Industrial Design Job Market??


It seems like every time I turn around there is a pesky news article about the “10 Fastest-Growing Jobs” or “10 Best-Paying Jobs” which always seems to consist of jobs in healthcare, computers or accounting/finance. I am a marketing graduate considering a design school education wonders if now is the best time for design school graduates?

This is something I really want to do but part of me wonders whether hard work, determination and a solid portfolio are enough in this economy or do I risk just ending up with even more school debt and little-to-no job prospects?

Do I take the leap and follow what I know I love or stick with a not-as fulfilling but growing IT field???

Only you can answer these questions. First you make a decision, then you make it right.

Yo is becoming more like Yoda each week… :slight_smile:

I think that’s the best career advice I’ve gotten since graduating! Thanks, your insight is much appreciated :smiley:

Someone recommended that if one can’t intern to maybe try shadowing a designer for a day. How do I go about that?


First, find out local places you could go. It’s not always obvious if a company outsources to consultancies or has an in-house design team. Where do you live? I’m sure this community can give you relevant suggestions pretty quickly.

You should definetly do your utmost to get an internship or freelance, ideally both.

Regarding shadowing, I’d start by networking with designers in your area. Start by offering to buy them a coffee. If you hit it off well, kindly ask if it would be at all possible to shadow them on a day it might be convenient for them.

I am located in the NYC area so I would be accessible to Manhattan, Brooklyn and Northern/Central NJ.

As for interning, I am just starting art classes this fall so I don’t really have any design skills except web design and a little exposure to AutoCad. I guess it would be more of an informative visit where I can see the inner workings of the design field and experience a “day-in-the-life” scenario, aside from what I saw interning in fashion while an undergrad.

Understood. Definitely reach out to some local people then. Again, start with a coffee, it is a lot less of an intimidating time commitment.

Sounds like a plan. I will have to start making a list of design firms in my area and contacting some people. I really only know of the ones in the city like Smart, Frog and Pentagram so I will have to do some sleuthing. These are pretty size-able firms so maybe I’ll have to start smaller to get a response??

These are pretty size-able firms so maybe I’ll have to start smaller to get a response??

Why start small? Either way, their answer with either be, yes … or no.

Companies aren’t responding anymore because a lot of small to mid size companies do not have a human resources department. If they do, often design recruiting is handled by a designer - not HR. So, in the past few years, any possible job opening created an avalanche of applicants. Often more than 1/2 don’t even fit the basic requirements because everyone was so desperate. Craftsmanship and consideration went out the window on both sides of the hiring process. I make an effort to write to every applicant but it is often done on my time. It’s how I would like to be treated. It gets tough when applicants are rude or waste my time (apply for a job that doesn’t relate to what they do or are not qualified for or don’t send me what I’ve asked for). It might take me a month or two but you’ll hear from me.

I notice a lot of job applicants don’t do basic research on companies. I screen all applicants that come into my company and am amazed that most don’t follow really basic directions that are clearly posted on our site. While it’s ok to break some rules, make sure you aren’t creating more work for someone. For instance, we don’t hire graduates for intern positions. It says this right on our website. However, I get tons of graduates applying. Since I am one of the few that actually writes letters to all applicants, it creates a lot of needless work. If you were just honest and said, I’m applying for full time but would take an internship, then I’d send you my - I will file you just in case letter. While that may sound bad, I’m currently looking through my “just in case” file to hire. We’d prefer to hire without being deluged. Make sure you don’t get passed over for an opportunity because you got misfiled.

I don’t think that’s a demand right now. Specially on this tough economy. If you know someone in the same industry, that will be easy. Otherwise, we should stick with the on demand jobs currently in the market. Just want to share my thoughts.

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Heard this last night and it reminded me of Yo’s yoda quote, “This is America. Pick a job and then become the person that does it” (Mad Men)

Nice. That goes well with Cooper’s adage “a man is whatever room he is in” (when that yellow rat bastard Campbell was trying to take down Draper). Love Mad Men love it.

MadMen is so quotable:

“My life only has one direction. Forward.” Draper (of course then his brother hung himself, but still, a good line…)

Yep gotta love Matt Weiner! If I don’t succeed in design, I could always try completing that novel I’ve been working on… ( reference to Family Guy)

But seriously, there are obviously designers working out there but I should probably just prepare myself for a profession that’s not going to look exactly like my friend’s 7-5 job in finance.

One thing that dictates the market for quality industrial design: Kickstarter. Just look at how many ID-related products trend there and you can see what the public really wants.

There is not much demand for industrial designers because there are a lot of huge corporations that have a handful designers who are potentially designing for millions of people. But that doesn’t mean there’s no demand for more industrial designers. If you’re stuck looking for work in large corporations, I suggest you take up a more small business/DIY mentality and take it from there.