How To Overcome Barriers To Personal Development In The Creative Industries

How To Overcome Barriers To Personal Development In The Creative Industries

Personal and professional development is essential in any career. In the creative industries, as in any job, it makes sense to think about how you're going to progress, grow your skillset and balance your work-life against the things you want to achieve in your personal life. You might be a graphic designer, User Interface designer,  User Experience designer, or digital marketer. Whatever your role, you're likely to face obstacles that can restrict your personal and professional growth. So, what can you do to overcome these barriers? This article aims to help you answer this question by discussing four common barriers to personal development in the digital creative industry and how to overcome them. Let's get started.

Financial concerns 

Many young people working in the creative industries are facing financial challenges. For example, they may have considerable student debt, the economic environment may be unpredictable and the cost of living may continue to rise. Millennials have spending and savings habits that are different from earlier generations. For instance, they're more likely to spend on experiences than material things and more likely to make purchases that support a sustainable lifestyle. Also, their average personal savings are much lower than their baby boomer counterparts, although they seem to be starting to save earlier in life. 

These financial obstacles have led to a more pessimistic perspective on achieving financial freedom and have changed the younger generation's view on how they are going to achieve a secure financial future. These considerations will have a knock-on effect when discussing personal and professional development in the creative industries. For example, it may mean people want to start work earlier instead of pursuing their educational objectives.


Traditional education and other options

As stated above, student loans are a significant burden for young people. Not only can debt negatively affect your financial health and your credit rating, but it also takes a toll on your mental health. Not being able to achieve certain life milestones like buying a home or starting a business can get you down. However, traditional education such as a university degree is not the only way to upskill and grow your prospects. There are lots of other options available -  YouTube videos on every subject under the sun, short professional courses, free courses, and low-cost certification options can provide a real boost to your personal and professional growth. There are increasing opportunities for training and development throughout your working life, not just at the beginning. 

Emotional Intelligence 

As in every industry, emotional intelligence plays a crucial role. You will need to work with people you don't like, make compromises, know which battles to win and which to lose, be a valued team player, have empathy, and be able to communicate effectively. All of this takes emotional intelligence. Some people seem to have a natural emotional intelligence while others will have to work on it. It's important to be self-aware enough to know which category you are in and, if you need help and guidance, not be afraid to ask for it. 

Knowing What Skills to Develop

The digital creative industry changes at a phenomenal rate. This means that the skills required by the industry also change all the time. It's not always easy to know what skills you will need to get into the industry in the first place, or, if you are already working in the sector, what skills will be required for you to move on and progress. It's good to keep tabs on what skills are in demand and have a plan for your continual development. Use LinkedIn and other professional tools to keep track of trends in the industry and talk to people you know who are successful in your sector. People are usually very happy to mentor people joining or starting out in the profession. If there are industry bodies or professional groups to join (and there usually are), consider joining them and taking an active part. It can open doors. Ultimately, knowing what skills to develop and taking the time to master them can be the difference between advancing and not advancing in your career. Also, it's fun to learn new skills!


We've tried to briefly address a few of the challenges that young people meet when considering a career in the creative industries. These challenges may be different to the challenges faced by previous generations but they are not insurmountable and they can be overcome. Also, do take advice on how to choose the right career path for you. A career in the digital creative industries can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. Whether you are aiming to get into the industry or have already started on the path, we wish you a long, happy and successful career.

by Frankie Wallace | 27 Sep 23

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