Hiring IT in STL:

“A designer that can code? That’s the best candidate on the planet.”

Elizabeth Ledbetter is Branch Manager at The Creative Group in St. Louis, a Robert Half Company. The Creative Group specializes in connecting interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations talent with the best companies. Ledbetter has been hiring designers for eight years this summer. Robert Half has been doing it since 1948, and in the St. Louis market for 18 years. I asked her to describe how the market needs and technical abilities of designers has changed over the last several years:

Technical abilities for designers have become more and more important over the years. Design is all encompassing–it’s not just print design. When clients are looking for designers, they are assuming they can do both digital and traditional print design. Having exposure to how to design for the web is what clients are expecting now when they are putting together a campaign–all media.

In terms of technical knowledge, there are limitations. Designers don’t have to be the person that makes everything function, but even basic to intermediate jQuery and basic HTML will make a traditional designer that much more valuable.

There are still opportunities for those that don’t have technical skills–it’s not a requirement for everyone–but when people talk about marketing they aren’t being as general as they used to be. It is ALL design, ALL marketing,–they are not siloed like it was when digital was new. We get requests for a designer who will be doing print packaging as well as email design, so they will utilize all aspects of their skills. For those that don’t have exposure to the technical it can be limiting. They at least need to want to try.

Generally, The Creative Group provides opportunities and qualified professionals to all aspects of creative. What we’re seeing is that the two core business areas of traditional marketing (advertising roles, copywriters, account execs) and digital (front end designers, user experience, user interface art directors, social media, motion graphics and video) continue to bleed together. I do think there is more and more of a demand for the digital roles –UX and UI positions didn’t exist a couple of years ago. It’s continuing to evolve. Visual Designer/Interaction Designer opportunities have come up a lot in the last couple of years, not just web designers, (which is too limiting). We evolve as the industry evolves and as technology evolves. There will always will be demand for talented designers. A designer that can code? That is the best candidate on the planet. If you can truly hand-code CSS, and JavaScript on your own–you can dream up something amazing and know if it can be created. It’s two different sides of the brain which is highly unusual.

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