Learning from those who came before us

Today, two of our capstone classes had the pleasure of hearing from former alum, Brenna Mickey ‘14 who now works as an Interaction Designer with Centerline Digital of Raleigh, NC. Centerline started as a small production company focusing on video production, animation and motion graphics. Today, they house nearly 150 employees and focus on content marketing for Fortune 500 companies around the world.

During the presentation, students were given the chance to pick Brenna’s brain about her time in iMedia and how to handle the next three months as we approach graduation. She had a lot of great advice for putting yourself out there and finding the job that is best for you, but summed it up in these five things to consider when looking for a job:

Show your hybrid-ness

  • Building connection points across disciplines makes you more valuable
  • Shows you are open for new ideas, opinions and perspectives
  • A well-rounded “specialist” is hard to find!

Save your process documents

  • They could serve as jumping off points for other projects
  • Reference your “thinking-out-loud” artifacts during interviews (e.g. wireframes, storyboards, sketches)

About those portfolios

  • Speak directly to the work that you did
  • Clearly document or explain the overall business value of the creative work
  • Link to process documents
  • Nix inflated language, like “guru, expert, moguel, rockstar”

Be open-minded to the possibilities

  • Freelance vs. agency vs. teaching vs. professional services
  • There’s more out there than you think.
  • Nothing is permanent!
  • Focus on job descriptions, not titles
  • Same title means different things to different companies

You know more than you realize

  • Confidence! (But not arrogance, you guru, you.)
  • Knowledge gaps exist everywhere: just because you understand something doesn’t mean someone else will

We’re lucky to have so many talented iMedia graduates out there who are willing to help our current students grow. However, no matter the industry, these points can be helpful to anyone looking for a job. So, take note and put yourself out there. Something amazing is sure to come along.

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It May be November, But We’re Ready for Spring!

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As the semester is nearing the end, students are beginning to think about their spring semester and final few months in this program. In the fall, students are assigned their courses and everyone is taking the same classes. However, in the spring, students take a six hour capstone course and choose three electives from a list of classes covering a variety of topics. Here’s a look at some of the courses they’ll be taking this spring:

Social Media and SEO– This is a course that focuses on some of the strategy and insight behind what happens in interactive media. Students will focus on three main points in this course: analytic tracking and reporting, social media strategy and technical SEO.

Virtual Environments– Though some might think that Call of Duty is all fun and games, there is much more that goes into creating virtual environments. This course will focus will focus on the theory behind game creation and will even construct a basic virtual environment as a team.

Interactive Media Management and Economics– As professionals, it is important for us to understand the industry that we are in and how it functions. This course will spend time looking at business models, case studies and management and economic principles in order to better understand the industry that we are in.

Digital Brand Communication– Brands are a large part of what we do with interactive media. Today, everyone has a brand and it is our job to tell our client’s brand story. This class will take a look at the changing media landscape and how brand messaging can be used effectively.

Graphic Design– This fall, all students have been enrolled in a visual aesthetics class where they’ve learned about the basic skills and principles of design. This course will give students a deeper knowledge of graphic design and will employ harder concepts and projects.

Application Development– This course will teach students the basics of app development and will give them the knowledge to be able to succeed in the programming industry.

Data Mining and Visualization– One of the most important skills a professional can have is being able to display information in a way that engages people. This course will teach the students to find data, clean it up and create visualizations that are engaging and easily digestible.

Multimedia Storytelling– This course will help students learn the different ways that a story can be told. We often think of stories in books, but there are many other ways that a story can be told. Students will use these skills to create new and inventive ways to spread information and create a story.

Well there they are! We are so excited for our spring courses and we can’t wait to see what kind of amazing projects our students create. Visit the iMedia website to learn more about our program and be sure to check in with our blog each week!

Mid-Way Through and Going Strong!

This week marks the halfway point of our first semester in the iMedia program. With midterm papers and projects being turned it, it’s now easy for us to understand just how much knowledge this program will provide for us. At this point, we’ve learned a few things and have turned in a few projects.

Here’s a look at what we’ve done so far:

  • Decided on and researched what we hope will be our capstone projects- Though some people will change their minds, we’ve spent the last six weeks researching and writing a literature review that explains a topic that we are interested and are excited to explore.
  • Coded a few websites- Whether writing media queries to make a site responsive, using frameworks to create mock-ups or making our resumes interactive, we’ve got a lot of HTML, CSS and JavaScript under our belts.
  • Made art- At this point, we’ve showed our fellow class members who we are through self-portraits and created typefaces for an Alien race of our choosing. The creativity of this year’s class is truly evident through the innovation and uniqueness that has been shown through these projects.
  • Programmed…A lot- Though we’ve spent most of our time until now trying to understand the basics of using JavaScript, we’ve just recently learned how to apply these languages and create basic sites. This week’s big project is our midterm JQuery assignment where we have to make a gallery explaining how to do an activity. This project has tested the limits of many of us as we’ve spent hours trying to create a simple gallery website. However, no need to worry because we all know that it’s worth the hard work and the feeling once you’ve figured it out is better than anything else.

So why should you care about all the work that we’ve been doing? What does this mean to you? iMedia is special because of the condensed time frame of the program. 10 months is an extremely short time to learn this skills, but somehow it’s possible. However, iMedia is about more than just learning technical skills. Along with the things we’ve learned in our classes, we’ve learned that iMedia becomes a family over time. Late nights and group projects mean that you truly get to know who you’re working on and those tough days become easier because everyone is going through it together and you have each other to lean on.

So, after finishing roughly a fourth of my Master’s program, I can confidently say that things are going well for everyone. Let’s hope that everyone has a chance to rest and rejuvenate over fall break because, when we come back, we have 7 months to go!