What You Should Know About a Career in Industrial Design
If you've ever complained about the usefulness of a widget and thought to yourself, I could design a better one, you may have the mind of an industrial designer. These professionals are problem-solvers: they solve problems of function, packaging, performance, efficiency, affordability, or lack of appeal to consumers. In order to be an effective industrial designer, you need to know aspects of design, as well as engineering and computer-aided design. You need to understand manufacturing and distribution processes, and have some degree of business and communications savvy. You can learn many of these skills through an industrial design degree program.
Experienced industrial designers can go on to become chief designers or department heads, teach postsecondary courses, or even open their own design firms.
How to Prepare for an Industrial Design Career
Most industrial design jobs require at least a bachelor's degree, although competition for these high-paying design jobs is tough, so a good portfolio, internship or professional experience, and even a master's degree in business administration can help you secure a higher-level industrial design career. Most industrial designers receive some form of on-the-job training as well.
The Future of Industrial Design
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that industrial designer jobs will grow rapidly as technology and consumer tastes continue to change, keen competition and a certain amount of off-shoring will temper growth among these positions, holding it at about 9 percent through 2018. Competition for these jobs is driven by a nice salary, which is among the highest for design professions; the median annual salary for industrial designers in May 2008 was $57,350.