Yup this is true, I was stuck in the education tunnel, which to be fair most kids are these days. My two strongest subjects were maths and physics, so I opened up the college booklets, went to the open days and thought that looks cool, maybe I could work for NASA one day (Naive 18 Year Old), HA! During the degree, I was learning for grades and not for the enjoyment of the subject, which of course is probably the least proud thing I have done.
In my third year, I did a 14 month placement in a company called Stryker down in Cork. I met a lot of great people but excel sheets were not my thing. To say the least I was bored out of my tree, and with boredom comes the ole creativity spark. So as a side project after work and training, I would sit down and make coffee pour over stands which turned into The Copper Collection, it was a great introduction to design and I was working alongside a product design student. I really learned a lot about myself.
We actually ended up shipping all over the world which was awesome, so I decided to take the project to the Student StartUp camp in 2015 before going back to finish my final year in university. And then the whole design industry hit me in the face, it was awesome. I discovered fields within the design industry that I didn’t even know existed, it instantly sparked my interest.
Nope, no jobs boards, no job spec involved. I had heard about MiniCorp through the Student StartUp Comp organiser David Newell, who had just finished an internship with MiniCorp. When it came to January 2016 I knew that I wanted to get out of engineering as soon as possible, it just wasn’t for me.
In the evenings I was trying to up-skill left right and centre. Reading books on all sorts of design subjects, entering random design competitions, doing short free courses online and then one evening I came across Brian’s creativity plea Medium post, and said feck it, I’m meeting this man for a coffee and that was it.
Honestly, I have never worked at a big tech firm or design agency so I would not be speaking fairly for young designers whether that means age or length of time in the field. I believe if you work as best as you can, that doesn’t mean long hours or bringing work home. It means delivering consistently and continually trying to learn - it shows a confidence and flare. That will completely outweigh any concern of age or experience. Look at Jared Erondu, age means nothing when you just have it.
Honestly (Sorry I’m saying that A lot) I don’t think that it is enough to say I have a design degree, Hire ME. Jobs do not come easy, and you have to go looking in the right places and not just trawling through online applications, which I think are absolute BS by the way.
Show that you have a backbone and can go out, talk to people and make yourself known. I have read a lot about this recently, some would say there is a certain arrogance about people my age group these days, that we think it will just happen for us. Sorry honey to tell you but it won’t, we have to make our own opportunities.
Which is why I started We Are Unanchored with my other half. Helping people who want to help themselves but really don’t know how. We created a small 6 step class or course you could say, on the steps we both took to completely flip our careers in a really short amount of time.
Or could the question be, would I go back to college? Saying that, I didn’t love my last degree, I wish I had postponed it or realised early that I wanted to actually create and make stuff. But then again, I wouldn’t be where I am now if I didn’t do Aero… I’m not sure, it’s pretty crazy to think about...
You really do, I think, have to pull yourself away from the crowd, be different, make yourself stand out and you don’t get that from doing the boring old cv and telling your future boss about how you played for the U14 GAA county squad. I wouldn’t really go back at all and change anything about increasing my chances of getting a job, maybe because I was straight out of college and got one, with a bit of grit and luck.
But what I would say is that sometimes I feel like I have missed out on the traditional product design degree, Im sure it would have been something I would have grasped with both hands, I love physical product just as much as digital.
I think I might break this down because I’ll be here all day deciding who I love the most haha.
Their stuff is shit hot at the minute and I adore both their work.
Digital Products - Im pretty excited for Dona.AI by Jakub Antalík
Stash - I am using it all the time, saves me clogging up my Twitter timelines as I was using it for “bookmarking” for a long time.
Recently just got a MONZO card so I am all over that FinTech game at the minute!
Ohhh I do love me some Baskerville although Monotypes are my jam also.
100% - Do not give a flying *beep* about what people think, stand your ground and be honest.