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Five Design Jobs Of The Future (And How You Can Get Them) How to embrace market changes and get design students ready for the career revolution.

By Hani Asfour

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Regional and world markets are changing at such a fast pace that many of the jobs we do now will completely evolve by the time our children enter the workplace. It can be a rather daunting thought that technology, emerging global economies and fast-growth industries will completely reshape employment and careers. So, how do we embrace this change and get our students ready for the career revolution?

The answer is to give them the right transferable skills required to be problem-solvers and design thinkers. These traits include having the ability to empathize, so that they understand who they are solving the problem for, and why and how it benefits them. Add to that the skill of radical brainstorming, which requires the maturity to ideate prolifically and be open to receiving other ideas while suspending judgement. Framing and articulating solutions comes next, with the ability to receive and synthesize feedback. It's important to also master the skills needed to rapidly prototype an idea, and an aptitude for testing and iterating solutions, allowing it to grow and flourish into a sustainable and feasible product or service.

At the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), the first stand-alone design university in the region, we give students the freedom to design their own degree by pairing our disciplines to create their own cross-concentration, from making a choice of four concentrations (Product Design, Multimedia Design, Fashion Design, and Strategic Design Management) to working across two disciplines throughout their educational journey. We believe innovation begins within the intersection of fields, and that is why it is in our DNA to weave together design and innovation, and two disciplines of design. This uniquely designed education will ensure that our students graduate with transferable skills, adapting to a rapidly changing and unpredictable future workforce.

According to the 2016 MENA Design Education Outlook report, the MENA region accounts for US$100 billion of the global design market, valued at about US$2.3 trillion and will require 30,000 new design graduates by 2019. With the design sector projected to increase by 20% annually over the next two to three years, we can predict which careers will continue to emerge, and be in demand in the future. These include fields that require a hybrid education and cut across business and technology, with design at the core:

  • Digital product designers. From designing smart gadgets and systems to apps and technological advancements.
  • UI/UX designers. A role that is already in demand, digital designers will continue to witness job growth. Financial services are already investing heavily into this as they need to improve the digital experiences and loyalty of the customers who use their apps and online banking.
  • Strategic design managers. Delivering solutions to new or complex problems requires creative, strategic capability in order to chart new paths and truly innovate. Those with creative ideas that strategically drive growth and solve issues will be needed in governments and private businesses.
  • Wearable technology designers. From healthcare to wellness and fitness to aged services, wearable technology has the ability to help and transform lives. In the next decade, particularly as populations age, investment in wearable technology to improve lives will expand exponentially.
  • Complex 3D designers. Construction industries will increasingly employ 3D printing techniques to deliver improvements in materials and techniques as well as cost efficiencies. A research by MIT, DIDI's curriculum partner, has already been improving the strength of buildings to withstand stresses from adverse weather. In the coming decades 3D printers will become more portable and affordable, and the major means for construction, especially in remote areas with limited resources, like the surface of Mars.

In the UAE, there is a serious commitment and investment in innovation and creating happy cities. This requires a user-centric approach that puts users first, with empathy, feasibility and sustainability in mind. Design thinkers, with fluent digital capabilities, like those who will graduate from DIDI, are those who will snatch up the jobs of the future, and rise to the top.

Related: Entrepreneur Middle East's Achieving Women 2017: Jazia Al Dhanhani

Hani Asfour

Associate Dean at Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI)

Hani Asfour is a MIT and Harvard-trained architect with over 20 years of experience as a practicing designer. Prior to joining Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation as Associate Dean, he was an Adjunct Faculty member at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, teaching in the departments of Architecture and Foundation Studies. Founding President of the Beirut Creative Cluster, advisor to Beirut Design Week and Founding Partner of Polypod, an award-winning multidisciplinary collaborative design studio in Beirut, Lebanon. Asfour is also a public speaker and has previously presented Design Matters at TedX Beirut and

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