How important is it for designers to upskill?

Published:  August 10, 2012

Each month desktop puts a question to six creatives. This month we asked – In terms of employability and keeping up-to-date with technologies, how important is it for designers to upskill?

Roy Dunn
National developer of online studies,
Grenadi School of Design
In any industry where technology plays a vital role, upskilling is not only important but an integral part of your work. I have seen first hand the benefits of upskilling occur for graphic designers, particularly in the area of web design. The reason for this is that when they first learnt graphic design, web was either too new or not within the scope of a graphic designer, this is no longer the case. In our opinion it is the fastest growing employment area for graphic designers.

Adele Leah
Business manager
Become Melbourne
It’s really important for designers to upskill regularly otherwise there is the potential that they may miss out on good job opportunities and career development. Technology creates a demand for people in the design industry to be at the top of their game, if they’re not, their chances of employment can decline as their skills become outdated in comparison to the demand for skills in the latest technology. New roles such as ‘creative technologists’ are emerging, this is a new era and calls for a new era of designer where ideas, craftsmanship and technology are rolled into one person.

Tanya Ruxton
Head of teaching
Shillington College
I believe that a good designer always improves their skillset, as it is imperative to how relevant and employable they remain. Right now we are seeing quite a change in the way our designs or ‘messages’ are being communicated. Our clients’ needs now range from print to web to mobile web to epublishing and social media. A designer’s role is primarily about problem solving and developing ideas, however they still need to understand the medium in which their ideas will be executed. Therefore it’s important for designers to upskill if their understanding needs improvement. In most cases it will.

Justin Smith
Creative director / partner
End of Work
I believe good designers approach design as an opportunity to ask questions. They have a natural instinct to learn more, do more and be more. For designers in Australasia you’ve got to be a bit of everything, from conceptual thinker, strategist, designer, typographer, a presenter and an advanced hand on the Mac. Clients often force us to move at a rapid pace. While I hire designers based on original thinking and design aesthetic, I also seek designers who strive to be ahead of the game, continually develop their skills and push their and my studio’s creative boundaries.

Mike Staniford
Executive creative director
There are only two directions in any professional career, to grow or stand still. By choosing the latter, you stagnate, repeat the experiences you have already had, solve problems in the same way using the same set of skills. But simply upskilling is not enough. Coupled to a healthy attitude for drive and ambition, new skills make you valuable and more employable. They also help you grow. Improving your personal capability and value is critical in our fast evolving business. Just don’t stand still, you might get run over.

Robin Wigsten
Billy Blue Graduate,
Digital producer
About my Brain
About a decade ago a CMS web-system would cost $100,000 and a whole team of developers to implement. Today a better CMS system is available for free (with thousands of developers improving it daily). Our tools, habits and the way we do business has utterly changed. Everyone can access, create and implement anything from anywhere. As the communicators of today, it is vital to understand this shift, in order to remain competitive. We need to evolve with the times, so we can prove ourselves the experts.

One Response

  1. Steff

    It would be good to know what courses are out there that would be good for designers needing to upskill. Am in my forties and teaching myself Dreamweaver and creating local testing enviro for tailoring WordPress (php) sites for friends. Is this what designers today need to know?

    Is it just a matter of choosing software and doing the tutorials really the only way to go about it? Everybody talks about upskilling but in exactly in what and what are the names of the products.

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