The role of the designer is changing. We are seeing it time and time again here at Agenda Digital & Creative. Companies want the “Do it All’ Designer, the designer who can code. The Unicorn.


It’s such a hot topic that Wired Magazine, recently spoke to John Maeda, Global Head of Computational Design and Inclusion at Automatic Inc, to talk about exactly this - “If you want to survive in design, you better learn to code.”


Speaking recently at South by Southwest, one of the key observations in Maeda’s third annual “Design in Tech Report” is that computational designers remain in demand at technology companies of all sizes and maturity levels. And in the past year, Amazon, Google, and Facebook have collectively grown their design personnel by 65%, with more room for growth. 


As the hiring of designers by companies continues to accelerate, Maeda believes we could see more inclusive hiring practices, for example the hiring of hybrid designers. The designers who can recognise the complexities that exist within tech products, as well as the design challenges that lie within them. It’s the overlap between the more classic design of a traditional graphic designer, and the computational designer, who mostly works in code.


This is something that we as recruiters are seeing regularly in 2017, as Kate Devlin our Client Services Manager mentions, “Clients are wanting candidates to ‘do it all’. For example, Digital Designers, they want them to design as well as code, this saves in bringing in additional resource, whilst up-skilling their workforce.”



Do you want to become a Unicorn? Here's some tips to get ahead.


1. Pick a skill and teach yourself 


There’s a whole plethora of books, blogs and tutorials dedicated to coding and user experience. Nick Freedman and self taught Unicorn, outlines a host of amazing resources.


2. Practice those skills


Sounds simple but without practice, there’s no other way to master your new found skills, than by making stuff! 


3. Deconstruct as many designs as you can and learn from them 


Learn a tool, then find inspiration online. Focus on things that inspire you, it will make the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.


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