Schools Training

20 Ways to Prepare for Graduation From Web Design School – Part 1

13 FEB 2012
Career Path : Computers and Technology

College is a fun time in life, but students who enter web design school with a clear understanding of their goals will have an easier time of it on the job market. The following is the first installment in a two-part series on twenty tips for students to keep in mind as they pursue a web design program.

  1. A degree or certificate from a web design school opens doors.

First rule of web design school: Those who start a web design program should stick it out until graduation. At the mid-way or three-quarter point, you may convince yourself that you already know everything there is to know about graphic design, but without a degree or certificate from a recognized school, your CV may go straight to the recycling bin without so much as a call for an interview.

  1. Your web design school probably has a career counseling service. Use it!

Use the services at your disposal while you can. Have a college counselor:

  • evaluate your CV
  • help you practice your interviewing skills
  • advise you on the negotiating process (tip: your starting salary is one of the most important, because all raises after that will be proportional)
  1. Get an internship.

An internship through your web design school can be one of the best ways to break into the working world. It may evolve into paid work, either with the organization or with professional contacts made during the experience.

Additional perks of a web design program internship:

  • The work you do as an intern can be added to your portfolio.
  • You can ask your superiors to serve as references, giving you more credibility on the job market.
  1. Participate in extracurricular activities.

This may sound counterintuitive, but, sometimes, it’s our extracurricular activities rather than our professional accomplishments that help forge a lasting connection with a potential employer. “You play Ultimate? So do I. Which league are you in?”

  1. Increase your skill set.

What skills would complement those you are learning in web design school? Could you take a photography class so that you could offer original pictures for your web creations?

  1. Learn to code.

Explore the “tech” side of web design. Programming knowledge like HTML and CSS will make you more attractive as a new hire.

  1. Take some bookkeeping, marketing and other business courses in addition to your web design program.

Would you one day like to work freelance? Or to run your own agency? Educate yourself on running your own business.

  1. Know your keyboard shortcuts.

Make sure you know your InDesign, Adobe and other web design program keyboard shortcuts. They save time and are a rather cool, subtle way of illustrating your mastery of the technology. Some web design programs even let you create your own!

  1. Volunteer for a non-profit.

Build up your portfolio and professional network by volunteering for a good cause while you are still in web design school. Many web designers offer reduced rates to non-profit customers throughout their career. Helping charities with their websites is one way for graduates of web design schools to give back to their communities and find continued meaning in their work.

  1. Build a web portfolio.

Finished a project for a class? Add it to your online portfolio, so that you will be job-market ready the moment you graduate from web design school. (Warning: Don’t fall into the web design trap of constantly building, but never finishing your own website. An “under construction” notice will not help you find employment.)

Happy studying! And good luck on the job market.