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  1. #1

    Those who can, do ...

    Okay, I'm sure this will generate some controversy, but I'm a born stirrer, so here goes ...

    When I was working in partnership in a multimedia studio, we would frequently receive resumes from graduates looking to get a start in the industry; unfortunately, nearly all of them went straight in the bin. Why? Well, if your resume says you've just completed a Bachelor of Multimedia course, why are you sending us a (barely formatted) Word document? Where's your portfolio CD? What have you been doing for the last four years? Tellingly, the one guy we actually picked up came from a solid print background, but he'd taught himself enough Flash to put his work into a CD.

    I think the reason we were seeing so many poor resumes is the way "Multimedia" is taught. Or more properly, the people who are teaching Multimedia.

    The reason I admire a site like mediacollege so much is that the people on here are industry professionals, with a wealth of real-world experience.

    From my own experiences, both when I was a student, and working as I eventually came to do now in the education sector, too many of the people who are teaching subjects like design and multimedia (personally, I don't think of "multimedia" as separate from design at all, but that's for another rant) come from a purely academic background, with no industry experience at all. I think this is a pity, as it's letting down the students who get taught a whole lot of theoretical waffle, but not the bread-and-butter stuff that they'll actually have to do every day in a busy studio.

    When I think back to my art student days, there was only one teacher who had extensive industry experience, and that was the guy I learned the most from, and had the most respect for. For instance, when the drawing teacher was lecturing us that you should never trace a drawing, because that wasn't "real drawing", the guy who had actually worked as an illustrator assured us, "when an art director hands you a brief that's due that afternoon, why on earth wouldn't you go straight for the lightbox?"

    This is not to disparage all teachers: there are some brilliant teachers out there; and in purely academic subjects, it's probably fine if the teacher is someone who went straight from university into teaching. But in a trade subject it's crazy, really: when you look at the "hard" trades, most of the teachers there have done the yards as tradies themselves. Design is a trade too; so why would you have people who have never worked in the trade teaching it?

    Just today, I was working with a colleague who's a multimedia teacher, designing a curriculum for a multimedia course. When I questioned the value of some of the stuff she wanted to teach, she replied huffily that she was an Adobe Certified Expert. That's okay: I've only used nearly all of their products every working day for the past fifteen years, and at least I know what "those stupid slice things" in Photoshop are for.

    I also couldn't understand why she wouldn't let students use Dreamweaver to code HTML pages. Why the hell wouldn't you teach someone who is to all intents and purposes an apprentice how to use what is an industry-standard tool? It's like telling a carpentry kid that they shouldn't use a table saw or a belt sander. I've also had a multimedia teacher tell me quite openly, "oh, as long as I know what's in the curriculum, that's all I need to keep ahead of the kids".

  2. #2
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    Hey Clownfish - I like this so please rant...

    It seems this area of designed has slipped through the cracks. I totally agree on seeing some sort of portfolio, especially if you want to get noticed as a writer, engineer, designer, etc. Resumes are the introduction; it's the foot-in-the-door, just to get the interview. Whatever is on a resume that one is knowledgeable of, should be able to back it up with proof during an interview. I think anybody involved in creativity would need that extra boost by showing something other than a resume.

    Maybe the educators today need more education on the industry not just the tool and how it functions. The instructors that taught me the inner workings of equipment were in the industry. Whether they were on the design side or maintenance end, they were involved.

    At this point, however word spreads about your company (or anybody else's) looking for people, all applicants (for certain positions) must supply a portfolio (in whatever format).
    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  3. #3
    I totally agree on seeing some sort of portfolio

    I got my first job in the business by presenting my folio as a brochure. This was back in the old days of print. Since then, every job I've gone for, I've sent an interactive CD with my application.

    That's what impressed us so much about the applicant I mentioned in the post: he showed the initiative to teach himself what he needed to know, and took that effort that made him stand out.

    Maybe the educators today need more education on the industry not just the tool and how it functions.

    Absolutely agreed. I can use a hammer to hit a nail, but that doesn't make me a builder. Similarly, being able to use InDesign doesn't make anyone a designer.

    I'm also concerned that someone who's professed areas of knowledge are Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign can bill themselves as a "multimedia" specialist.

  4. #4
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    I'm also concerned that someone who's professed areas of knowledge are Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign can bill themselves as a "multimedia" specialist.
    Yes - it's very mis-leading. I've read many who claim, specialties but are not able to think, "outside of the box". They can do what they were taught or learned but are lost any point beyond that.

    Hey maybe this could be a new part of the MC.... Dude - now look what you started!!!
    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  5. #5
    Hi Guys

    In the wedding industry here we get school leavers who go on a short "arts" course at our local college and then after Daddy has bought them a couple of Canon's they present themselves as Professional Wedding Photographers.

    It seems to be much the same for so called "web designers" who do a short theory course and expect the industry to fight to employ them!!

    I think that part of any course should be a couple of years of "work experience" ...ideally for free, with an established company in the industry BEFORE they get that piece of paper that qualifies them as an expert!!!

    Chris

  6. #6
    I really think the problem comes back to the trainers.

    Certainly there is a big place for purely theory or academic training in design (and multimedia is really just another field of art & design), because as has been pointed out, just knowing how to use the tools doesn't make you a designer. Students have to know the fundamentals of design principles, typography, etc.

    But when it comes to the actual vocational side of the industry, I think some mininum of industry experience should be mandatory. The only way I ever really learned how to use any new tool was to use it in a real-world context, and to learn from other people in the same field, whether they're working in the same office or via the net.

    I can honestly say I've learnt more from a site like mediacollege than I ever did from any of the training courses I've ever bothered paying for.

    Which brings me to Adobe's certification system. I may be way off the mark here, but it seems to me that Adobe certification really only caters to people who have the time and the money to bother with it. Certainly of the many people I've known in the industry who I'd consider genuine experts, none of them ever bothered with Adobe certification; they were too busy doing the actual work, and had no need for a certificate to prove anything anyway.

    I also have reservations about the content of the certification exams. If the content of Adobe approved materials like "Classroom in a book" series are anything to go by, I've found from experience that while there's some useful beginner-type stuff in them, there's often also a fair serve of guff that Adobe like to show off the features of their software, but which doesn't necessarily relate to the bread-and-butter features I use every day.

  7. #7
    Well guys, let's just say a person can be schooled, but not necessarily educated. It goes the same for the teacher as for the student.

    It is the same as dealing with

    1. The niche expertise
    I learnt the painful and long process of doing DI on Photoshop in school. When I graduated, I learnt new tricks, shortcuts and all, and developed for myself a systematic workflow that is like 10x more efficient than what I learnt from school!

    2. The big bad world of People (bosses, colleagues and clients)
    No amount of ''communicating effectively' in school can beat handling with real flesh and blood bosses who are trying to squeeze every ounce of you measly paid worker, handling colleagues or reasonable/unreasonable clients.

    However that being said, there is a certain value in going to art schools and colleges for certification, as certain companies are looking for 'accredited' professionals to do their stuff. How much of their 'accreditation' is being made use of when the pros do their job, is a good question to think about!

    Lastly as Chris mentioned, there are a lot of 'pros' around, and they go around undercutting prices/services and causing a lot of trouble for those who does the same work for a living. Like I mentioned, they are schooled, but not educated.
    There's no bad camera, just a bad user
    Loong . Singapore

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