What Software & Skills Should I Have

I have been a designer for over 15 years. However I have found recently while looking for a job that a lot of companies want so many more programs and skills than any one person could possibly know. I know Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and some Acrobat as well as being familiar with Bridge. So my question is what Software and skills should I invest my time and money in learning.

I have always kept up to date on the things I am familiar with. I am looking to narrow down to the key things I need to get a new job. Below is a list of some of the things I have come across.

  • After Effects
  • Social Media Management
  • Figma
  • HTML5 (I once knew HTML before 5)
  • Video Editing
  • Backend Website
  • Wordpress
  • Canva (really?)
  • Adobe XD
  • UX/UI
  • Maill chimp
  • Google Analytics
  • Dreamweaver
  • Java Script

The list goes on and on. Please help I have been trying to find a job for over a year but no one calls me back and my current company may fold any day.

Alex (Alexandra)

More and more companies are expecting designers to be a jack of all trades. I will also mention that more and more companies also list (sometimes) qualifications that they may desire, but don’t need, or don’t need someone to be an expert in.

Based on your list I’d say that there are postings for more video focused design (after affects, video editing) or web focused design (HTML5, Web coding, WordPress, Google Analytics, Dreamweaver, Java Script) and a little potential mobile/app/wireframe design (Figma, Adobe XD).

Sometimes there will be overlap, but IMO if a listing is more definitely a Video Design sort of a role, and you don’t have that background or knowledge, I would avoid it. Likewise with Web Design. However, if the role or position sounds more likely to be predominantly print design, with some web design or video design “support”, then it may work.

With that being said, if you are looking to expand, expand into something you would be a good fit for. Something you feel you can learn and wrap your head around.

Such as more web design. Obviously web and mobile design aren’t going anywhere. You mentioned knowing early HTML at some point. If so you may be a little more disposed to learning more web design skills and coding. Some people hate fiddling with code. But even some web design positions will be less “code heavy”. It all just depends.

The role I am in now needed more web design, email design and some video editing. I didn’t have much experience at the time in any of those areas, but through some networking and selling my problem solving and ability to learn I was brought on and have been here for 5+ years.

With that being said, focus on a more broad area to learn and IMO you should do what you can to expand your skills and knowledge in the areas that you feel are best suited to you.

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Based on your list I’d be applying for Marketing Executive. You’d be expected to manage design workloads and do some design work, manage kpis, and manage other brands etc.

Companies looking for everything under one title are ones to try and avoid. They likely don’t know what software is required so just list it all so it gets picked up on job searches. And they likely don’t know what the job entails and probably go through staff like a hot knife through butter .

Try get a few online at home courses in Marketing Executive, marketing, design etc and have them on your CV as recently completed courses.

It will put you a shoulder above others in showing interest in doing relevant courses and upskillingzl, along with your experience.

You say you have 15 years experience, only put 3 or 4 last positions on the CV. Don’t put age or anything like old courses completed 15 years ago. Keep course completed and job experience to 5 or 7 years or at a push 10 years.

It’s likely you’re too experienced that’s why they are not calling back.

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When studying to become a physician, all medical students study the basics that every physician must know. After that, they choose a specialty that interests them to study and develop their career expertise.

In this sense, design isn’t that different. If you have the basics mastered, chose your preferred area of expertise, then learn what you need in that area to stand out as an expert. No one can master every field in graphic design.

An across-the-board working familiarity of many things is important, but you should pick one area in which to excel above the competition.

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