Decoding Design

The rise of designers in Silicon Valley

The rise of designers in Silicon Valley

Posting in Design

Will designers dethrone engineers and marketers?

The darlings of Silicon Valley used to be engineers and coders. Now the most coveted hires are the small pool of designers who know how to work their way around websites and apps. Laurie Segall writes for CNNMoney that companies are recognizing the value and significance of design to success in business.

"There's a huge demand for finding talent," [Johnnie Manzari, a prominent user interface designer] says. "Just like with engineering, one of the reasons it's been so difficult is there just aren't many people that are that good. Not only are people looking for designers more than they used to, but the bar they're willing to accept has gone up."

Where are the internet and tech giants like Facebook and Google looking for design talent? Besides acquiring companies to pluck the designers and graphics artists while leaving engineers and software behind, they are heading to web based recruiting sites specifically for the design industry. The leading site is Dribbble, which is an invitation only coffee klatch of sorts for designers. The site has become a "recruiting mecca" and currently boasts ads from Facebook, Yelp, Zappos, and PayPal.

The increasing demand for design talent, according to Manzari, can be attributed to better and faster technology that let designers do things they couldn't before. New platforms like smartphones and tablets also give designers more products to design.

Rocky Agrawal [a veteran entrepreneur] cites Mint and recent phenom Pinterest as examples of companies that took off because of their visual flair. "The first 50 or 500 people that come to your site, the biggest thing that's going to impact them is the design," he says. "If you have great design, you can acquire the audience you need."

Agrawal's point is reinforced by Marc Curtis, chief customer officer of design firm Fjord. The best products, Curtis says, market themselves through design. He predicts that chief design officers will soon be more important than chief marketing officers, and design will be so important that even chief engineers will report to chief design officers.

Silicon Valley is desperate for designers [CNNMoney]

Image: Olle Svensson

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Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure