I recently had a discussion with one of my professors from Iowa State University. She was asking what skills I felt ISU needed to better teach to prepare students for the real world. Which got me to thinking about the things that I have needed to learn in the past ten months at Oxide. I spent most of my four years learning about typography, proportions, and print design. And while I still utilize those skills, I’ve had to learn how to translate those skills to the web.
Which leads me to my main takeaway: even though you’re done with your “education”, you should never stop learning. Our field changes so quickly – new technologies are happening every day – that to stay relevant you need to know not only current design aesthetics, but how to implement them.
For example, when I started my design education less than five years ago, the iPhone was just barely on the scene, the iPad wasn’t released yet, and responsive web design had yet to become a “thing.” School curriculums simply can’t keep up with technological advances in both consumer goods and web design best practices. Which means that you have a lot of catching up to do!
The good part for you students out there reading this is that you still have
time to refine your skill set. Don’t just rely on your professors to guide you in the right directions. When it comes down to it, you have to take responsibility for your own education. If your program isn’t pushing you to learn digital and web design, then you need to push yourself to learn it. The good news is that most of the basics translate pretty well. (Special hint – A really solid understanding of hierarchy and typography will always get you places.)
Remember that even after you’re out in the real world, there is always room for improvement and more to learn. Because who knows what challenges designers will have to overcome in the next five years?