Things you don't learn at uni

It has nearly been a year since I started my job in the Industry and said goodbye to the world of education, and in that time I feel I see the industry in a different light. What you learn about the real world of work from design college is not always a realistic vision of the future. I have thought about the main differences I have personally found.

Employers don't care about what you get in your degree.

A few friends of mine, and myself included, got jobs before we even received our results from our degree, and may not know now what mark I got. They don't care. Not in a nasty way, but all they are interested in is your work and your creative ability.

Technical skills are important.

As well as your creative abilities, it is important that you know how to work software, and that you can use it quickly. After all, the more efficient you are in Adobe, the more work you are going to be able to produce which is ultimately a bonus for your employer.

You never stop learning.

This may actually be a given, but what I didn't realise is how much more there is to software than I initially thought. Every week I learn something new in an Adobe programme, whether it be new shortcuts or skills. Even people who have been working in the programmes for a good few years often announce a new technique they have never come across. I don't think this is a bad thing though, it makes everything you do more interesting!

12 weeks for a project is rare.

You may be used to having 3 months to finish a project, but the reality is that clients want work with a much quicker turn around. The longer they give you, the more money they have to spend so favour a shorter project deadline. Occasionally we have times where a last minute project arrives that may need doing within a week and it's all hands on deck to get it done on time.

You have to be limited with your ideas

Due to the previous point, you have to narrow down ideas pretty quickly. I am not saying you shouldn't think about different ways around a brief, but clients often already have something in mind. You sometimes need to save time and not waste it by exploring artistic solutions, but creating something more commercially driven for example.

Clients are not designers.

I am sure many people will agree with this one. You can create something which is great, but the client may come along and ask something to be changed, which then ruins the look of your work. Sometimes you may be able to persuade clients otherwise, but often they have the last word (they are paying for it after all) and you have accept it will never look the way you want.  

Ultimately, I feel I have learned more through the Industry than I ever did at uni. University gave me a good base of design and the theory behind it all, but it is different from the real world. It feels like you learn as you go along, and although some of the factors are not favourable, there are great things about being out of education and in the real work.


Posted: Fri 29th Jun 2012

Tags: Articles, changed, deadlines, design, difference, industry, learn, learning, qualifications, software, university, Work

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