Those with a penchant for design often find themselves in jobs that make use of that skill. Among those are graphic design positions or design jobs that focus on the visual arts. But design is about more than just an eye for detail and an understanding of form and function; it’s a way of looking at the world, and solving problems in order to make life easier for people. If that’s one of your core qualities as a worker, this guide is for you.
Below, we take a look at some of the top alternative careers for those with a strong design streak in their DNA.
With design in the job title, you’ve probably thought about this position in the past. As you’ll know, it involves taking home interiors and deciding on all of the decorative elements that make them fit with a person or organization’s key traits. Each project is different, but all of them require an element of creative flair and passion that easily fits with the profile of a designer in other fields. If you’re unsure if interior design might be for you, it’s well worth looking online for examples of some of the most exciting projects that practitioners have undertaken in recent months.
To get into this career, you may need some training. You can take interior design classes at universities and colleges, as well as gain experience in an internship capacity, attached to an experienced interior designer, on smaller projects in your local area. Once you’ve learned the ropes and you’re confident that you can take the initiative and go it alone, you can set up as a private interior design specialist and begin earning large volumes of cash for the projects that you accept.
Taking that home design idea to the next level, the job of an engineer also looks at form and function but from a structural design perspective. As an engineer, you might build anything from a hotel to an airport runway, a bridge to a sewer network. It’s a job that’s incredibly varied but takes its inspiration not only from what might look good but what also works the best with the fewest possible materials and the least possible budget. Those who love building, solving problems, and working on math puzzles may well be suited to a career as an engineer.
Working as an engineer usually requires you to take some time out for studies. You might take an undergraduate degree in a specific area of engineering, or you could do a master’s conversion that’ll help you learn the ropes at extra-quick speed in order to quickly on-ramp into the profession. And there are a number of different roles in engineering, from working on the scientific side of projects, and using your technical skills, all the way through to managing projects from a macro perspective. If that latter option sounds like it would suit you, a masters in Engineering Management can help you learn the ropes for long enough to get a job in the field and let your ideas fly in a room of intelligent and passionate builders.
There are hundreds of different items in the room you’re currently sitting in that have been consciously designed. From the toaster in your kitchen to the bike chained up to the railing outside, all of these items have not only been manufactured – they’ve been painstakingly refined and designed over many months or even years in order to work perfectly, look stylish, and deliver form and function to their owners. Product design is endlessly fascinating and will often take you to bizarre and interesting projects that you might never have considered as something you might one day work on. All you need for such a job is an interest in the world around you and a passion for how and why things work as they do.
Getting into product design is a little simpler than becoming an engineer. It helps if you’re interested in a specific field so that you can specialize early and find a job role that you will truly love. If you’re interested in developing more and more skills in this area, you should consider taking a course in product design, which will include modules on how to use development software as well as practical ideas on how you can make your ideas on paper jump into life in the real world.
Design needn’t be in the physical world, of course. We also use hundreds of digital products every month, from the online banking systems that we access to the social media feeds that we scroll through. Each of these is an example of a designed phenomenon, and it’s software developers who are behind the sleek interfaces and modern apps that we all love to use. This is a job that will also deliver you interesting challenges and exciting projects that are as diverse as they are rewarding. You’ll just need to knuckle down and learn how to code in order to excel at this particular job.
Learning to code is by no means easy. It’s been likened to learning a new language, including the grammar of how that language works and the fixes you can put in place if something is broken in a long paragraph of code. It’s something that you can learn incrementally over time or something you can focus on with all your efforts on a coding boot camp course that’ll get you up to speed with the basics within a month. If you’re interested in this much sought-after and lucrative career path, you’ll simply want to get trained and begin working on small projects that can teach you all you need to know before you join a larger and more ambitious firm.
One of the helpers, when apps are being built by software developers is the UX designer. It’s up to this individual to think clearly about the app or program in question and how a user might interface with the features. Hence the title: a user experience designer. These designers are the reason people love apps. It’s because of them that it feels so seamless surfing the web and people cannot stop scrolling through their favorite social media feeds: they make the digital product so enjoyable that people struggle to get away from them.
This is a job that takes creative imagination. You need to use a roughly developed app in order to see where users might get frustrated and turn away from using the app. After some time of trial and error problem solving, your invaluable suggestions and contributions will ultimately see your ideas embedded in the app forever, helping it become a success in a crowded field of rivals. This is a role that you can get trained in, but it also relies on a significant amount of intuition, which designers tend to have in spaces.
If you’re a lover of the great outdoors as well as a creative designer, you can do no better than fusing those two passions in the world of landscape architecture. In this job, you’ll be tasked with making an outside space look beautiful, be that the garden in the back yard of a home or a large country estate with many dozens of square kilometers of land. You’ll often work in a team with other lovers of the great outdoors, including those who are well aware of which plants will take to which types of soil and those who are experts at building water features and ponds. It’s a fun, social job, and it takes you to all corners of your area.
Landscape architecture won’t necessarily require you to have taken an architecture degree, which is famously laborious to achieve and can take many years to spit you out the other end. Instead, you can take shorter courses that target design in the outdoor garden space. Find these at your local college, or study online, in order to gain the critical skills you’ll need in order to start designing the outside world around certain objectives set by your clients. It’s a job that is a breath of fresh air for those who spend the majority of their time designing in front of a computer screen.
Designers have an aesthetic disposition, and that’s certainly the case for writers too. In fact, you’ll often find that designers tend to write in private anyway, given that they’re interested in the creative process and exploring themselves and their passions or interests. If you’ve ever kept a journal, or you love expressing yourself in the written word, you could do worse than following a career as a writer. You simply need to find the first paid jobs that’ll help you establish yourself, climb onto the career ladder, and being building a portfolio that you can show off to more and more clients.
Writers often use their creative skills to engage with people. They might even enjoy illustrating their own books or using their visual design skills on the page. But most of all, a writer is someone who applies their ideas about what is beautiful to the written word only. In order to become a writer, you can either train formally in the discipline, or you can simply go it alone and pick up bit-part wiring jobs as a starter. If you enjoy the challenge of coming up with words that’ll answer the demands of different projects, this is a career that can inspire and satisfy in equal measure.
Most people think that to be a successful musician means to be on the pop charts, but of course, that would mean that 99% of the entire industry is still searching for success. Instead, it’s better to look at being a musician as similar to being a writer: it’s a job type that can involve any kind of music, from that which is played live at weddings through to recorded pieces that you put out onto the market to see if anyone wants to use your music for television or film. Musicians are also aesthetic people and are interested in transforming their ideas and passions into something that people can listen to and enjoy.
As with coding, there’s quite a lot to learn in the first months of your attempts to become a musician. If you’ve not yet learned to play an instrument or to read music, you’ll have a mountain to climb in order to catch up with your peers. But if you have a base of understanding of how to play an instrument, read music and even compose your own pieces, this is a job that might be right up your street. Use your skills in music to enchant people and to earn yourself a living wage in the coming months.
Finally, the world of a videographer greatly suits a designer too. It’s a job that is always asking you to think about fresh angles and perspectives on things in order to tell a story that the project demands. Of course, this is a career that can take you into the world of film and TV, but it’s also one that can instead give you commercial projects, such as filming an advert, that pay handsomely and still engage with many of the creative traits that you value in yourself. Videography is the reason we have such amazing video content out there on the market – and you can join this career with a little training.
While some might argue that the best videographers are those who have been schooled in technique and tradition in the world of film, you can equally pick up this skill by getting out there with a camera and simply filming. Over time, you’ll develop a sensibility that will directly impact how you see the world and how you choose to film it. That’s a skill you can bring to any creative project using cameras in the future.
There you have it: a selection of career ideas for designers who are looking to put into practice their aesthetic judgments in different domains across the world.