We’re back with our third digital skill of the “Top 5 Digital Skills You Should Know About” series…this week, it’s digital design! If you’ve read our previous two articles, you’ll have a pretty good understanding of the digital skills gap and what organisations and individuals are doing and can do to bridge it (if you haven’t, make sure to check these out). So, in this article, we’ll be covering what digital design actually is, how to develop your digital design skills, and how acquiring them could benefit your career. Let’s get started!
What is digital design?
The “digital design” skills cluster encapsulates many different areas of digital design, including being skilled in software design tools used by graphic designers and industrial designers, to User Interface and User Experience Design skills that involve the design of software products. Digital design is also present in many areas of everyday life, from developing animations for computer games to designing and creating brands’ logos and websites. With technology advancing so rapidly and the global dominance of the internet, businesses have been pushed to optimise their digital design services in order to ensure that they are presenting themselves and communicating with their audience in the most effective way.
How can you develop your digital design skills?
With many of us working from home during lockdown and a surge in the number of online courses and virtual upskilling events available, now is the perfect time to pick up useful skills. Digital design is also relatively easy and accessible to upskill in (compared to other higher level or more specified digital skills) so it’s definitely worth considering.
1. Online courses
You can access a range of basic digital design skills on learning and upskilling sites, such as Coursera, Skillshare, and Khan Academy. If you’re interested in pursuing one area of digital design in particular, for example Web Design, you can also develop your skills through more intensive and in-depth courses such as Skillcrush’s Web Design Course.
2. Online skills events
Online upskilling events are a great opportunity to upskill in digital. Even if there isn’t a session covering the skill you want to learn in-depth, by attending virtual events, you’ll learn which skills in particular you should be focusing on and almost certainly make useful connections for your career in the meantime.
3. Download the software and practice, practice, practice
Software like Adobe Photoshop and InDesign are relatively easy to upskill in because they’re so widely used and accessible to everyone. Our advice? Download the software you want to learn how to use or get better at and use these long lockdown evenings to practice, practice, practice! If you have questions or need some guidance, there are always communities like Digital Women that you can to reach out to.
How could digital design skills help you in your career?
Digital design has become an increasingly important part of both businesses’ digital strategy as well as today’s digital economy more generally, with the ratio of designers to developers at major technology firms have increased by 2.5 times between 2012 and 2017. Acquiring digital design skills is therefore a great way to supplement your existing digital skillset and open new doors in your career. Here are some of the ways digital design skills could be beneficial for you:
1. Improve your versatility
Like most digital skills, digital design skills help to improve your versatility, thus making you more desirable to a broader range of employers. Digital design skills are particularly complementary skills for digital marketing roles; marketing specialists are often expected to be confident in Adobe Photoshop and other design tools in order to create high-quality marketing content. Digital design skills also allow entry-level marketers to make themselves more useful to employers as they improve their versatility and demonstrate that they can bring a broad range of in-demand and relevant skills to a role.
2. Access hybrid roles
Hybridisation of roles is an ever-increasing trend in the job market, so any skills that could improve your chances of landing hybrid roles are certainly worth investing in. For example, User Experience Designer roles (designers that use digital design tools to create software products and earn the most money among professionals in the digital design skills cluster) require a hybrid of design skills to create pleasing interfaces, programming skills to build software prototypes, and psychology skills to understand how users will react to products and interfaces.
3. Access design-specific roles
Of course, digital design skills can also land you a range of design-specific roles like Graphic Designer, the most accessible design occupation (with employers typically asking for 2 years experience or less), and Industrial Designer. Again, these roles often require skills like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and other tools for animation, video editing, illustration, and web design, all of which are relatively easy to upskill in.
4. Earn a better-than-average salary
According to the Office for National Statistics, the average salary of a full-time employee in the UK was £31,461 as of April 2020. If you were to enter a career within the digital design cluster, you’d be looking at an average salary of £37,400, greater than the national average. There’s also plenty of freelance digital designers and a range of seniority levels in digital design-based roles, so there’s real versatility in the digital design skills cluster.
Digital design skills can make a useful and versatile addition to your skill set, particularly if you’re interested in hybrid roles or jobs in marketing. They’re often easily accessible, with software that can be used by anyone and courses that are readily available on a range of online learning sites. So what are you waiting for? Get upskilling in digital design today!