Featuring Insights From Jason Early
Read: 3 Minutes
Are you a graphic designer intimidated by the prospect of transitioning to digital design work? Are you concerned with your ability to learn new tools and unfamiliar terminology? Those fears are normal and all too common for creative professionals, but the facts — and figures — say otherwise. Core design skills are still core design skills, regardless of the medium. Truthfully, the tech industry needs people just like you.
Graphic design was originally established to meet the needs of print, with a focus on layout and typography, Bridging the gap to digital requires an understanding of how users interact with your product. Read on to find out why your experience is a valuable commodity in today’s job market, no matter what you might assume.
Let’s begin with salary. While the median salary for a graphic designer is $55K, tech- and leadership-driven roles that require similar skills like art director, web designer, or product designer command higher salaries. For example, a web designer just starting out can earn $65K, with a range of up to $140K in senior managerial roles. Even better, stretching your design skill set for positions like user experience (UX) designer can bring your starting salary up to $100K, with more sizable gains as you advance and accrue experience. Salary information according to Glassdoor. Amounts will vary by geographic location and from country to country.
The big question: how do you supercharge your design skills in a way that positions you to crush the job market?
There are practical and relevant ways to supplement your graphic design skills — and skyrocket your salary. Consider our UX Design Immersive (UXDI), a full-time bootcamp that’s available online and designed to launch you into a high-growth, high-paying tech career. “My favorite course to teach is UXDI,” says one of our distinguished faculty members,Jason Early. “I have a lot of time to focus on the students and help them achieve their individual goals. By the time we’ve completed a course, they’re confident and able to start applying what they have learned out in the world.”
Look no further for an inspiring success story. Early started his career as a graphic designer and is a living case study on pushing design skills past traditional boundaries to meet new challenges.
“I have a traditional university training in graphic design and have expanded that into web design, front-end development, and product design over the years. What first attracted me to the design industry was my interest in making things. I wanted to understand how products get made. So I started learning about the different areas that lead into product development. Graphic design taught me visual communication, front-end development taught me digital production, product design taught me how to combine those skills, and an understanding of business taught me how to produce product value.”
Our Immersive graduates emerge equipped with the new skills they need to navigate a career transition, but what about the prior work experience they bring to the new role? Are those traditional design skills transferable?
“Absolutely,” says Early. “They are already going to be familiar with the design process. While graphic design is focused more on visual communication, UX design is more strategic and focused on behavior. The process is the same: research, analysis, exploration, refinement, deployment. The only difference is the result.”
Of course, the best perk of a GA Immersive is that you’ll gain familiarity with the top employers out there, including who is hiring and how to connect to hiring managers, plus the invaluable resource of networking with world-class faculty and a group of like-minded, forward-thinking students (and future colleagues + friends).
Now an independent design consultant with 20 years experience, Early advises those considering a career change to start by thinking about the challenges encountered every day, their causes, and what can be done to address them. “Now, you are beginning to think like a designer,” he says.
A growth mindset and a willingness to learn go a long way. Today’s designers have more tools at their disposal than ever, with a steady influx of new software designed to make the job easier.
“Tools tend to vary by the team and company,” says Early. “I see Figma being adopted more and more by designers. It’s great for remote collaborative design production. Aside from that, being familiar with analytics software and usability testing software is important. Google Analytics and Usertesting are two of the most commonly used, but there are others in the market as well.”
Adapting to innovations is a win-win for all designers. Your work becomes more efficient, your proficiency increases, and your role as a designer becomes even more valuable — and diverse.
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