BA Product design first job design engineer?

Hi there,

I have recently graduated with a BA in product design and am looking for my first job within the industry. After looking for a job and applying at various different companies one got back to me and I have recently interviewed for a design engineering position. The interview went pretty well and I am hoping that they will offer me the job, my only concern, and something that was raised in the interview, is that this job is at a tangent to what I have done at university. The job involves designing filters for medical and other applications and the role deals closely with the manufacure of these products which is all done on-site using a variety of different methods.

My initial thoughts on the role are that it would provide me with a good depth of experience designing products for manufacture and that I would get great hands-on knowledge of working with different manufacturing processes. I am just a little worried that I may become ‘type-cast’ as a design engineer and this would prevent me from transfering into a job within say a design consultancy in the future.

Have any of you entered into the industry in a similar fashion, if so how did it affect your career? Do you think that this will provide me with a good grounding for a future in product/industrial design or do you think I will become limited to more engineering based roles?


I think if all you have is this particular experience of designing technical parts in your professional portfolio that you would have a difficult time getting a job in a design consultancy doing more consumer goods. Perhaps a more technical niche consultancy would find that experience useful. I also think if you do that for more than two years you will find it will get increasingly difficult.

Thanks for the reply, my plan is to stay in the job for about 1-2 years as I thought that it would provide me with a good technical knowledge of designing products for manufacture and working with manufacturing processes. Do you think this experience would be particularly beneficial when applying for other ID jobs or do consultancies seek work experience specifically gained within another consultancy? Im pretty happy with my portfolio at the moment but all it contains is projects that I completed in university and some freelance web design.

I think some consultancies would want that technical experience as others would not. Sorry, I can’t really give you a percentage, that is information I don’t have. But any consultancy claiming to provide turnkey product development services should and can utilize your experience for their clients. More knowledge is never a negative, it can only be neutral at worst.

The biggest difference between knowledge gained from a consultancy versus company is breadth versus depth. But core product development is the same between the two.

I wouldn’t worry about being type-cast by others. You can present yourself and your abilities however you chose. Think of Design Engineer experience as a compliment to your I.D. foundation.

Coming from a similar situation a couple of years ago, I understand your concern. My best advice would be to take this job if you are having troubles finding other opportunities. Learn everything you can in this role. Have a chip on your shoulder and use it as inspiration to continue doing I.D. projects (to your liking) on the side. If you can freelance great, if not try some design competitions.

It’s hard to type-cast someone after just the first few years in their career. You have control of your resume, your portfolio’s content, and how you portray yourself in person. Build on what you can control and be inspired.

This is a hard spot. With the Economy were it is at I would take the spot and refine your manufacturing knowledge that is priceless. Do not ditch your ID skills but work them all the time and apply to others spots that fit you.
This will not hurt to know how a thing is made and the language to speak with an engineer is golden as well.

That sounds a little bit worrying for me! If this is the sort of attitude that goes on in the world of ID hiring, then it’s suggesting that there’s no demand for ID professionals at all. Look at it this way: in some countries, people who are redundant from other occupations or are underemployed in their current jobs, are PAID to train in careers such as engineering, healthcare and IT.

So yo, are you suggesting that it would be difficult to get into an ID job after two years of unrelated job experience and a kickass ID portfolio? Suppose this is the case. If I prove that I can really have an effect on business through sketching, concept generation and general ID skills, by showing you press releases about my designs from national news, will you still hire me, no matter what work experience I had? *hypothetically, not right now. :wink:

For the OP: Continental Europe has a more lenient approach to hiring ID professionals for the design consultancy sector. I suggest that you browse for core77 for internships/design jobs over there. Maybe brushing up on French or German or Dutch would be a very worthwhile thing to do. If you’re wondering why I’m stuck in Ireland, all I can say that I’m sick of moving countries :smiley: I hope you’re not!

Thanks for all the responses I have found the advice very helpful. I am going to my second interview on friday and by the sounds of it the job is mine to lose! I am just going to go for it, to be honest the fact that I will be designing totally functional products appeals to me in some ways and I think the experience will be beneficial. In this current financial climate it would also be insane to turn down any job especially one within my employment sector. I will take everyone’s advice and continue to work on my portfoilio throught and enter design competitions etc. in my spare time, I think this is a good idea and will prevent me from losing the skills that I have learned throughout my education. I will let you know how I get on!

Got it!