The Creative Landscape: A talk at University of Nairobi, School of the Arts and Design
- Post by Jimmy Gitonga
"How much do you want to earn when you leave campus?" "500,000", said a young man in a black T-shirt, "a week".
Jimmy Gitonga, who giving the talk, shook his head in disbelief. The young man, Dennis had said that, half in jest. But the silence in the room was expectant. "Okay, let's see how that is possible", Jimmy said. "Take it that you really work 5 hours a day, 25 days a month and 11 months a year. Why 11? Because you are on holiday on the 12th." Jimmy looked at Dennis, "How much should you make an hour?"
This talk was taking place at the the University of Nairobi, at the School of the Arts & Design. It had been organized by the Creatives Garage to enlighten and encourage the current crop of design students about the reality of the creative economy in Kenya.
Jimmy Gitonga, the iHub manager, was invited to talk about his journey in the creative sector and how the iHub is working with the creative community, as well as to discuss theopportunities in design when working on the web and mobile economy. Currently, iHub has noticed that while there is a large supply of developers, designers who are conversant with digital design tools are scarce. Areas such as infographics and interactive infographics are completely overlooked, yet the demand for data visualisation is on the increase.
Jimmy explained that he applied for Green membership at the iHub in 2010, to concentrate on front-end design. At the moment, there is a shortage of front-end designers at the iHub. Once one adds that the growth in the local content space will require multi-disciplined designers including animators and game developers, then the creative economy really looks inviting.
The Creatives Garage, led by Euticus Mola, targets creatives in all sectors and spoke about the events it has with industry partners such as Adobe. Creatives Garage has a Spanner Breakfast where they invite artists and other creatives. Recently, they hosted Sauti Sol. The students who missed it were not pleased. Euticus gave the overall direction of the creative industry and how the hubs collaborate in sharing ideas and events.
“Taking 500,000 and dividing into the hours we get 20,000/- an hour. Its possible to make this kind of money but you would have to work for a large corporation. For a company to pay that, you would have to bring in more than that in the same week. Hopefully, the company sees value in you. But once the value is gone, the accounts department sees you as a cost. Plus, you will need to have worked for 15 - 20 years and currently have people working for you in this corporation. What are the chances of that being you?”
Jimmy went on, “If you look at the iHub jobs board, as a front-end designer and developer, expect to make around $2000/= a month if you are good”. The was an audible sigh of relief from the students.