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Is a design degree necessary in Singapore’s marketplace today

Is a design degree necessary in Singapore’s marketplace today


Contrary to what many designers and aspiring designers believe, some form of higher learning qualification is very important in today’s job market. Employers are looking for designers with good qualifications so the better the qualifications you have the more chance you have of landing your dream job.


To a potential employer a degree is far more than just a paper qualification; it is a testament to the candidate’s character, to their intellectual strength, maturity, resilience and commitment. Employers understand that attaining a degree is about more than just the mastering of the study subject; it also demands commitment, concentration, determination and a good dose of character: these are the traits they look for in employees.


Employers know that graduates with a bachelor’s degree typically demonstrate a strong intellectual bandwidth and have a more in-depth design portfolio. The fact that a graduate opted for a degree course demonstrates their passion and commitment to design as well as ensuring core competencies and in-depth experience of diverse aspects of design.


That is why a degree is considered so much more valuable than a diploma and typically earns its holder higher positions and better remuneration. A bachelor’s degree also opens more doors for further development of one’s career such as teaching, management and entrepreneurship opportunities.


These days design is like any other competitive, professional field; the top firms scoop up the cream of each year’s tertiary school graduates. Every year another 3000 design diploma graduates enter the job market but fewer than 300 hundred students graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in design. And that gives the degree holders a big advantage over those with just a diploma. In many cases an applicant without a degree qualification might not even get shortlisted for an interview.


In today’s competitive market, a degree from a recognized university has become the standard yardstick for candidate selection for many companies. The degree advantage persists long after graduates have landed their first jobs because the degree holders will also find it easier to win promotions or move on to better positions in other companies later in their careers.


The depth and breadth of degree programmes offer a clear advantage over shorter diploma courses. They give students the time and opportunity to develop skill sets that go beyond basic design such as written and verbal communication skills, empathetic sensitivities, adaptability, and a pro-active approach to problem solving. The habits of research, critical thinking, analysis, and reasoned argument required to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in design translate well to the commercial design context. This gives graduates an advantage in terms of individual design credibility.


Employers and colleagues are also more inclined to buy-into their design ideas because of the research and analysis that has gone into them; which is another reason why degree holders overcome work challenges adversity more easily and achieve career goals much earlier than their diploma holding counterparts.


So if you are serious about a career in design get serious about your qualifications and get a degree from a recognized and respected university.



The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect this publication’s view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.


Click here to read the actual article from Singapore Business Review.


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