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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

4 Reasons You Should Enter a New or Emerging Occupation—Such as Infographic Designer

02 Sep 2012 6:07 PM | Anonymous

By Sharon Wiatt Jones

If you are confident, imaginative, multi-talented, adaptable, and want to make an impact, consider an adventurous step into a little-known and rapidly evolving occupation. To introduce my first-time blog readers to new and emerging occupations, I’ll use the lens of one job—infographic designer. 

JPL Infographics, which supports NASA, announces that it is inviting space aficionados and graphic wizards to take on a visual challenge by grabbing NASA data and transforming them into a scientific work of art.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, new occupations are not included in a current occupational classification. Emerging occupations are recognized by the government—in small numbers—and show a pattern of growth. Typical signs of an emerging occupation: practitioners start a new professional association; colleges begin to offer continuing education programs or elective courses; and national publications write articles about the phenomenon.  


The perfect applicant is so rare and difficult to identify that employers are flexible about job requirements. Related academic degree or training programs are not available. They tend to be interdisciplinary and few people have the necessary combination of skills. Low public awareness narrows the applicant pool, even among those with the right skills. Professional associations and industry groups have not yet been organized, so employers and job seekers cannot find each other easily through job postings or networking.


If you have an unusual mix of skills—analytical, graphic design, quantitative—you may want to consider a career as an infographic designer. Depending on industry and area of specialization, similar titles include visual artist, business/infographic analyst, graphic journalist and information engineer. Small organizations tend to be early adopters of trends, often providing a niche service or emerging technology before it becomes common.  Infographic designers are recruited in a wide range of industries, such as communications (news media, marketing, advertising), financial, law, consulting, federal government, and engineering. Those in occupations with skills similar to infographic designers often come from the fields of journalism, advertising, public relations, marketing, graphic design, web technology, and data analysis.


The Washington Post seeks a news designer to “create advanced storytelling” in a studio-like digital design team. The Boston Globe advertises for a graphics journalist. Vanguard, an investment management company, recruits a data visualization-information graphics designer who “applies logic and research to design decisions.” Insurance broker Aon needs a business/infographic analyst. Infographics, Inc., which provides litigation support graphics, lists an opening for “a designer who finds everything interesting – from technology to science to finance – and smart enough to learn on every project.” Deloitte Consulting currently looks for a senior infographic designer, and Booz Allen an interactive media software developer.


Artistic/Design: Graphic design, usability/interface design, web design, illustration, animation, photojournalism. Computer: Adobe Creative Suite (especially Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks; literacy in Macintosh and PC platforms. Often preferred: Visio, HTML5, XML, JQuery, JavaScript, CSS; QuarkXPress. Pluses for some jobs: GIS, motion graphics, 3D graphics, and presentation software. Communication: Journalism, technical writing, editing, business writing; familiarity with online social media. Analytical: Business intelligence, marketing research, search engine optimization (SEO), quantitative skills. Education: BA/BFA in art, graphic design, graphic communications, journalism. Consulting, financial, and engineering firms: a bachelor’s or advanced degree often preferred in business, finance, economics, statistics, science, technology or human-computer interaction. Entrants to a new or emerging occupation have several advantages.  On the other hand, the process may not easy.  Only those in a closely related field are likely to learn about these jobs. Applicants typically find it difficult to develop marketable skills, limited to self-study (e.g. online tutorials, videos, and publications). Employees in a job requiring similar skills may have access to on-the-job training. Full-time, regular job opportunities are often in short supply until the occupation is more established.

Are you confident, multi-talented, and adaptable enough to consider joining a new or emerging occupation? See previous and future blog entries for ideas. Here are some resources to learn more about infographic design. Websites:; http://www.styleandflow.com  Associations:  Society for News Design; American Institute of Graphic Arts (

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