From the outside, it looks like high school students get to learn cad, various aspects towards understanding typography, composition and layout. But not enough emphasis is put on the digital side. My understanding is that the majority of schools don’t have Apple MACs, nor do they have industry specific software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. My view is that if students at an early age are understanding the theory being typography and Graphic Design, and backing that up with digital manipulation they will enhance their skill set for further in their career. My personal journey was that high school and college was 95% hand drawn sketches, theories and ideas. But then when it came to University the roles reversed and everything was digital, but I felt I was lacking the skills to understand all these new programmes. So my first thought would be to teach all the basic skills a graphic designer would need in high school. They will then have a good idea whether they enjoyed this subject, loved it, felt they were successful in the area, or they hated. These are all good signs for helping them choose their career path.
Obviously the web design industry is my bag, so let’s touch on that. Within high schools it looks like I.T takes place with some computer science being taught, which includes basic HTML. This is a good sign on initial viewing. I even spoke to a particular tutor who likes to give real briefs to students on a term by term basis, again this is great. My worry is that this theory is not replicated up and down the country, the volume of schools is quite low in terms of HTML and Web Design/Development offerings. Therefore not as many students understand Web because they aren’t being taught it, therefore it’s not a career option for them… until further down the line where it may get introduced at college.
With the various options available within design also - it can cater for a range of talents. For example, english students could go into Content Marketing, PR, Social or SEO to name a few. I believe students who are good at Maths and Science will understand coding and the language involved in building websites. And the creative individuals obviously could go into any part whether that be as a graphic designer, web designer, art director etc.
Project management is also becoming a major part within every studio, even the smaller agencies. Managing clients is so important from both sides of the coin, and it takes a certain individual to make this work. They need to be friendly, organised, confident communicating to people they’ve never met before, and firm when relaying instructions to the team. These traits can be met by any student with any certificates in my opinion. I would base the job interview on personality more than anything.
The industry is such a cool place and I want to show it to the world who aren’t aware. I also wrote an article about the benefits of working in a digital environment, go check it out here if you’re interested.