Short supply of designers

21 September 2010


Today when I was reading Quora, I stumbled upon a pretty interesting question: Why is there such a stunningly short supply of designers in Silicon Valley right now? After typing out my answer half way through, I thought I might as well use it as a blog post.

First, to become a real professional designer is not easy. You will be flooded with resumes on Craigslist trying to hire one but you won’t find one that is actually “professional”. I think criteria for designers in the Valley is very different than how designers are taught in school. Art schools today teach their students to be great graphic designers and web designers, but not front-end developers, product designers, or UX designers like those that are in demand. Students from art schools don’t learn about designing wireframes, user flows, or product. These skills come from those who are interested or have experience from doing an internship. Some will have the raw talent to excel but those are even harder to find.

Saying designers don’t think with their left brain is ignorant. I would argue that great designers are extremely logical since we deal with user-facing problems. Photoshop mocks are easy to create, but the time thinking about those mocks takes much longer. Basically, there seems to be a shortage of designers because companies here are looking for smart, tech-savy, product eccentric designers with skills that could not be taught from the traditional eductation system. Have no doubt for that to be hard to come by.