Graphic design programs are getting a big boost as a result of the recent wave of college grads landing jobs.
According to an article published in the latest issue of the journal Information Management, graphic design graduates are now the most popular in the U.S. in terms of the number of positions they hold.
The number of graduates holding a graphic design degree in the United States has increased by roughly 2,500 percent over the past four years, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This is the first time in the 20-year history of the BLS that graphic design has overtaken graphic art.
In the past five years, the number rose from 17,000 to 46,000, and the number with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design grew from 2,000 in 2007 to 9,000 this year.
There’s a clear trend emerging, said Paul O’Donnell, an associate professor at the Department of Computer Science at Indiana University and an expert on graphic design.
This is a time when the demand is rising, the skills are being tapped, and graduates are being hired,” he said.”
That’s what the market is seeing,” O’Connor said.
What’s more, graphic designers are more educated than other graduates in the profession, he said, and are also increasingly looking for work outside of their field.”
This is just one of those opportunities that the business community has to think about,” he added.
While the numbers don’t tell the whole story, O’Connell said there’s an implication in them.
It’s not surprising that more designers have graduated, he noted, as there are a growing number of students studying for computer-based degrees.
However, he acknowledged there are other factors at play that have made graphic design a better fit for those seeking work.”
There’s been a trend toward getting students who are more technically savvy,” O ‘Connor said, adding that this trend has created a need for designers who can communicate well and also are more creative in their work.
It’s no surprise that graphic designers and other creative professionals are finding work in the software and software-as-a-service (SaaS) industries, which are attracting more and more graduates.
For example, Adobe hired more than 400 people last year in its SaaS program.
This trend is particularly evident in digital media, where students have chosen to work in digital and video production and marketing, rather than traditional design work, according for example to an analysis of data by The Wall Street Journal.
More than two-thirds of graphic design graduate jobs are in digital marketing, according the BizNewsDigest.
In the digital space, companies are also moving toward new products and services that require graphic design expertise, like e-commerce platforms, social media management, and content management systems.
O’Connor and O’Halloran said the future of graphic designers is likely to continue to be a matter of increasing their knowledge and experience, as well as getting better at communicating.”
It’s not that we’re all going to be able to design the next thing, but the people who are really able to deliver are going to win,” O-Halloran added.