In the first part of this article, I discussed things including creativity, technical skill & knowledge, and the business aspect of design. Now, I will cover gaining work experience, finding a good job after graduating, and staying productive as you go about your journey towards design success.
First, I want to start off by saying that succeeding in any field can be difficult without determination and love for what you do. I have seen all too many times people getting degrees in whatever field that and end up doing something completely different. If you're young and still in the decisive stage, good. This is the perfect time to figure out what career path to choose, and what's right for you. The Design field is very competitive. It requires lots of communication, ongoing desire to learn, and the ability to push yourself to new limits. More after the jump...
Okay, so you're closing in on graduation and you need a job! What do you need to do to find a job that'll be most beneficial to you? Well, it's quite simple. Know your strengths, weaknesses, and the amount of dedication you're willing to put into bettering yourself. Create a resume and put together a portfolio (if you don't already have one) that portrays who you are. You will gradually advance further into the field by being real and not over-qualifying yourself.
After you start submitting your resume and portfolio for the first time, be ready to answer the following questions:
- What are your goals and future aspirations? Are you a team player?
- Do you find it difficult to keep track of multiple tasks while staying organized?
- Do you like to take lead in assignments?
- Do you stick to certain technologies for specific results, or are you open to learning whatever it takes to get the job done?
- How do you face new challenges that are beyond your current skill set?
By answering these types of questions, you demonstrate professionalism and readiness to handle what the job has to offer. Agencies look for people that are going to get the job done, and that's that. Everything else that the job offers can be counted as perks. It's always work, then fun.
Everyone loves someone with good work ethics that gets the job done, who is also fun to talk to and be around in the office/studio environment. It helps to be open minded and kind to your co-workers. You will learn to respect them, and in return they will respect you back. Just because you disagree on something doesn't mean you can't come up with a healthy compromise that works for everyone.
Staying Motivated to do your job well is hard. Naturally, humans get bored/frustrated with their jobs throughout time. It is important to put together a little list of reasons why you love your job, what you do, and what you and everyone else gets out of it. If you're feeling a lack of creativity, put together a database of inspiration; awesome designers, great websites, fun projects, and things that remind you how great your job is.
Another good idea is to have side projects. From my experience, I have come to realize that boredom and laziness comes from having nothing to do, thus evoking certain emotions that you may not be pleased with. Create a blog, start freelancing (as long as your job permits), learn a new language, or create unique design projects exploring your skills and reaching new limits. Don't forget to keep all of this documented. That's why keeping a blog of your stuff is cool, and when you have a reader base, motivation...comes naturally.
Get involved in design communities. Join meetup groups for things you're interested in like web/graphic design, photography, programming, etc. Nothing beats collaborating with people of similar interests
Overall, the conclusion is this. I believe that if you really have it in you to be a successful designer, you don't need to go to a school that burns a huge hole in your pocket. Save money and conserve your earnings for things that really matter. If you're well off and have the money to go to such a great school, and have the drive to succeed, power to you!
Share your thoughts in the comments section below. What are your feelings about school, and getting a good job? What are your doubts? I hope I have helped open your mind to different ideas and possibilities that may benefit you now, and in the future.