Design celebrity, John Maeda; former RISD President, Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion at Automattic, has just released the 2017 Design In Tech report and I've already shared with you a bold outline of the clear role design plays in business. Beyond design, there must be someone initiating design; enter designers, and now that we see the importance of design in business, designers are in high demand.
Does this mean more "real" job opportunities for designers?
"According to LinkedIn, the highest echelon of the technology industry is vying for more design talent - Facebook, Google, and Amazon have collectively grown art and design headcount by 65% in the past year - with much headroom to hire more." - 2017 Design In Tech Report.
65% year over year growth is huge. Especially when you compare this to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on steadily growing fields like market analysis (19% year-over-year growth) or software development (also around 19% growth).
The Growth Is Showing Up In Specific Areas of Expertise
Design is blending with engineering talent as computational designers remain in demand at technology companies of all sizes and maturity levels. What this tells us is that you must master all aspects of design, including being able to fluently utilize the necessary tech tools in use by the company you join. What I mean by this is that it's not only the job market that's changing. The role of a designer is also changing, and the modern designer must wear many hats.
As John Maeda commented, "In the 2016 Design in Tech Report we shared how 1/3 of the design leaders we surveyed had formal engineering/science training. It said to me that a considerable amount of "hybrid" talent is out there in the professional world, that wasn't the case a few decades ago."
In addition to that, let's look at the design positions that were in the highest demand in 2016:
- Product Designer
- Brand Designer
- UX Designer
- UI Designer
- Design Director
We can thank the 2016 Future of Design Report for this incredibly insightful list. There was one other statistic from this report that really jumped out at me and I think it best sums up the changing role of designers:
31% of start-ups have a designer founder
I especially love this because it shows us two things. The first is that the role of the designer is changing drastically, yes. But the second thing this statistic shows us is that the designer has options; that's to say that the role is both defined and undefined. And maybe this statistic hammers home a third point as well: the important role of design and designers in the global startup landscape.
The Shift We Are Seeing Now Is Based On One Thing
We started talking a while back about the market shifting heavily to focus on the customer experience and I believe the increased demand for designers is due to this shift. The goal to create the most seamless, beautiful, engaging, and organic customer experience is driving the market to designers doorsteps. And when we see flawless products and startups like we are right now, we can see that designers not only answered the door, but they welcomed the company.
Now this shift has changed everything and it's thrilling to know that where I got my start and the area I've focused my business is the ultimate growth trend for today's startups.