Fancy a career in design? When I made that choice 30 years ago, the options were limited. You either got an engineering degree and then went to design school, or you went to art school and studied graphic design, architecture, or industrial design, like I did.
Today, things are very different. Thanks to the still-booming Silicon Valley, interaction and user-experience designers have been added to the mix, but those aren’t the only opportunities for design thinkers. Even graduates of non-traditional programs can embark on exciting design careers. To wit, here are five disciplines that didn’t even exist at IDEO a few years ago.
The Designer Coder
Prototyping has always been a critical part of design, but in today’s online, app-based economy, the preferred prototyping medium is increasingly code. Designers who can also code possess a powerful set of tools. There are thousands of positions open to those who have the skills to conceive new ideas and the ability to launch them quickly into market.
The Design Entrepreneur
Combining entrepreneurialism and design is the hot thing in Silicon Valley these days. Every start-up worth its salt has a designer on its founding team. Venture capital firms are including designers in their inner circles, too. More importantly, many of the fastest-growing companies are succeeding because they’ve designed a highly appealing product or service. Just look at Uber or Airbnb. If you have the design skills to craft the right product—and the entrepreneurial grit to see things through—there’s never been a better time to be a design entrepreneur.