What does it take to make it in one of these industries; what sort of jobs are on offer; and, most importantly, what are the benefits?

Interaction design

“It’s really about how a user interacts with a piece of technology,” explains Mark Shufflebottom, Professor of Interaction Design at Sheridan College. “And, how a user can operate the controls of their technology in a way that makes the most sense to them.”

"It’s a fast moving industry and students need to be able to keep up with advances in the field."

A student in an interaction design course can expect to learn a diverse range of new skills. Along with training in graphic and user interface design, students are taught to examine the circumstances in which people are using their technology, identify consumer goals and then build systems to improve the user experience.

UX (user experience) design, UI (user interface) design, back-end development, software development, app development and web design are all jobs that an interaction design graduate should be qualified to apply for. “The salary in a Toronto based entry level job in this field is around $50,000 to $60,000,” says Professor Shufflebottom. “There’s a lot of work in the interaction design sector right now, it’s a hugely growing field.“

Graphic design

As well as being expected to develop a good grasp of the latest design software, students are trained in the foundational principles of graphic design. These include composition, understanding typography, effective application of colour, developing imagery and thinking conceptually.

It’s a fast moving industry and students need to be able to keep up with advances in the field. “Anyone going to school today has to be able to embrace the technological changes that are taking place,” explains Lionel Gadoury, President of the Association of Registered Graphic Designers, “because the more that you’re able to move between different media, the more opportunities there are for you in the jobs market.”

Whether it’s commercial or business branding, developing info-graphics or traditional print design, every modern industry has a need for graphic design. “There are significant opportunities for graphic designers to serve all business markets,” says Gadoury. “Whenever a company is concerned about communicating with a particular audience or projecting a certain image, there’s an opportunity for a graphic designer to be involved.”

A starting salary for a junior graphic designer usually ranges between $30,000 and $35,000, but that can rise sharply as a designer grows into their industry. “In terms of opportunities, I don’t think we’ve ever had a time when the industry has been more economically viable,” says Gadoury.

Joe Rosengarten
editorial@mediaplanet.com