In Silicon Valley, designers emerge as rock stars

Riviera Partners’ Principal Dirk Cleveland was recently contacted by Gerry Shih at Reuters for some insight into the growing demand for talented User Interface/User Experience designers. As a specialist in recruiting these specific roles, Dirk spoke of the current difficulties behind ¬†finding that one, special design “unicorn” given the ¬†current state of the candidate market. Big companies like Facebook, Pinterest, Google, Apple, Twitter and Yelp are feeling the talent crunch and are fueling the fire behind the ongoing wars for technical prowess.

(Reuters) – Five years ago, Justin Edmund arrived at Carnegie Mellon University, a floppy-haired freshman, with artistic talent and dreams of joining a venerable design firm like IDEO or Frog. But during his sophomore year, a recruiting pitch from a Facebook employee turned his head, and prompted a detour of his ambitions.

“It didn’t even occur to me that working at a tech company was something I could do,” Edmund said. “I switched my trajectory completely.”

So, in 2010, Edmund interned on Facebook’s burgeoning design team, and, after graduation, landed a job at Pinterest. There, at just 21, he has played a central role in building the virtual scrap-booking site into one of the hottest startups on the Internet.

Edmund isn’t alone. Inspired by the legacy of Steve Jobs and lured by the promise of the current tech boom, young designers are flocking to Silicon Valley, where they’re shaking up a scene long dominated by engineers and programmers.

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