• Design education may not define salary outcomes.
  • In-person certification correlates to 20% higher pay than having no design education.
  • Those without design degrees earn 23.6% more than average despite slightly less design experience.
  • Most non-traditional designers lack design education but are highly educated and gain experience elsewhere as career switchers.
  • Larger companies/industries are more accommodating of non-traditional hires.
  • Experience matters more than design educational background in influencing compensation levels.
  • Regardless of being design-focused, tertiary education remains a factor in pushing for higher pay. Data hints at the benefit of switching to a design role with a non-design major.
The following data are based on Singapore respondents and the Singapore dollar.

Design education type

ℹ️ Respondent may have 1 or more design education types.

No formal education

ℹ️ Data exclude having formal design education.

Formal design education vs without

ℹ️ Data specifically compares having only formal design education against no formal design education, which excludes certification, bootcamps, etc.
Design education may not necessarily influence salary.
There is no clear evidence one path definitively influences compensation over others.
For those without formal education, in-person certification brings the highest pay, 20% more than having no design education.
Bootcamp graduates trends are at the lower end of the median pay, but note that they are also the youngest group.
Interestingly, those with no design education seem to be doing 23.6% better than people who are formally design trained when it comes to salary despite having slightly less design experience.

No design education

We dive deeper into the data of designers without any form of design education to find out if other factors may be at play.


Younger but are not without other work experience.
Overall, the group trends at a younger crowd with a 65.9% majority.
Aside from the youngest age group, most designers have work experience outside of design. This suggests that most of them are career switchers.

Company profile

There are more non-design-trained designers in larger companies like Large enterprises and Startups.
The trends seems to be favouring certain industries like Consumer Products as a destination for people without formal design education.
This seems to signal that certain types of companies and industry may be more open to hiring switchers.
Design education may not be a strong influencing factor to employment in these organisations.

Levels of seniority

Doing better than design educated, but with more experience.
85% of designers without design education are individual contributors.
They are mostly better paid when compared to the general trend of Singapore designer’s median pay. However, this larger comes down to having more total work experience.

Highest formal education

ℹ️ Data for those without formal design education.
ℹ️ Data from all respondents in Singapore.
We are a highly educated workforce, with or without a design major.
Almost all non-traditional designers (90.2%) are highly educated with non-design tertiary education.
Having non-design tertiary education may be beneficial, as BA and MA graduates draw between 23% - 53.9% higher than the overall trend.

Other factors

Non-local company offers a significantly better median salary.
Having no design education may influence negotiation, as designers who did not negotiate do 10.7% better than those who did despite having less experience.
Non-local companies remain a significant factor in higher TCs, with global companies paying almost double (91.5% more) for designers with similar experience.
Similarly, international experience links to the most considerable pay premium at 99.1% more versus locals. Those with overseas stints also have higher experience averages.
Remote roles follow the broader trend of being better compensated.


Based on the findings, the strongest factor that are influencing better pay for designers without formal design education are:
  • They tend to be older yet highly educated career-switchers, bringing wider non-design work experience valued by employers. This may compensates for lack of design-specific education.
  • Larger companies and certain industries are more accommodating of hiring non-traditionally trained designers.
  • Designers in Singapore are highly educated, and the data hints at the benefit of switchers and holding non-design tertiary education.
It is fair to conclude that experience matters more than design education background in the design industry. However, tertiary education remains a factor in influencing higher pay.


If you find this report useful, please help us spread the word and share it!
Outside of this report, we also maintain a growing database of pay information that is accessible by anyone. Help us continue to make an impact with the community today by sharing your pay, especially if you are in the South East Asian region.