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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Aug 27, 2014

Where are They Now?

Lately I've been pondering the range of skills that I've cultivated after X years out of graduate school. Well, actually thinking about my skills as compared to those who graduated from the same program--at the same time. Back in school, I could see my future laid out plainly: a few years developing my craft in nonprofit organizations as the graphic designer, then maybe another volunteer or pro bono role at a professional organization, but eventually landing as director of design strategy / communications / marketing for a large national nonprofit--like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (kind of finishing up where I started).

After school ended and I delved into work in the nonprofit sector my interests grew and my focus changed. Eventually I followed a different thread into higher ed. It's been interesting and challenging. Challenging because of the tools, and interesting because of the messages. Marshall McLuhan famously stated that 'the medium is the message,' and boy was he right. Across so may industries, the messages are universal.

This past weekend I'm talking to a girlfriend who's in year two of conducting a passive job search; sometimes she looks and decides not to apply, sometimes I look for her--and she decides not to apply. It dawned on me that we both graduated in the same major, around the same time, and we're both in higher ed. However, that's were the similarities stop.

This good friend of mine is an excellent technical writer, designs almost exclusively for print, takes most of her own photographs (for publications), and she has much more person-to-person contact at work. Conversely, I work mostly in web and digital media (although I'd give an eye-tooth for more print projects), my writing is almost always editorial, and some days I'm half-crazed because I over eight solid hours of computer screens.

It's not bad just different. We'll never be in competition for the same job.

My recent ponderings got me thinking about what other fellow grads are doing with their advanced degree in Publications Design (with concentrations in graphic design, writing, or digital media). I grabbed the first ten names in the private UB Pub Design group on LinkedIn (to which I belong), extracted their names, gender, and current position in order to build the graphs below. Here's the skinny, as illustrated by PowerPoint:

60% Female, 40% Male - 40% Directors (Communications, Marketing, Art, Design, and Production),
Yes, I'm represented in this group as well--as one of the instructional designers (close enough).