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A Path for Tomorrow

A Path for Tomorrow

This is a brand new keynote talk on a series of things framing the current state of the design industry. It covers some of the issues we face as our industry grows and matures. In specific the talk highlights the challenges those transitioning into the field face and how that is going to impact business going forward.

The career experience gap
Career paths and leveling in design
Gatekeeping in design and how to find advocates
Diversity and inclusion in design
Mentoring and apprenticeships in design

Nick Finck

May 20, 2021

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  1. Expectations of Junior Level Designers 0% 20% 40% 60% 80%

    0+ years 2+ years 3+ years 5+ years 2% 3% 15% 80% Expectations by other designers
  2. Expectations of Junior Level Designers 0% 13% 25% 38% 50%

    0+ years 1+ years 2+ years 3+ years 4+ years 5+ years 13+ years 2% 2% 0% 12% 26% 50% 8% Expectations in job postings
  3. Expectations of Senior Level Designers 0% 10% 20% 30% 40%

    3+ years 4+ years 5+ years 6+ years 7+ years 8+ years 8% 12% 6% 36% 18% 20% Expectations in job postings
  4. The big problem • Product Design: For every 1 entry-level

    job openings there are 29 senior job openings • UI/UX Design: For every 1 entry-level job openings there are 19 senior job openings Source: “What 4,000+ Job Posts Say About the Design Industry” Molly Norris Walker
  5. Factors for retention, employee engagement, + satisfaction • A formalized

    career progression ladder • Separate paths for individual contributors and managers • Career progression models focused on competencies that covered a spectrum of people, process, and product knowledge • Design leadership at the executive level Source: "Design career index" by Todd Zaki Warfel
  6. Structure of the workforce • Junior-level individual contributors make up

    only 13% of the workforce in the design field • Mid-level individual contributors make up the second largest part of the workforce at 25% • Senior-level individual contributors make up the largest part of the workforce at 28% Source: "Design career index" by Todd Zaki Warfel
  7. …The current demand for Senior UX Designers exceeds the actual

    available pool of candidates. — Jill DaSilva “
  8. As an industry, we need to look at building new

    routes into the design industry. Routes that are accessible + desirable to people who have the potential to be brilliant designers, but look at the people already there and just see barriers. — Dean Vipond “
  9. These are who I call gatekeepers. We need to overcome

    the need for job assurance overriding the collective longevity of our field.
  10. Diversity is an action, inclusivity is cultural, and belonging is

    a feeling. Change doesn’t start from top-down leadership; it happens at every level. — Shelley Zalis, Forbes “
  11. It’s not just a feel-good move; it’s good for business.

    Study after study has shown that diversity leads to more creative teams and increases a company’s bottom line. — Shelley Zalis, Forbes “
  12. …the chances are they look like you, the chances that

    they think like you, the changes that they are like you are very low, and that’s a great great thing. — Dan Mall “
  13. It costs a business roughly 140% of the annual salary

    of a Sr Designer each time a Sr Designer leaves. A key reason they leave is the lack of opportunity & support for their growth. Mentoring & coaching provides this support. Want to invest in your talent? “
  14. Differentiating Factors • Drive & passion for the craft •

    A growth mindset + learning from failure • Patience + persistance • Somewhat self-sufficient
  15. Create a safe environment where your talented designer feels the

    freedom to make mistakes. — Tim van Asch “
  16. Mentoring needs to be built into job expectations for seniors.

    If you can’t start to teach your craft, you’re not “senior.” This also helps seniors grow more. — Kim Goodwin “