Career Tips Fri, 16 Feb 18 by "Gus Jansen"

Digital Jobs – Digital Outlook for 2018

The Australian Digital Jobs Market is fast-paced and exciting, as digital transformation projects are continuing to kick off more than ever across more industry sectors. As a result, designing with a user experience in mind will become an even bigger priority than in previous years and good candidates with experience and skill sets in this space will continue to be in high demand while supply is still relatively low.

High Demand Jobs in the Digital Space 

  1. Junior to Mid-level Content Managers and Producers (preferably with SEO experience)
  2. Front-end Developers, especially with React.JS.
  3. Senior UX Designers
  4. UX & UI Hybrid Designers
  5. Service Designers
  6. Visual Designers

Junior to Mid-level Content Managers and Producers preferably with SEO experience

Where SEO and SEM’s primary focus is on driving traffic to a site, once the site is found you need high-quality and accessible content to continuously engage the user. Enter the Content Managers and Content Producers. Businesses mostly look for those Content Managers/Producers with a good understanding of SEO and SEM and this is true across most industries including government. A Junior Content Producer (1-3 years exp) can expect pay in the $65-85K per annum range.

Also, the hybrid role of content and digital producer with basic front-end developer skills and experience is steadily growing in demand. Employers are seeking talent with basic to intermediate HTML and CSS so they don’t have to utilise the developer for day-day site tweaks. Knowledge of accessibility standards and CMS platforms like Drupal, AEM and Squiz Matrix are highly regarded also. Hybrid Content and Digital Producers like this can expect a salary in the $70K to $95K per annum range.

Front-End Developers with React.js

Front End Developers that have experience working with UI (User Interface) designers are also in high demand. As they can really speed up the delivery process by bridging the gap between design and development and offer insights on relevant functionalities. From a frameworks perspective – it’s React.JS and Angular4. Those candidates with React.JS experience have increased in popularity and developers can command $700 a day depending on their experience, as they have multiple offers on the table at any time. This is true of the major telcos, finance and government.

Hybrid UX & UI designers

The market is showing an increasing demand for UI/UX hybrid designers skilled in the whole design process from UX research to delivering the full design to front-end development.

Reasons for this are threefold:

  • Budget/headcount for only one designer
  • Spanning various skill gaps for different projects with just one designer
  • Speed to market and more fluent communication with front-end developers

The result is a hunt for the unicorn designer who is a jack of all trades with naturally rising pay scales. While it might seem beneficial for organisations to simply hire a UI/UX hybrid, there are a few important connotations and pitfalls to consider.

Being a fully-fledged UI/UX designer requires you to be a jack of all trades in a very complex field that is continuously developing and specialising. As an analogy, we can’t expect a General Practitioner to perform both a complex psychiatric diagnosis as well as open-heart surgery. What you gain in a broader skill set, you trade for depth of knowledge and experience. Hence it requires years of experience in both the UX and the UI field before someone can genuinely carry the title of a hybrid designer.

The Future of UX

The field of UX is ever evolving, maturing and specialising. Hence, staying up to date is essential. Clients are becoming more specific in their demands and UX designers are following their own interests and strengths. With the field diversifying in 2018, the broad “UX designer” title starts to dissolve as we see designers focusing on new paths and specialisations.

Senior UX Designers are broadening their scope and see their responsibilities increase beyond digital in other related fields. Senior UX Designers will focus more on the overall experience, product strategy and business within related fields such as:

  • Human Centered Design
  • Service Design, to change management to digital transformation specialist
  • Product Design, aligning business requirements with user needs
  • Customer Experience
  • Innovation manager
  • Technical Business Analyst
  • UI Front End Developer
  • New technologies like VR, AR and AI

Being on the cross point between user needs, business demands and company resources, Senior UX Designers are in the ideal position to transition into Product Designer. Another path is into Service Design, taking a more holistic approach of the service a company offers within and beyond the digital domain.

The main question to focus on for organisations will be about “what kind of design problems I need fixed and at what level?”. For designers, it will be key to demonstrate skills, not just by showing the results and solutions, but more importantly how you arrived there.