Pursuing design in an engineering world

Photo by Casey Gomez

Being an Industrial Designer is tough, because no one out there takes you seriously enough. Engineers seem to think you are just an artist, while artists tend to drift towards the perspective that you are just a mediocre artist. Trying to land that dream job? Think again.

In my time at Tech, I have developed and acquired various skill sets and experiences. I have learned that it does not matter what the engineering majors think of you, because at the end of the day you have to suck it up and work together before they realize how much you are actually worth. And the artist’s opinions do not really matter either because you are probably going to end up making more money than them anyway.

The thing that no one can really prepare you for, however, is that after all of the time and effort expended at this school, it is nearly impossible to land your dream job right out of college.

You may start scrolling through pages on LinkedIn or Glassdoor early on, trying to see what options are out there for you. However you will quickly learn that when you search “industrial design jobs,” nothing pops up and you will have to figure it out on your own.

Industrial design is such a cool major, in my opinion, because of how diverse it is. There are essentially limitless options for what we can do with our skills: graphic design, interior design, product design, packaging design, healthcare… the list goes on and on.

Although I choose to look optimistically at the broadness of this field, the realization of the downside does come heavily: when you are trying to search for that entry level position  in your field after you graduate, you have to know what you want to do with your life. Pretty scary, right?

There is only so much a project in a studio course or that internship you happened upon last summer can help you figure out about your passion.

You can wander around the career fair aimlessly, looking for information or a cool company that you think you would like to work for, only to find out that 90% of the people there did not even know your major existed. To be successful in Industrial Design, you have to go the extra mile, more so than many other majors are pressured to do.

Personally, I have made about five different online and print portfolios in my four years here at Tech. I can totally assure you, there is no worse feeling you can experience than when you spend a couple of weeks straight on hundreds of arrangements to present yourself to the world, only to look over your shoulder at your classmate’s far superior collection. It is okay to want to cry.

But you pick yourself up, start over, and try again.

I would like to tell you that I have it all figured out, and that I am satisfied with what I have, but I cannot. I do not know if that will ever be true. But, unfortunately, I think that is what it takes to be in this field; you have to constantly push yourself more than others do or will.

The one thing I can tell you is that there is also no better feeling than when you get that call back or when you land that interview, knowing that someone else looked at your work and thought you were pretty awesome.

So here I am, approaching graduation and I have no idea what I want to pursue as my career. That is okay.

Even though there is this looming pressure to find a job and start a career, I am more focused on coming to terms with what I want to do with my life. Because I know that, being an Industrial Designer, I can change the world.

I may have poked fun at some of the engineers and artists earlier, but in all honesty, we are all in this together. We depend on each other, and we also have to push ourselves individually to get to where we want to go.

So look out, world. We are coming at you with full force, and I know it may not seem like it now, but I will be ready for it.