Securing Your Spot on a Modern Creative Team

Call for entries: The HOW Logo Design Awards closes on Nov. 20 at 11:59pm EST

Want your pick of jobs? With the right skills, fielding several attractive offers doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. In our latest research, 71% of hiring managers said it’s challenging to find professionals with up-to-date digital skills. And that number represents a lot of opportunity for you.

The trick is knowing which digital skills will land you a spot on a modern creative team, so you can focus your professional development efforts accordingly. To help you figure it all out, The Creative Group partnered with AIGA, the professional association of design, and Graphic Design USA to conduct a survey of nearly 600 industry practitioners with hiring authority. We asked about everything from hiring plans to skills gaps and more.

Here’s what we found.

TCG on the skills in demandPhoto by Climate KIC on Unsplash

High Demand for Highly Skilled Roles

Seventy percent of creative professionals and 64 percent of marketing professionals said their teams are understaffed. If they could add head count right now, creative professionals told us they’d hire web design and production help first. That means learning HTML and CSS, as well as responsive and mobile design principles, is a smart move. Second, they’d bring on people with print design and production experience. The next specialties they’re looking for: project management, video production and photography, and creative and art direction.

Marketing teams told us they have a slightly different hiring wish list. The top areas they would add staff include the following: digital marketing strategy, search engine optimization and search engine marketing, marketing data analytics, content development and management, and social media. You may not want to move into these specialty areas, but becoming more familiar with them can make you more attractive to your current or potential employers. Understanding basic analytics terms, for instance, can help you collaborate more effectively with marketing colleagues.

[Related: 5 Things to Avoid When You Think You’re UnderpaidThe Creative Group 2017 Designer Salary Guide | Negotiating Your Graphic Design Salary: Questions to Ask]

Technical Skills and Agile Teams

So that’s a look at which positions you’re going to be seeing job ads for, but what about the skills that go with them? This is an area where creative and marketing professionals agree. In fact, both groups gave the same answer for the technical skills most lacking on their teams.

The big winner: data science, data analysis and A/B testing. As companies expand their digital investments, they’ll look to figure out what works and what doesn’t—fast. Data analysis and testing provides an efficient path to showing ROI. This process often involves quick experimentation and iteration to solve problems, and when we interviewed creative leaders in conjunction with our survey, they told us they’re often carrying this out through Agile teams.

Agile is a philosophy that comes from software development, and an Agile work process often involves small cross-disciplinary teams, ongoing collaboration and continuous delivery. A typical Agile team might include a visual designer, UX designer, front-end developer, back-end developer, product manager and a quality assurance professional. This small group builds and launches products, gathers data then makes adjustments based on feedback.

It’s no surprise that one of the key roles on Agile teams—user experience (UX) design—was named the second most technical skill lacking in our survey. UX jobs can vary from company to company, but they typically involve user research and testing and mapping out the overall user flow for a website, app or other product or experience. It’s about creating an easy and enjoyable experience for end users.

Are you ready to secure your place on the modern creative team? Check out our full report here.

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