Forget Coding: Writing Is Design’s “Unicorn Skill”


In a new report, John Maeda explains why writing is a must-have skill for designers.

These days many designers can code—an increasingly important skill for landing a job. But few are just as fluent in their own language as they are in Javascript. That presents a serious problem in terms of design. Users still depend on copy to interact with apps and other products. If designers don’t know how to write well, the final product—be it a physical or digital one—can suffer as a result.

In his “2017 Design in Tech Report,” John Maeda writes that “code is not the only unicorn skill.” According to Maeda, who is the head of computational design and inclusion at Automattic and former VP of design at VC firm Kleiner Perkins, words can be just as powerful as the graphics in which designers normally traffic. “A lot of times designers don’t know that words are important,” he said while presenting the report at SXSW this weekend. “I know a few designers like that—do you know these designers out there? You do know them, right?”

By pointing to writing as the next most important skill for designers, the report suggests a corrective to an overreliance on the interface—to the extent that writing itself has been left behind as a design skill. “A core skill of the interaction designer is imagining users (characters), motivations, actions, reactions, obstacles, successes, and a complete set of ‘what if’ scenarios,” writes designer Susan Stuart, in a blog post highlighted in the report. “These are the skills of a writer — all kinds of writers, but particularly fiction, screenwriting, and technical writing.”

Learning how to write isn’t just an important skill for the future: It’s applicable right now. Trends in digital design emphasize clean lines and few words—giving language itself more weight. “Art direction and copywriting are as fundamental to the user experience as the UI,” as Paul Woods, COO of the digital design firm Edenspiekermann,wrote here on Co.Design. “Sure, you can have a beautiful UI/frame, but once you have that (we all know a great UI is an invisible UI), all the viewer cares about is what’s inside: the artwork, the story.”

Continue on FastCompany to read the complete article.

5 Tips for Controlling Your Emotions in the Office


You may not know how to control your emotions in the office when you are stressed. Emotions in this context refers to extreme emotional responses such as excessive expression of anger. So, how to control your emotions effectively?

1. Make a decision that control is possible
All behavioral changes start from one thing—the decision, acceptance and commitment in your mind that you want to make that change. In this case, self-control is possible albeit a long and gradual process. Only you can make the decision on how to control your emotions. Remember that you hold the key to your own success as your behavior can threaten your career success. The idea is that you want to avoid extreme emotional responses; for example, in the case of anger—rage and hate.

2.  Identify the emotions you need to control
Chances are you already know which emotions you need to control. The first step is to identify which emotion. Based on personal experience and observation in the office, these are the few I can identify—anger, anxiety, fear, and enthusiasm. You may say, “Wait a minute, isn’t enthusiasm a good emotion? Why should we control it?” Well, remember that we are talking about excessive expression of that emotion. Ever met a colleague who shows too much enthusiasm on a particular project that it just gets in the way of other team members?

3. Get rid of the stupid excuses
We often hear colleagues acknowledging that they have a certain problem but that there is no point in changing their behavior. These people like to admit their mistakes expecting you to excuse them but at the same time you are to accept that they won’t make an effort to change. It is crucial to get rid of the stupid excuses that make you think you don’t have to control your emotions. In this case again, we are referring to excessive expression of emotions in the office. If you truly want to know how to
control your emotions, then take a step to get rid of these commonly used excuses: “I am being true to myself, why should I change?” “I am young—I can afford to be foolish.” “Well, if they are good colleagues/friends, they just have to accept me for who I am.”

4. Positive change should and can happen
When I hear these excuses, it always makes me wonder if these people know who their true self is? Is the ‘true self’ static? Aren’t our beliefs, attitudes and actions constantly changing? If that is so, then why can’t one choose to change for the better? Remember this, if you want to know how to control your emotions, positive change should happen. Self-improvement has nothing to do with ‘true self’; age, young or old; or friends and colleagues accepting who you are. Self-growth has everything to do with you and not others. Positive change should and can happen once you think about the career success it can bring.

5. Understand the hot buttons
What are the situations that push these emotions? Is it stress or lack of time management skills? Is it the tone and manner that someone used to communicate to you? For example, there must be something that caused the excessive expression of anxiety. Does it happen before a major presentation? Once you understand these then you can begin to address them. A majority of the time you will find that there are things that you can do, and once you start addressing even a simple plan, you will see the emotion subside. The tendency to over express that emotion is thus minimized.


The Best Places for Pay in STEM Jobs – 2017 Edition


Employment growth among jobs in the STEM field varies widely. According to the Department for Professional Employees, the number of job opportunities for aerospace engineers increased by 53% between 2005 and 2015. Within the same period, the number of jobs for biologists and computer programmers fell by 28% and 17.4%, respectively. Pay within the STEM field also varies by occupation as well as location. For the third year in a row, SmartAsset ranked the top metro areas for pay among STEM professionals.

Key Findings

  • STEM pay is still highest on the West Coast. For the second year in a row, STEM workers in the San Jose metro area have the highest annual salaries within the industry. STEM pay also remains high in the San Francisco and Oakland metro areas.
  • It pays to be a physicist. In seven of the top 10 places for pay in STEM, physicists have some of the highest median salaries among STEM workers. Computer network architects also earn a nice chunk of change in most of the places that ranked at the top of our list.
  • The larger the STEM workforce, the higher the pay. In every metro area where STEM workers make up more than 12% of the workforce, the average pay is higher than $80,000.

Continue onto Smartasset to see the breakdown of which STEM jobs are hot in each city!

10 Reasons to Consider a Career in the STEM Fields


Thinking about going for a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics? Now is the perfect time. STEM is a quickly growing and high paying area that is a great direction for new or graduating students to take. But is it really right for you? Check out these 10 reasons why you should consider making STEM your future career.

1). Cross-Marketability of Skills
It’s not like if you’re a biologist than you can suddenly go into theoretical physics, but the basic skills you learn are useful in many different professions. By studying to follow a field in science or technology you’ll be learning math, research methods, problem solving, and how to fill out mountains of paperwork. Many different jobs across all fields need that, which means you’re already qualified. If you decide to change jobs or have trouble finding one right away, you won’t be left out in the cold.

2). High Pay
Going into STEM isn’t just a great way to get a job. It’s also a way to get a high paying job. Studies have shown that 63 percent of people with a degree in STEM-related work get paid more than someone with a bachelor’s degree in anything else. More than that, 47 percent of people with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field make more than people with a Ph.D. in other areas. Basically, you’ll be more likely to make lots of money than someone who majors in another field of study.

3). Job Availability
With this economy, you might be worried about how you’re going to get a job. Are there really that many jobs available to you? The short answer is yes. There are STEM jobs in numerous different fields ranging from research assistant to physics educator. More jobs are added all the time, so you’re never going to find a scarcity of positions for someone with your qualifications.

4). Less Competition
Even though there are plenty of jobs, there are still probably hundreds of people clamoring to get at them, right? Wrong. Every year 3.2 million jobs in the STEM fields go unfilled, mostly because there is no one qualified to fill them. By educating yourself and preparing to go into one of those jobs, you’ll be a head above the rest who don’t have what it takes to qualify.

5). Less of a Gender Gap
Ok, so maybe you’re a woman and are worried about that huge pay gap determined by gender. This is yet another way STEM can help with your life. Studies have shown that there is a much smaller salary gap between men and women in the STEM fields. It’s also got plenty of racial and gender diversity, so if you’re looking for equality in the workplace then look no further.

6). Basic Skills Won’t Get Obsolete
It’s true that technology is ever progressing, but the basics stay the same. The world will still need math and still need research. Because you have a basic knowledge of the scientific method, computers, essays or report writing and much more, you’ll be valuable no matter how things innovate. You’ll be more ready to adapt to the changes than people who have no experience in the field at all.

7). Innovation
All that innovation doesn’t just help you get a nice paycheck. It also helps others. You have the chance to work on the cutting edge of fields like medicine, computer technology, robotics, and more. If you have a humanitarian streak, what better way to show it than by gifting the world with your ability to innovate?

8). Better Classes
Right now the government is making a big push to get classes funded and available for STEM students. There are more varied classes in different areas and the funding in most states is better for STEM related classes. Given that half of high school students say they’re not going to go into STEM majors, you may also find that your classes are smaller, which gives you better access to professors and resources.

9). Everyday Critical Thinking
Being a problem solver in the classroom and at work can lead to you being a problem solver in life as well. Being trained in a STEM field can assist you in your everyday world and can even save you money. If you have a better grasp of computer engineering, maybe you won’t have to take your computer to the IT guys so often. If you’re a math wiz, doing your taxes might not be as big a bother. Besides, who else do your friends know that can make a potato cannon out of office supplies or a fighting robot from car parts?

10). Love
There is no better reason to go into a field than this. For some people, science, math, and technology are not just jobs. They’re a passion. If your career is something you enjoy doing, you’ll lead a happier and more productive life. You’ll be one of the few who doesn’t dread going to work every day and is able to brag about your job. Even if your grades weren’t the best, even if your pay isn’t as high as you’d like, pursuing what you love is a reward all its own.


How Tech Can Help You Build Your Career in 2017


Getting hired in a competitive field requires competitive measures. To stand out to employers, get creative with your entire online persona – within limits.

Adaptable, precise, responsive, and reliable. They describe the ultimate employee and the ultimate machine. Maybe that’s because we’re becoming one with our tech. This year, make it your New Year’s resolution to make yourself stand out by putting smart tech tools to work like no one ever has, making it impossible for the higher-ups in your industry to ignore you.

Here’s how to gain a distinct advantage in the workforce by demonstrating your proficiency with technology.

Design a creative resume.

In today’s tight labor market, a carefully crafted resume can turn a job search into a salaried position. The good news is you don’t need a degree in graphic design to create an aesthetically pleasing curriculum vitae. These days, there are plenty of online tools with slick interfaces that let you instantly create a clean and compelling resume.

Apps like Winning Resume, Pocket Resume, or Resume Star allow you to select a template and just fill in the personal information that showcases your expertise and personality. But not all digital resume builders are created equal. Look for tools that support mobile-friendly formats and allow you to easily update your information. Resume Maker On-the-Go, for example, makes it easy for users to share their resumes and search for jobs from their mobile device.

Power up your LinkedIn profile.

With over 380 million members worldwide and available in more than 24 languages and 200 countries, LinkedIn is every worker’s passport to career advancement. But there’s an art to designing a LinkedIn profile that will attract eyeballs – or better yet, a promotion. So pull up your profile and put these best practices into place:

  • According to LinkedIn, adding a profile photo makes your profile 7x more likely to be found in searches. Consider spending a little extra money on a professional headshot for greater impact.
  • Create a catchy, keyword-rich headline to grab a visitor’s attention.
  • Build a robust profile with plenty of detail, including your tech skills, education, and industry accolades. And focus in on accomplishments, mentioning not just promotions or certifications, but also quantifiable achievements that show potential employers the measurable value you might be able to add to their organization.
  • Join as many groups as you can. Awaiting you are fascinating discussions, excellent contacts, and even potential mentors.
  • Take advantage of LinkedIn’s recommendations feature. Meaningful testimonials can carry far more weight than a certificate or degree, believe it or not.
  • Update your profile regularly so that it reflects your current professional goals and expectations.

Build a thought-provoking blog.

Blogs aren’t just for gossip mavens and political pundits. Rather, they’re digital calling cards – a platform for sharing information on everything from gluten-free recipes to robotics. But for those looking to boost their professional profile, a well-written blog can drive traffic to your LinkedIn profile or business website, establish you as an industry expert, and connect you to like-minded professionals. It can also set you apart from other candidates by demonstrating some of the skills, knowledge, and passion that won’t fit in a cover letter.

The best part: It’s possible to build a blog in less than 30 minutes on any smartphone, laptop, tablet, or desktop. For instance, open up your HP Envy x360 2-in-1, install an easy-to-use platform such as WordPress, set up web hosting, personalize your design, and begin publishing. Just remember: a blog is a digital representation of you and your views. Make sure what you’re sharing with the masses is a career boost, not blunder!

Design an online portfolio.

For the more creative types, a meticulously curated portfolio is a professional must-have. But forget about purchasing a leather-bound carrying case. These days, artists, designers, and writers are turning to online programs such Portfoliobox, Crevado, Wix, and Squarespace for templates that they can convert into online galleries and shareable e-books. No coding skills necessary. Rather, a high-performance laptop like the Dell Inspiron 15 is all it takes to log on and begin advertising your artistic prowess.

If you possess the skills and inclination, you can go even further and gamify your resume, or post a video resume on your site (or on a privately shared link). Some employers may not accept it or take the time to view it, but if they do, it could put you ahead of the pack. Just make sure it gives an impression of professionalism!

Continue onto PC World to read the complete article.

6 Black Kids Who Are Already Business Moguls — And Inspiring Others in the Process


It’s never too early to start your own business.

Need proof? Look no further. These kids are more than black business owners raking in serious cash: They’re using the opportunity to give back to their communities and inspire other children with parallel ambition and business savvy.

Here are 6 black youth entrepreneurs worth celebrating.

1. Cory Nieves: Founder of Mr. Cory’s Cookies

The business: Corey began selling hot chocolate outside his home and at a restaurant in his hometown of Englewood, New Jersey, when he was just 9 years old to help his mom buy a car. He has since expanded to selling cookies and lemonade, leading him to start Mr. Cory’s Cookies, which sells all natural cookies.

Press mentions: Cory was featured on Ellen and hopes to expand his empire, foraying into the fashion world.

2. Mikaila Ulmer: Founder of BeeSweet Lemonade

The business: Selling lemonade became a multi-million dollar venture for Mikaila, who is 11 years old. She inked an $11 million deal with Whole Foods for her BeeSweet lemonade, which is based off her grandmother’s recipe and doesn’t use sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Press mentions: Before the Whole Foods deal, Mikaila got $60,000 on Shark Tank to fund her venture — which is probably considerably more than you ever got for your lemonade stand.

See the other young entrepreneurs making a difference on MIC.

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