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Best Places For Designers To Learn Business Skills

From the 2017 Design In Tech Report, everything you need to know about where designers learn to go digital.

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BY Tracy Leigh Hazzard - 03 Aug 2017

Designers learn business via digital means.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Design celebrity, John Maeda; former RISD President, Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion at Automattic, has just released the 2017 Design In Tech report and I've already shared with you a bold outline of the clear role design plays in business, along with the relationship between design and money.

Now, I want to talk about where designers are learning their digital business skills these days because:

1. There might be options available out there you might not be aware of that could benefit you, and;

2. I want you to succeed and I know your chances are higher by taking advantage of the resources available to you.

I wasn't exaggerating when I told you this year's Design In Tech Report was packed full of great information. Some of the most interesting stats I read were the ones breaking down the truth about where designers are learning their digital business skills because I had some assumptions about this, and they were way off. Let's put this in perspective:

86% of design students surveyed say they learned their digital skills from resources outside their coursework.

And it isn't only coding or design-based knowledge students are seeking, which I am thrilled to hear, because the more well-rounded you are, in terms of business and communication skills, the more successful you will be.

"The top 3 skills needed by designers in practice are not available to them as basic coursework in education as a designer." -Rochelle King, Designing with Data

A Gap Exists

What these kinds of statistic tells us is that students are finding new places to learn business skills because they have no other choice. 86% of students are going outside of their school because they have to if they want in-depth knowledge of communication, leadership, psychology, marketing, research, analytics, and finance. Why would they want in-depth knowledge in these areas? A lot of their jobs will require it. It's not even a matter of want, it's a matter of need.

Where Does the Learning Happen Now?

Can we all just take a moment to give thanks for the internet? For every video it's ever given us of people mimicking Salt Bae, it is also providing a platform, at different price points, for design students everywhere to expand their knowledge and skills.

Online Learning Platform Highlights:

Lynda.com: Brought to you by LinkedIn, is an online learning platform encouraging you to "learn a new skill online, on your time."

Price Point: Inexpensive

Wizeline Academy: A learning platform with courses in Technical Writing, UX, and Intro to Data Science, offers different levels of learning through crash courses or multi-week intensives.

Price Point: Free

SCAD: The University for Creative Careers, offers diverse degrees in Business Design and Arts Leadership, Branded Entertainment, Furniture Design, and so many more.

Price Point: Tuition

Offline learning opportunities exist with many organizations like CEO Space International, one of the few places you can learn Capital Raising skills and be able to get lifetime learning and mentorship privileges.

Designers, Welcome

As a student of design myself, I have plenty of reason to continue filling this column with a focus on these topics specifically, because the need was there when I was a bright-eyed student at RISD, and the need is there now. Reports like this one, from John, help us to identify and put words to these gaps, so that we can learn to fill them, to become more well-rounded, and to understand where we have been so we can see where we would like to go.