Upgrade your design skills in 2017

Elevate your career: find out what new strings you should be adding to your bow this year, and how.

The dawning of a new year is a good time to evaluate how your career is going and how you can bring it to the next level.

Part of that is about committing yourself in your day job and stretching yourself creatively, and another part is about keeping tabs on networking opportunities, both offline and online.

But as well as your contacts list, it's important to build your knowledge base. There are always new tools and techniques to learn, and upskilling can help you skip to the front of the opportunities queue.

Illustration: Flavio Montiel

So what should you learn, and how? There's no easy answer. The skillsets of senior designers vary enormously, and almost everyone has knowledge gaps in some areas.

What you choose to learn is therefore largely a matter of choice, but we can give you some useful tips to help you choose your own strategy.

Whether you're a freelancer aiming to secure better commissions or a jobbing designer looking for a promotion, mastering one or more of the skill sets below will help take your design career to the next level.

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Business skills
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Coding skills
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Prototyping and UX skills
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Read on to make 2017 the year you take charge of your design destiny...


Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world's best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he's worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.