Creative careers are evolving as fast as digital technology. With the paradigm shifting so often, the skillset needed for success can be hard to anticipate. So how do you remain at the forefront of innovation? Become a generalist. Broadening your horizon and learning crossover skills will help you conquer demands of the ever-changing social and commercial landscape.
Being considered a “jack-of-all-trades” has always had a negative connotation. It implies you dip your toes in multiple pursuits, but lack the competence to advance in any of them. For the ambitious, the latter is far from true. Specialization in one single area of a particular field doesn’t necessarily pave a solid career path, especially for designers. Flexibility and willingness to learn are seen as huge assets in the creative industry, and maximize your potential as an individual.
How to stay competitive in the growing field of design? Here are five skills you should expand upon:
1. Polish your Soft Skills. You can have a great design, but if you can’t communicate the story behind it, it will become your greatest downfall. It’s important to learn how to speak publicly to grab attention, keep attention, and clearly articulate your ideas.
2. Implement UX, UI, and IxD. As digital design continues to move beyond screens to physical surfaces and augmented environments, designers will need to think about the context of how their work is experienced by users in larger and more complex systems.
3. Study People. Study psychology and sociology to help understand the reaction of people to products. Technology is moving toward objects that interact with people, and having the skills to develop effective front-end experiences will take an understanding of human behavior.
4. Embrace AI. Artificial intelligence is on the rise, and isn’t slowing down any time soon. It’s already integrated into our daily lives, through data predictions and personalized content. Understanding algorithms and how AI affects the end-product will be a necessity for the future designer.
5. Understand Sales. Being conscious of the sales cycle and what motivates your target audience will undoubtedly strengthen your creative process. Linking design with business development will position your career for success.
Bottom line? The best way to prepare for your future in design is to diversify your skill-set. Find your primary passion, but stay open to change in consideration of shifting trends and ensuring current needs are met. Never stop learning!