line of thinking crops up in project discussions as well, and causes many ideas to be dismissed because they seem too niche/unprofitable (at the time).Advice to ManagementAdvice
I think that funding separate companies would be the best way for Valve to invest in new/different product areas. Identify capable teams who already work together and let them make their own rules and set their own goals.
Be more honest about management structure. It will go a long way toward helping people make better decisions and will create more trust among employees.RecommendsPositive OutlookDisapproves of CEO