In this session, we're going to look at possible career path for those of you who are interested in pursuing instructional design as your professional engagement. Let's begin with who are instructional designers and what do instructional designers do. So, we have a framework of thinking for the discussion of career opportunity. So, instructional designers are individuals who are trained to understand learning theories and being able to apply them in order to solve learning and performance issues. Instructional designers are people who are effective communicators and creative designers, detail-oriented, creators as well. Instructional designers are individuals who understand and appreciate the importance of learning. In particular, the learning that needs to be designed. In terms of instructional designers' daily responsibilities, instructional designers design and develop instructional solutions for their organizations and their clients. Instructional designer communicate their design capabilities in order to meet the needs of their clients. Instructional designers will design blueprints providing systematic approach to understand the effectiveness of the designed learning solutions. Instructional designers will apply design thinking in order to facilitate change, mostly in organizational level. So, this is the beginning part of the discussion in terms of potential career opportunities for instructional designers. So, specifically, we're going to go through possible career path and career phase as instructional designers, generally speaking, in organizations. Second, we're going to touch on essential instructional design career competencies. Meaning they're major skill sets, major abilities successful instructional designers should prepare themselves for in a workplace setting. Third, we're going to introduce you to some professional networks that can help you understand the profession better and also being able to connect with your peers in the instructional design profession. Then we're going to introduce to you a short list of the resource, so you can continue developing yourself skill-wise, knowledge-wise, and ability-wise as a competent instructional designer. Generally speaking, in organizations, there are three phases for instructional designers to go through. First phase will be the entry level professional engagement. You will find job titles such as instructional designer, learning analyst, training and development analyst within the organization. So, this is the beginning point of your instructional design career. After couple years, you're going to move on to the mid-career level positions, job titles such as instructional design manager, instructional design project manager, learning assessment coordinator or learning assessment consultant. As you can see, the mid-career positions require a couple of years of experience, and the competencies will be beyond technical level. So, in starting from the mid-career, you are expected to work with teams in order to deliver your instructional solutions for your clients and organizations. Then you have a couple more years under your belt, and you can now move on to the senior-level positions in the instructional design career path. So, you could be the senior instructional design manager. You could be training and development consultant. If you want to push a little bit even further, you can seek positions similar to chief learning officer and or chief employee engagement officer. So, those are three major career phases for instructional designers to anticipate, more importantly to prepare themselves for in this particular career path. Here, we're going to look at essential competencies for instructional design careers. First, is the people competency. Communication is important since you are going to work with your team members, as well as your client. Teamwork, being able to collaborate with others, internal or external to your organization is important. Third, you need to be able to manage your team members, manage the relationship with your clients. The second major career category of your competency is the technical competency. First, you need to be able to apply instructional design models and processes in order to create instructional deliverables. Second, you need to have some level of comfort in terms of using development tools, usually technology-based, in order to create and develop instructional deliverables for your clients. The third major category of competency is the organizational process and also business competency. You need to have some grasp in terms of how organizational learning happens and why is it important for instructional designer to understand that. In terms of change management, it is important for instructional designers to understand, culturally speaking how organizations and individuals embrace change. In this context, would be learning and performance solution implementations. Finally, instructional designers need to be able to see the big picture, in particular, within the context of human resource development within organizations. You are never alone in the career path of becoming instructional designers. There are many, many peers out there, there are many, many organizations out there that can help you identify potential career opportunities, as well as resources for you to continuously develop yourself. So, this is just a short list of associations or organizations that can help you along the way. First one is the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. The Association for Education Communication and Technology has a strong emphasis on using technologies for instructional applications. The Academy of Human Resource Development attracts people who are interested in applying training and development solutions in organizations. The next one is the Association for Talent Development. It's a huge organization and provides a lot of support for individuals who are interested in pursuing careers related to training and development. Finally, is the International Society for Performance Improvement. For those of you who are interested in pursuing consulting as one of your career options, this organization will be very helpful for your purpose. In addition to organizations and or associations that can help you along the way in becoming successful instructional designers, there are many resources online for you to identify opportunities to continuously develop your skill sets and knowledge as effective instructional designer. First category will be the skill set benchmarking and development. O*Net Online has rich information in terms of responsibilities, tasks, and skills when it comes to specific job category. So, you'll find, for instance, instructional designers skill set and job descriptions on it. You can use the information from O*Net Online to devise a plan for you to develop specific skill sets. The second resource is the Lynda.com, which is free to University of Illinois students. You can easily create your own lesson plans based on your need in terms of developing skill sets and knowledge base for institutional design work. In addition to continuously develop skill set and knowledge base as instructional designers, it is important for us to understand what's happening in the industry. Here is a very short list of resources you can gather information like that very easily online. In particular, I want to mention EDUCAUSE, which is a very active publishing house that brings up-to-date industry information to instructional designers. The third category of resources will be groups you will find on professional social networks such as LinkedIn. There is a group in particular for instructional designer. There are groups for training and development professionals. In this section, we looked at potential career opportunities for instructional designers. We also touched on resources available for instructional designers to develop their skill sets and knowledge base. The key takeaway from this section is that it is important for instructional designers to plan ahead, setting up your professional goals first, then you realize all this available resources for you to carry out tangible professional development activities.