Things change, things stay the same
The career world consists of staple jobs that will never disappear. Among these are: doctors, teachers, and firefighters.
But, much like everything else, the career world is subject to trends. As a result, what is popular and in-demand now may be obsolete a few years down the road.
This is true of the now popular graphic design career. John Brownlee created a rundown of the five graphic design jobs that will disappear in the future, as well as seven related jobs that are expected to grow.
This information was gathered by Brownlee speaking with design leaders from Frog, Artefact, Ideo, and the like.
The timespan of the five-dead, seven-living jobs is over the next 15 years.
The final five
The five jobs expected to die out are: User experience designers, visual designers, design researchers, traditional industrial designers, and chief design officers.
Also known as UX designers, user experience designers are currently among the most in-demand graphic designers. However, the job has become rather broad over time and is expected to fizzle out because its components may be usurped by other, more defined positions.
Visual designers are primarily used to construct the way something (an app, for example) looks. This alone will begin to fade as visual design must begin to work in conjunction with programming and prototyping skills. The idea is to make the trade of visual design more diverse.
Design researchers, as a lone job, will eventually dwindle due to the fact that it will become imperative for anyone in the graphic design field to have the skills to research.
As time goes on, new technologies including virtual reality, are putting the kabash on design research.
Eventually, traditional aspects tend to go out the window and it is no different for traditional industrial designers. These guys and gals may be too focused on the sculptural look of a product; the problem is, it is becoming more software and technologically-based, so the industrial design will simply mold into something new.
Lastly, chief design officers are fading in a similar fashion to researchers. Everyone on an executive level should have the design skills that a chief would hold, so the necessity for a single person spearheading design could become unnecessary.
But, it’s not all bad news, as there are design jobs expected to flourish over the next 15 years. Among these are: Virtual interaction designers, specialist material designers, algorithmic/AI design specialists, post-industrial designers, design strategists, organization designers, and freelance designers.
Virtual interaction designers will find a boost in demand as virtual and augmented reality becomes a more lucrative industry.
More and more designers will be needed to create technologies such as chatbots and immersive tools.
Specialist material designers are people with skills on a specific material. One of these skills projected to become more popular is for people that know how to sew. Specifically, people who can sew structural soft goods in order to create wearable tech instruments.
Algorithmic/AI design specialists will be needed to further different technologies. While there has always been the fear of robots and machines taking over humans, there will always need to be a human element in order to successfully create certain tools.
Post-industrial designers are responsible for creating experiences that blend the physical and virtual worlds. Much like how a Fitbit tracks your physical motion through a virtual app, this trend will continue as everyday activities find their digital component.
Strategy is always a necessity in any career field. Because of this, design strategists will continue to be an integral element for any graphic design project requiring execution.
These strategists also act as PR reps for business by appropriately utilizing social media.
And, like strategy, organization will never stop being important. So, organization designers will always be needed in order to keep projects on task so they can come to fruition.
Finally, freelance designers, like many other freelance roles, will continue to boom. This is because it is now easier to find a freelancer who has an extraordinarily specialized skill set; and it is easier to get access to them working on their own than through a company.
So fret not, designers of 2016, your roles are evolving, not disappearing (sorry to disappoint you, robot conspiracy theorists).
Big retailers are opting for refunds instead of returns
(BUSINESS NEWS) Due to increased shipping costs, big companies like Amazon and Walmart are opting to give out a refund rather than accepting small items returned.
The holidays are over, and now some people are ready to return an item that didn’t quite work out or wasn’t on their Christmas list. Whatever the reason, some retailers are giving customers a refund and letting them keep the product, too.
When Vancouver, Washington resident, Lorie Anderson, tried returning makeup from Target and batteries from Walmart she had purchased online, the retailers told her she could keep or donate the products. “They were inexpensive, and it wouldn’t make much financial sense to return them by mail,” said Ms. Anderson, 38. “It’s a hassle to pack up the box and drop it at the post office or UPS. This was one less thing I had to worry about.”
Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc., and other companies are changing the way they handle returns this year, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) to weigh the costs of processing physical returns versus just issuing a refund and having customers keep the item.
For instance, if it costs more to ship an inexpensive or larger item than it is to refund the purchase price, companies are giving customers a refund and telling them to keep the products also. Due to an increase in online shopping, it makes sense for companies to change how they manage returns.
Locus Robotics chief executive Rick Faulk told the Journal that the biggest expense when it comes to processing returns is shipping costs. “Returning to a store is significantly cheaper because the retailer can save the freight, which can run 15% to 20% of the cost,” Faulk said.
But, returning products to physical stores isn’t something a lot of people are wanting to do. According to the return processing firm Narvar, online returns increased by 70% in 2020. With people still hunkered down because of the pandemic, changing how to handle returns is a good thing for companies to consider to reduce shipping expenses.
While it might be nice to keep the makeup or batteries for free, don’t expect to return that new PS5 and get to keep it for free, too. According to WSJ, a Walmart spokesperson said the company lets someone keep a refunded item only if the company doesn’t plan on reselling it. And, besides taking the economic costs into consideration, the companies look at the customer’s purchase history as well.
Google workers have formed company’s first labor union
(BUSINESS NEWS) A number of Google employees have agreed to commit 1% of their salary to labor union dues to support employee activism and fight workplace discrimination.
On Monday morning, Google workers announced that they have formed a union with the support of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the largest communications and media labor union in the U.S.
The new union, Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) was organized in secret for about a year and formed to support employee activism, and fight discrimination and unfairness in the workplace.
“From fighting the ‘real names’ policy, to opposing Project Maven, to protesting the egregious, multi-million dollar payouts that have been given to executives who’ve committed sexual harassment, we’ve seen first-hand that Alphabet responds when we act collectively. Our new union provides a sustainable structure to ensure that our shared values as Alphabet employees are respected even after the headlines fade,” stated Program Manager Nicki Anselmo in a press release.
AWU is the first union in the company’s history, and it is open to all employees and contractors at any Alphabet company in the United States and Canada. The cost of membership is 1% of an employee’s total compensation, and the money collected will be used to fund the union organization.
In a response to the announcement, Google’s Director of People Operations, Kara Silverstein, said, “We’ve always worked hard to create a supportive and rewarding workplace for our workforce. Of course, our employees have protected labor rights that we support. But as we’ve always done, we’ll continue engaging directly with all our employees.”
Unlike other labor unions, the AWU is considered a “Minority Union”. This means it doesn’t need formal recognition from the National Labor Relations Board. However, it also means Alphabet can’t be forced to meet the union’s demands until a majority of employees support it.
So far, the number of members in the union represents a very small portion of Google’s workforce, but it’s growing every day. When the news of the union was first announced on Monday, roughly 230 employees made up the union. Less than 24 hours later, there were 400 employees in the union, and now that number jumped to over 500 employees.
Unions among Silicon Valley’s tech giants are rare, but labor activism is slowly picking up speed, especially with more workers speaking out and organizing.
“The Alphabet Workers Union will be the structure that ensures Google workers can actively push for real changes at the company, from the kinds of contracts Google accepts to employee classification to wage and compensation issues. All issues relevant to Google as a workplace will be the purview of the union and its members,” stated the AWU in a press release.
Ticketmaster caught red-handed hacking, hit with major fines
(BUSINESS NEWS) Ticketmaster has agreed to pay $10 million to resolve criminal charges after hacking into a competitor’s network specifically to sabotage.
Live Nation’s Ticketmaster agreed to pay $10 million to resolve criminal charges after admitting to hacking into a competitor’s network and scheming to “choke off” the ticket seller company and “cut [victim company] off at the knees”.
Ticketmaster admitted hiring former employee, Stephen Mead, from startup rival CrowdSurge (which merged with Songkick) in 2013. In 2012, Mead signed a separation agreement to keep his previous company’s information confidential. When he joined Live Nation, Mead provided that confidential information to the former head of the Artist Services division, Zeeshan Zaidi, and other Ticketmaster employees. The hacking information shared with the company included usernames, passwords, data analytics, and other insider secrets.
“When employees walk out of one company and into another, it’s illegal for them to take proprietary information with them. Ticketmaster used stolen information to gain an advantage over its competition, and then promoted the employees who broke the law. This investigation is a perfect example of why these laws exist – to protect consumers from being cheated in what should be a fair market place,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
In January 2014, Mead gave a Ticketmaster executive multiple sets of login information to Toolboxes, the competitor’s password-protected app that provides real-time data about tickets sold through the company. Later, at an Artists Services Summit, Mead logged into a Toolbox and demonstrated the product to Live Nation and Ticketmaster employees. Information collected from the Toolboxes were used to “benchmark” Ticketmaster’s offerings against the competitor.
“Ticketmaster employees repeatedly – and illegally – accessed a competitor’s computers without authorization using stolen passwords to unlawfully collect business intelligence,” said Acting U.S. Attorney DuCharme in a statement. “Further, Ticketmaster’s employees brazenly held a division-wide ‘summit’ at which the stolen passwords were used to access the victim company’s computers, as if that were an appropriate business tactic.”
The hacking violations were first reported in 2017 when CrowdSurge sued Live Nation for antitrust violations. A spokesperson told The Verge, “Ticketmaster terminated both Zaidi and Mead in 2017, after their conduct came to light. Their actions violated our corporate policies and were inconsistent with our values. We are pleased that this matter is now resolved.”
To resolve the case, Ticketmaster will pay a $10 million criminal penalty, create a compliance and ethics program, and report to the United States Attorney’s Office annually during a three-year term. If the agreement is breached, Ticketmaster will be charged with: “One count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, one count of computer intrusion for commercial advantage, one count of computer intrusion in furtherance of fraud, one count of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of wire fraud.”
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