Operation: Graduate Job

My route into the industry was rather unorthodox. I didn’t know what I wanted to be while I was in college studying a generic IT course, a course that offered a taster of popular IT Sectors such as an Introduction to Web Design module, Network Administration module, Java Programming module etc.

It wasn’t until I got into the unbearably basic <p> Hello World </p> syntax that I started to take notice of Web Design. Wondering how a simple little <p> at the beginning of the paragraph turned it into a very minuet local website.

Further Education

From there my curiosity kept growing for HTML and with the introduction of basic CSS styling, I saw a world of opportunity open before my eyes. This is when I knew I wanted to be a Web Developer. Lecturers at both Cardiff and the Vale College as well as The University of South Wales offered learning material to encourage me to pursue this and in turn I am very grateful to them for helping me along the way.

After I finished college, I was looking forward to beginning studying Web Design full time, although it was under the guise of Multimedia Computing and I was thoroughly enjoying it until I had to have some surgery on my back which meant I had to suspend my studies. I was devastated but I learned the lesson that when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade. So as I was recovering, I was finding freelance tutorials, opinion articles, networking with professionals and this continues to be a fantastic source of information/inspiration for me. You’d be surprised how nice the design community are if you engage in a Twitter conversation with anyone.

Graduation & Employment

After gaining my degree, it dawned on me that I only knew how to design for myself and even then I proved to be my own worst critic. If I wasn’t happy with some of my designs, what would an employer make of them? The thought of this haunted me as I applied for a couple of jobs and if I managed to grab that brass ring, would I last long? I knew I’d be up against it from the start and expected a learning curve and boy did I get one.

It’s surprising how perseverance pays off, with journalists almost flaunting the fact that Graduate jobs were getting increasingly difficult to find, the price of university debt raising, it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact it was quite the opposite, recruitment agencies, despite most design agencies despise them, helped me out quite a bit by improving my CV, interview tips, passing job descriptions over to me and applying for the job, graduates shouldn’t give up so quick. Help is there and you’d be surprised who could help you.

Having found an employer in Rockable Media in Ebbw Vale, finding my feet is proving to be something of a challenge, but a challenge I’m very much looking forward to. I’ve already worked on some pretty eye opening projects and my horizons have been expanded since day one. Although I started during a pretty busy period for Rockable Media, the learning curve proved steep. Having successfully navigated my way through the interview, actually coding to back it up was a completely different ball game already. You’d be amazed at what you can achieve when deadlines don’t seem like a lecturer thing and are actually business thing. Releasing I had X amount of time left to do this task made something click, if I didn’t, then a cheeky visit to Google proved to be my ally.

The main lesson I’ve taken from my time at Rockable so far, or should I say lessons would be that:

  1. You can’t know everything as a junior, design/development is a skill to be mastered over time, so relax, you aren’t going to get fired for not knowing one or two things.
  2. The internet can be your best friend, every possible resource is there at your pleasure but don’t reinvent the wheel, put your stamp on it.

Always learning

Seeing the many wonderful tutorials around affect me in two ways, it encourages me to continuously learn and improve but it also encourages my creative side to come out, think more, question what I see and see if I can improve the concept. I’m learning that this is a key component to not only a successful career, but to help envelop your happiness and ambition in this industry. After all, what’s the point of doing something for 30-40 years and you’re not happy in it.

This insight into the industry has already got me planning what I want to do this industry, I want to become confident enough to give talks at conferences, practice what I preach and hopefully write a development book within the next 5 to 10 years.

There’s a lot you can do in this industry, don’t limit yourself and your capabilities.

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