Design students can find jobs anywhere: Arun Bhardwaj, Associate Dean, School of Design, Pearl Academy

Arun Bhardwaj

A difference between craft and design is that a craftsperson will make a finished, functional product, but a designer will ‘think’ that product and its long-term impact. “The world today, during the Fourth Industrial Revolution, needs more such people, who can think differently, who can ideate,” says Arun Bhardwaj, associate dean, School of Design, Pearl Academy. In an interview with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary, he adds that, over the next few years, there could be more design jobs than the number of design students getting produced. Excerpts:

In which all areas can design students find jobs?

A design course teaches you how to be innovative and understand user requirements, it teaches you how to translate those end-user requirements into something that is workable, and that end-solution is derived from a lot of research. In other words, whatever you learn in a design course can be applied almost in any field.
We have seen our product design students working in the area of user experience at companies like Accenture. In fact, the maximum placement (of our students) happens at IT companies.

Has the pandemic changed the design curriculum?

Not necessarily the content, but the way that content is delivered has been changed. Hybrid delivery of curriculum is the future. The faculty learnt a lot of things during the pandemic, such as how to effectively teach skill-based subjects (like sketching) via online mode.

How is the Fourth Industrial Revolution changing design thinking?

The value of design graduates will immensely increase as the Fourth Industrial Revolution takes root. The most basic form of thinking can be done by machines, but for complex, out-of-the-box thinking, you need humans. Design graduates are trained to think out of the box.

Can you share any example?

Let’s talk about plastic. When science created plastic, it provided a short-term solution to a problem. But in the long term plastic has ended up threatening the entire planet. Science, on its own, wasn’t able to look at the problem in its entirety; a designer will possibly have an all-encompassing approach to any problem and the solution will be arrived at by thinking of the repercussions and benefits from cradle-to-grave and beyond it.

Is your intake mostly students who have a creative bent of mind?

The traditional thinking is that only. But anybody who is good at art may not necessarily turn out to be a good designer, and anybody who is good at mathematics could turn into a great designer. We get students from all backgrounds, and the designers we create are not only good at craft, but also good in analytical skills. We have the School of Creative Practice that instils self-discovery and creative confidence in learners. All students have to put in first year at this school, and then they can choose which stream they want to excel in.

How do you foresee design jobs growing?

Over the last decade or so there has been a lot of focus on design. MNCs operating in India have realised that if they want to survive in India they have to design for India, and so they are hiring local talent that understands local sensibilities. Earlier, some bigger companies would dictate the design from abroad but now they are creating design centres in India.

It is predicted that over the next few years there could be more design jobs than the number of design students getting produced.

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