In my previous article I’ve been talking about Design Career in general to give you an overview of the industry, benefits and difficulties that you will experience if you’ll decide to become a Designer and also basic understanding of how to become a Designer and what is required to be a good one, to succeed.
This article is dedicated to those, who made a decision to try themselves in this beautiful creative profession and now want to know where to start.
I CAN, I WANT.. NOW WHAT?
Back in the days Graphic Designer was meant to do anything and sometimes nothing at the same time. What I mean by that is, that some Graphic Designers where good at making print images for advertising campaigns (posters, flyers etc.), some where good at designing multipage publications (books, catalogues etc.), some at creating brandbooks (logos, business cards, cups etc.), some at animated web banner and so on. But they all called themselves Graphic Designers.
Today the industry is even more diverse and to know everything becomes impossible and even bad for your career, because if you know too much – most likely you don’t know anything special about certain field.
So narrow down your qualification to a specific design field and practice your skills to become as good as possible in that specific field to develop your professional value.
Among most popular fields of Design these day are: User Interface and User Experience Design (UI/UX), Interaction Design, Web Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Motion Design, 3D Design, Logo Design, Font Design, Photography retouching, Book Design, Animation, Game Design, Print Design etc.
To better understand what means what and what is actually required, my best advice to you is to analyze job descriptions posted on the job boards.
Now, some of these fields are crossed between each other in terms of skills, some of them in terms of industry they serve for, some of them might be divided to even more specific qualification and so on. And for you to pick which way to go can be difficult. So I’ve came up with a short checklist that may help you to navigate your career path.
– Determine, what do you like the most about the design. Whether it’s illustration for kid’s books, innovative web technologies or creative advertising. This step is important because design is a creative process and you have to be truly passionate about your work not just to produce quality product, but to be willing to go to your job everyday and spend hours on perfecting your skills.
– Then come up with the industry you want to design for. Since Design is a service, you’ll be constantly serving your work to specific clients. Shoe, food, retail, Internet companies etc., all of them need designers. But if you like something specific, try to send your resume into that direction first. It’ll give you extra motivation to become a better employee/entrepreneur.
– Find out where people are ready to pay you more money at. This has to be done not only because of better income for yourself, but it also helps you to understand where the demand for a specific type of professionals is higher. Usually people are ready to pay more if there is not enough professionals in certain field. To you in means less competition in the job market.
– Look what latest trends are booming right now. If you’ll be able to gain skills that are relatively new in the industry, you’ll become more valuable among those people that won’t. Plus, new fast growing industry means that it will increase it’s presence in the market and will be feeding you longer than those that are dying.
Among the best latest trends in Design I can distinguish UI/UX Design. I’ll tell you more about it in my future articles.
SKILLS, SKILLS, SKILLS!
So, how to understand what actually employers/clients are looking for you to know, to do the job they have?
As I’ve already mentioned, analyzing job descriptions on different job boards is the best way to understand: what design qualifications are on demand these days, what skills are required, what income you may expect from your career etc.
However there are certain rules you have to understand about the job market to succeed.
Companies are looking mostly for three things:
– technical skills;
– professional skills (experience);
– interpersonal skills;
Believe it or not, but technical skills are the simplest and less important among those three, at least to my experience. Don’t get me wrong, knowing skills is mandatory to accomplish design tasks, but it’s really not a big deal to learn certain app. Moreover, you have to be ready to learn all the time, so if you’re not, this job is not for you.
First, you need to determine what is required for the industry you’re interested in, learn those applications and practice to use them. Learning is extremely easy nowadays. There’re tons of free lessons online, such as step-by-step articles and video tutorials. You can find them on the creator’s websites, YouTube and simply by searching them on the web. Also, there are payed lessons, mentors and last but not least – universities and colleges.
Just find time to get the theory and design something. Practice is the best way to get you going.
So tech skills are naturally gainable. But remember, tech world is rapidly changing and you have to be willing to learn new things constantly, to be a pro. And it leads us straight to another two important types of skills…
Now, professional skills is something that comes only with experience. The best way to do it is practice. Don’t hesitate to get a job in a company. You won’t feel a lack of income there, if that is something that bothers you. But working in a corporate environment helps you to learn from a running business and from industry professionals directly. And you don’t have to pay for it as you did in the university. Plus, these skills are not outdated, that is something people are actually using currently.
Also, this step is important because it teaches you much more than just tech skills. You learn how to communicate with clients, business owners, co-workers, developers, marketing teams, customers etc. You build connections, remember: “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know”. Plus, corporate culture and discipline teaches you how to manage business, time, money and relationships. And these skills are priceless!
I’m convinced that interpersonal skills is something that you have or don’t have, period. If you do, good for you, because people love it!
So you just have to showcase them, develop them and use them to increase you career. Willing to help, punctuality, responsibility, subordination, attention to details, enthusiasm, stress resistance, confidence, willing to learn, smile, good attitude etc., all these skills are so important and helped me so many times in my career, that I consider them extremely important to become a great professional. Just be a good responsible person and your life will change completely.
In my next article I’ll tell you how to create great Designer Portfolio that will help you succeed in your design career.
Thanks for reading. I highly appreciate your interest and support. And check out my blog for more articles.
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