I’ll admit that the inspiration for this piece came after reading Mindy Wagner’s article posted on webdesignerdepot.com. Feel free to preface this post by reading that aptly named “In Defense of The Jack of All Trades“ post. As its name suggests, the post speaks about individuals in today’s workplaces who have a foundation of experience in numerous fields (design in this case), but not expertise. I thought it would be appropriate to apply this to the practice of architecture and my own experience as an architect intern.
Broad experience in areas of work related to your own was noted in the post as having the possibility to contribute to one’s success; your deeper understanding of collaborators processes as well as your own makes you more valuable. I can personally attest to this trend. I’ve worked in at least five architecture/planning offices. In each case I was hired with a task in mind, i.e., digitizing hand drawings, digital modeling/rendering, drafting, modeling, and diagramming. At every position I held I found myself with additional responsibilities, i.e., designing websites and logos, troubleshooting hardware and software, and providing consultation for hardware/software purchase.
I’m assuming I’m not an anomaly. If this is true, there is a discrepancy between what potential employee’s skills are evaluated and should be evaluated. Being well versed in other areas of technology and design has great value today; it has made me a valuable asset, despite my typical intern status. However, this value has always been revealed after a considerable length of employment. Perhaps there should be some way for employers to gauge this value during interviews. In all I’ve had, there have been no questions, regarding my competency of contemporary technology trends and possibilities. In fact, It is detrimental to an office to employ individuals disconnected from the evolution and use of free modern resources (e.g. F1, Google, Wikipedia, Forums, etc.) I’d like my full potential to be seen by my future employers. It would be wise to identify such potential in an interviewee; after employment their resourcefulness comes with a residual increase in staff productivity and competence.
I think the days of the *designorant IT guy are soon to be dead. With employees saturated with experience in contemporary design technologies, businesses and firms will be able to speak design to and through their employees to create their web presence. This new generation of employees will be the liaison between BSOD and boss. These new designers will be the syringe that injects technological competence and computational process into the design office (if offices are to still exist). Assuming this is an inevitability I highly suggest that you participate in this pivotal moment in the design industry.
*designorant – \di-‘zig-n(ə-)rənt\ adj. | Incapable of communicating via design language.
contributed by Jody Verser co-founder of deprocess.org
photo credit: ©2008 Polis Poliviou Photography via Flickr