October 13, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
University of Cincinnati- Clermont College
Digital Media Communications
Dr. Andy Curran: -Design awards from recognized organizations in the industry
-Years of experience working for a variety of clients and employers
Dr. Andy Curran: -Creative skills
-Communication (written & verbal)
-Project management (personnel, budgeting, time, resources)
Dr. Andy Curran: -File management
-Computer literacy skills
Dr. Andy Curran: Creative skills, particularly knowing how to craft an appropriate message for each project.
Diana Lodi: There will be a continued trend of remote interactions for both the interviewing process and meetings as the video/webinar formats provide face-to-face interactions without the need to travel. Some companies may be more willing to offer flex-schedules or full-remote options as well.
Diana Lodi: Adobe certifications are available for software skills; however, courses focused on understanding diversity and inclusion best practices are more desirable. As brands continue to become more aware of the non-negotiables of their brand followers, designers also need to be well-versed in guiding the client to make informed choices on representation.
Diana Lodi: Salaries have progressed at a steady state. There has always been an emphasis on finding Graphic Designers who are also well-versed in web design, app development, and UX design. Possessing knowledge in AI and VR technologies could also impact pay scales in the future.
Prescott Perez-Fox: It may sound obvious, but remote interviewing will become normal. Remote work in general is here to stay. The ability to communicate to a camera and work a productive day from your home office is essential in the modern era. All that advice about shaking hands is demoted to a footnote. Ditch the suits and ties for a crisp black t-shirt.
Prescott Perez-Fox: Mostly N/A. While most employers still list "bachelor's required" for most design/media roles, even this is changing and you're seeing a new open-minded generation taking leadership roles. The only thing new grads _need_ is a portfolio that tells the story of their skills, experience, interests.
Prescott Perez-Fox: This research is out there; I am definitely no statistician so I'll refer you to the wider world for details. In a nutshell, all the money is going toward UX/UI and other "software planning" roles. Anyone in traditional design/media roles (graphic design, web design, photography, interiors, etc.) will see incremental raises, but those roles are harder to come by held my more experienced practitioners.
Benjamin Ivey: I think evolution will be the continuity barrier to positivity. The coronavirus has given us a take-home lesson that leads to an emerging educational experience, but it's not without fault. No education is worth anything unless it can defend itself. It will be a lifetime struggle, a never-ending fight. But they will understand that it is a privilege to fight.
Benjamin Ivey: That is tough to pin down. The biggest impact will always be a component of getting certified for your degree. In some circumstances, most prospects lie in the search for new prospects together within the realm of what work is available. Consequently, that impact should engender new students as well.
Benjamin Ivey: Students make it a point to prioritize authentic concept maps within the core curriculum. As information grows, so does their earning potential. Blood alone moves the wheels of history. Most graduating designers will know that the best path forward would be to give a clear channel towards job finding bases.
Design & Applied Arts/Graphic Arts/Film Production
Reginald Reynolds: There is value in working with vectors and bezier curves in Adobe Illustrator. Image editing in Photoshop and film/video editing in Premiere Pro, important. Skill with stills and video, important. We even have a wet-chemistry photography course. There is 3-D printing, biometrics for design and a VR component to the digital imaging courses. All important!
All of the technical courses are presented within the context of art and design. The mantra is, "we do not teach to the tools, we teach to the design problem".
Reginald Reynolds: So "What is a good job out of college?" Any job that will challenge your ability to solve design problems and pay your rent is a good job.
But most of all, communication, writing skills and the ability to interact with various personality types on projects with clients effectively can put a talented designer on the short list when job hunting.
Reginald Reynolds: It is certainly no secret that we are living in disruptive times, both wonderful and terrible. The pandemic has accelerated our ability to work remotely. There is no replacement for being on-location, in the lab or classroom; however, this has given students and professors, opportunity to develop virtual skill. Presenting a professional "face" as a designer may be one of the most important skills a student will develop. We will not go back to things as normal, normal was never that good anyway. We are looking forward to new ways of working and interacting within the world as designers at Angelina College.
John Cinco: The pandemic has not really changed much in the equation of obtaining employment in graphic design.
John Cinco: The essential requirements are still there-a great portfolio, well-written cover letter, follow-up, and thank yous for the interviewer's time and consideration of the applicant's credentials. An online portfolio appropriate to the employer's brand should be carefully considered.
John Cinco: Skills in software and design should also be tailored to the capabilities needed by the prospective employer. A capacity for reading into a client's unstated needs and generating innovative and well-thought-out solutions can bode well for an aspiring designer.