I get this question quite frequently, so I thought it best to address it in its own post. Here is the question.
Any advice for someone with tons of experience as a designer and developer, but stuck in upstate NY with a dearth of telecommute opportunities?
The first thing I would tell you to do is to watch and read everything from Daniel Pink you can get your hands on. If you are like me and you just want the lazy route, atleast watch this video of a talk he gave at TED (embedded below).
I’m a big fan of Daniel and the things he has to say. Basically, he sums up the threat of telecommuting and how innovation and decision making will solve many problems. Anything that can be done by telecommute, WILL be done by that method. If it does not require decision making, it will be done by telecommute. It’s cheaper, easier, and faster. Many of the offshore development houses have an unlimited amount of resources they can throw on the project, so scalability is never an issue.
The key to success in this day and age is in design and decision making. Put yourself in the position to make decisions that directly affect the product’s success. Being a designer that can actually shape the product is the key to accelerating your career path. Make an impact and ensure it’s success.
Development is a great skill, but you only need to know enough to make good design decisions. The ability to work out a specific worker algorithm to accomplish a task is beyond the scope of your needs. If you are talking about web design, then development plays a much higher need. The ability to understand and incorporate web development into your designs will save you, your team, and the development team tons of wasted cycles.
Know enough development to propel your designs to the front of the pack. Concentrate on a specific part of design or interaction and own it. Become it.