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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Force Multipliers: Longterm Design Careers for Non Leads

Brett Norton  (Director of Design Development, Cryptic Studios)

Date: Thursday, July 22

Time: 1:20pm - 2:20pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Production & Team Management

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

Not every designer wants to be a traditional design lead. For those that don't, how can you have a long-lasting career in design if you don't want to manage people? This presentation is broken down into three key areas: Ranking Designer Skills, The Gap Between Seniors and Leads, and Growing Force Multipliers. It covers the traditional 'become a lead' career advancement path, but then breaks away from that mold and lays out several proven, non-lead career paths. We'll cover the pitfalls of trying to become or grow a subject matter expert, and how seniors can impact a team as thought or technical champions.


For non-lead, non-senior designers: How to overcome specific limitations to grow into an effective force multiplier. For leads / directors / managers: How to evolve strong individual contributors into seniors and put them on paths that don't involve managing other designers.

Intended Audience

This session is targeted at both those seeking design careers as a non-lead, and, those who must manage and grow designers. Those who are struggling to be a 'people leader' and those who find it hard to coach those whom do not want to be people leaders.