The focus of skills in education and the design industry
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Original versionStarling, R.E. & Steen, L. (2019). The focus of skills in education and the design industry. I E. Bohemia, A. Kovacevic, L. Buck, R. Brisco, D. Evans, H. Grierson, W. Ion & R.I. Whitfield (Red.), DS 95: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2019): University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, 12th -13th September 2019, chapter 6. Glasgow: The Design Society. doi:10.35199/epde2019 https://doi.org/10.35199/epde2019
With constant technological, social and cultural changes in the design industry it is important for educational courses to teach the most relevant skills. Students are faced with the choice of specialisation in order to ensure a successful career after graduation. Which skills do students, professionals and faculty perceive to have the highest value? This study aims to help faculty and student to make informed choices. Opinions of the value of different skills are examined through personal reflection, interview and a survey of product design students, faculty and alumni working in the industry. Social skills were found to be the most valued, followed by theory and technical skills. The main divergences were that tutors, and design professionals valued presentation skills and data analysis more than students, whilst students valued 2D digital software skills and communication skills more. Digital skills were more valued than physical skills. For an academic career, or to become known in the industry, specialisation is key. For career flexibility, proficiency within a range of skills opens up a variety of choices. The increasing rarity of physical workshop skills could increase their worth with time but working digitally allows for greater freedom and the shift towards theory and methodology based service and sustainable design could lead to better thought out products and services. It is also relevant to look at the impact that a design career can have on the world and plan to have the best possible impact.