Web Design or Industrial Design?

Hello all!

I am currently a senior in college studying ID and it is that time when I need to start finding jobs for after graduation in May 2009. I have three passions: Product Design, Web Design, and CAD (yes, I love cad modeling for hours and hours):wink:. I am currently looking for a job in these professions as I love them.

In my hunt for a product design job I haven’t found much. I feel this may be because I am looking too narrow. I have seen many recent grads follow jobs loosely related to ID and do fine. Recently, a few students returned to my college to give presentations on the companies they have worked for. A couple of them worked for firms that design and fabricate architectural elements for buildings: staircases, furniture, custom this and that. This is the perfect type of job for me though I have no idea how to find these companies. I went so far as to even search for these companies that I know of (other than just searching the company name) and wasn’t able to find them.

How do I find these gems?

On the flip side, my search for a web design job has left me slightly disheartened. I’ve been been working as a freelance designer on the side for a few years now and the job posts “require” scripting in quite a few languages that I am not familiar with. I am extremely well versed in many web programming languages though they are often times not the ones required. For instance: I am not familiar with database work or scripting php (which are both pretty much always required) .NET and some things like that. So what do I do? I could pickup a book and learn these languages but I don’t really think that’s the answer. (also not the best way to learn; I learn through doing not reading)

So all in all I am relatively unsure of what to do. I showed my resume to my father and he felt that it shows I am a web programmer/designer. If I were to show this to a product design firm I think they may be confused.

As a side note… my strength in ID is CAD (certainly not sketching though it’s not bad). Are there any jobs that would prefer an extreme proficiency in CAD?

My resume is available if needed.

Thank you for your help!

There’s actually good demand for people like you, since most IDers are okay with CAD, but don’t really like it when the going gets tough. If you are a Solidworks (or equivalent program) master, companies will pay you big money to model whatever they want.

Unless your just an interface guy, web-designers should know the basics of .NET, SQL, maybe some Oracle, XML and ActionScripting.

I’m a designer and had to learn ASP about 8 years ago. It evolved into .Net so luckily I’ve stayed familiar with the changes.

If you can find a job just doing html, CSS, XSLT or some of the easier things, good luck. There is a need for good interface designers but there is a good bar that is set so unless it’s a strong point, you won’t make much $$$$.

CAD seems a good avenue.

Good Luck

get in to interaction design for web and you will do well.

I am a student for ID now but have done Freelance Web design for years…

If you like coding or have any background in it, PM me I can give you some jobs…

And contrary to belief, if people like your style and your work, it can be good money… no need to know too much coding unless you want to do it as a profession.

Thank you all for the replies and suggestions!

On the line of working as a CAD monkey how would I find these jobs? I took a tour of Hamilton Beach and saw that every single designer had SW open and was in the middle of modeling something. However, these large corporations do not advertise a position as “cad monkey.” How do I find out what companies would have such a position or opening?

Also, I am currently limiting searches to the Richmond, and DC areas though Baltimore is also ok. (I am limiting my searches to these areas because my other half has an amazing job opportunity in the area.) If these are the places that I am looking at, what types of companies would I search for? I would imagine fabrication companies like injection molders and water jet companies.

What types of companies would have a use for a CAD junkie?

Matt, (Am I right on that one?)

I’ll give you a word of advice since I was in similar shoes when I graduated (and since I was down there talking to you guys a month ago :wink: ).

I left school with what I felt was an average ID portfolio. Most of my experience was in web design, I had a lot of web contacts and a lot of experience in coding which could have landed me a very good (probably paying a LOT more then I make now, and I am paid very well for an ID job) web job doing a mix of coding and design.

I realized pretty early that I didn’t want to do that. Staring at code for the rest of my life wasn’t the path I wanted to start on. I think your first job, even if you aren’t at it long is very crticial in shaping where you go.

Don’t settle on being a cad “jock”. Being a CAD jock means someone else has all the fun and critical thinking in making a design, they just get you to do their dirty work. You’ve spent the past 4 years learning to be a DESIGNER. If thats what you want to do then don’t settle for something that a guy with a stolen copy of Solidworks and 6 months can do.

You’re at a unique opportunity in the fact that you still have several months of school left. And since I still have a copy of your portfolio I’d be happy to go through and make some comments for you. A lot of design is understanding where to hone your skills for the direction you want. It’s becoming easier and easier to make pretty CAD renderings - you need to learn to differentiate yourself and make yourself stand out as a complete designer, rather then a CAD jock.

I’ll be blunt since I’ve come from your program and I know most of the alumni that have fallen into “not quite ID jobs”. They weren’t that good at being designers to begin with. There are a lot of alum that have landed great ID jobs and if you look at their work, their worth ethic, and their personalites you can usually see a lot of similarity.

If you limit yourself to the DC/VA area it may be tough to find something specific. Hamilton Beach is the only big one I can think of off my head. I realize the importance in trying to hold together relationships (I had to deal with being 400 miles away from my gf for a year) but at the same time I think you should at least consider branching out to see where things go. If you find something in the area you want then awesome, but maybe a really killer opportunity pops up somewhere else and then you need to evaluate your career vs relationship.

If you want to talk in more specifics shoot me a PM.



You’ve pinned the tail on the designer. :wink:

After your reading your post more times than I would admit to:

As you loosely mentioned, being a cad person would not be all that life fulfilling for me. I am in the profession to enrich people’s lives including my own. I don’t think sitting around creating other people’s ideas is really what I’m looking for. My original thought process was admittedly very short sighted.

Developing architectural elements and unique pieces is, to me, the ID equivalent of art. The combination of rich woods with forged metals juxtaposed with glass and other materials - is art. Designing a 50 million production run children’s toy made of PP that will be discarded 5 days after their birthday is just garbage. I don’t find any value in this type of design. Compare these to Naef “play objects” which are practically art in their own right.

I was excited when you came in and presented your work with a company that I feel, creates art on a daily basis… This showed me that the possibility of finding jobs that enrich lives, with an ID background, is achievable.

I have read through the notes that you had sent me through e-mail on Oct 7th and you were correct about the dishwasher unit’s water loading/unloading procedure. I still have to clean that up as well as make a few updates.

As far as web development is concerned I am still interested in this path though I don’t feel my programming would be up to snuff. My coding knowledge is currently limited to HTML, CSS, and XML, however, this has been more than plenty to create quite an array of websites. I may just do this on the side freelance.

Thank you everybody for your help!

Mike - I will send you an e-mail later in the week, Thanks!

No one wants to make “crap” I will say that a lot of designers, particularly people who are hungry for work or in consulting jobs that get a lot of “meh” projects may wind up working on things they’re less than thrilled about.

With that said, there is still a huge amount to be learned in your first job, even if its taking “crap” from concept to production. I think you’d be better served working your ass off between now and graduation, and then looking for the job you WANT, not the job you’ll TAKE.

You won’t always, or even usually find something right after graduation. But that gives you time to let your brain dump as well as time to work on polishing up your whole presentation and cleaning up those projects you did earlier. Spending a few months really cleaning stuff up, and getting feedback (posting stuff on here to get ripped apart) :wink: can be very useful. Most people don’t do it either because they don’t have the stomach to take feedback or they settle on some other job.

My brother (who admittedly makes way way more money then I do in the web biz) gave me the advice to not settle on my first job when I was considering it. For a lot of people it’s just way too easy to settle on something and not pursue what you really want to do. But you gotta pay the bills one way or another.