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Thread: How far will a piece of paper get me?

  1. #1
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    Question How far will a piece of paper get me?

    I am no stranger to Adobe programs (Illustrator, photoshop, flash etc). All my experience is unofficial (a single high school class).



    There are a myriad of online courses on Groupon (cheap, "on-sale" items) from bar-tending to adobe illustrator.... In the short of it, they are mostly just a couple youtube videos and a piece of paper(I assume).




    Is this 'piece of paper' that is a certificate worth the price of $20 (On sale for $999...) It'd be more for show and getting hired for small stuff.
    "The only one who knows this ounce of words is just a token, is he who has a tongue to tell that must remain unspoken"

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    I'd say it can't hurt chances of being hired....

    but....

    it may not help, either. One of the reasons college courses are valued is that they show that the student had the interest to attend multiple sessions and be evaluated. Formal professional development courses show the interest in attendance, but not the evaluation.
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2015-Nov-19 at 06:47 PM. Reason: changed "professional professional" to remove redundant word.
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  3. #3
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    At least it shows commitment. And starting courses, and finishing them, will get you into the habit of finishing what you start. Employers like that.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mareykan View Post
    I am no stranger to Adobe programs (Illustrator, photoshop, flash etc). All my experience is unofficial (a single high school class).



    There are a myriad of online courses on Groupon (cheap, "on-sale" items) from bar-tending to adobe illustrator.... In the short of it, they are mostly just a couple youtube videos and a piece of paper(I assume).




    Is this 'piece of paper' that is a certificate worth the price of $20 (On sale for $999...) It'd be more for show and getting hired for small stuff.

    You'd be better off using your skills for a project of some sort and being able to show that to a prospective employer. If I were going to hire you, I'd be a lot more impressed if you could show me some projects you have done - even if they weren't paid projects. Show me a cert that you got online after taking a course that comprised 'a couple youtube videos' would not impress me nearly as much. If you're serious about learning Adobe programs, I'd suggest combination of formal training (not a single high school course) and projects that you have created on your own. As a prospective employer, that would show me you have the training, the skill, and the desire to be successful.

    A 'certification' for $20 that supposedly is 'on sale, regular price $999' sounds suspicious to me and may be a waste of $20.

  5. #5
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    Here's the thing: Get the knowledge or at least the introduction to the knowledge from any source, including your PUBLIC LIBRARY, a reliable resource
    often overlooked, and when you have decided that you want to make a financial commitment to that knowledge base, go to a bricks and mortar school,
    be it Jr. College, tech school or college and university. But...... when you knock on the door of a professional ....who has invested some $200,000 or more for his education, you infer that your 6 flags online school is " Just as Good" , and imply that he spent too much for nothing.
    I would prefer to audit a class if available and see what is involved and determine if you have the desire to take this further. By all means get a
    real education . That is what society will pay for. Without the sheep skin.....shrug !!! They know they can get you cheaper. And when a degreed
    person comes along, they will hire that person and you will be passed over. It is the way of things.
    Anybody can give you a " Certificate of Merit " which they made up on their computer and tweeked it with photoshop and printed it at a good copy store. They get dropped into the circular file.

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    Quote Originally Posted by redshifter View Post
    A 'certification' for $20 that supposedly is 'on sale, regular price $999' sounds suspicious to me and may be a waste of $20.
    Oh, yes! I hoped that was joking, but... if that really does happen... well... that would make me ask you some very difficult questions, and the 2nd "ummmm..." would end the interview.
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    I've weighed quite a few resumes over the years and one of the most irritating things an applicant can do...or rather, overdo...is training and certifications. One fellow simply dumped his training history from our agency's online training system and attached it to his resume...unfiltered...all 10-12 pages of it. It included every annual briefing on ethics, security, EEO, bottle washing, and other periodic requirements, as well as the important courses that dealt with the nuts and bolts of the position.

    Seeing so much of it leads me to define a prime rule of resume writing: don't cheese off HR or the hiring official/panel by wasting their time and/or making them work too hard to make sense of your resume.

    On the rare occasions I apply for a position, I tailor the resume boilerplate specifically for it. Any training/certifications I include are meant to support my qualifications for that job. I axe anything I think might inspire a hiring official to say "Yeah, so what?" I would suggest that if you're going to invest in training to increase your hire-ability, do what you can to get it from programs recognized and respected in the field. Simply listing a bunch of free or low cost courses that have little reputation could suggest that you're not too serious about your training. If you're one of those folks who are constantly engaged in self-study through trade journals, reputable online resources, etc., I think it would be better to qualitatively describe yourself as such in the body of your resume than to attach a laundry list.

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    I put my education on the bottom of my resume, along with my certificates and such.

    I only list them if they are pertinent to the job. I am A+ certified for a couple of things, but it isn't pertinent to working in a school... usually. I have certificate from ECC for completion of an electrician's assistant, also largely meaningless. I have it framed, but it doesn't go on my resume all that often. I have several Adobe Certs that have never gone on my resume. I no longer working in these fields, so they are boring trivia to my current prospective employers.

    Edit - I just checked the ACE page and two of my Adobe Certs don't even exist anymore.
    Solfe

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by redshifter View Post
    A 'certification' for $20 that supposedly is 'on sale, regular price $999' sounds suspicious to me and may be a waste of $20.
    That's how Groupon.com works



    -please remove this if it is too big-


    I'll get to the other posts in a bit
    "The only one who knows this ounce of words is just a token, is he who has a tongue to tell that must remain unspoken"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mareykan View Post
    I am no stranger to Adobe programs (Illustrator, photoshop, flash etc). All my experience is unofficial (a single high school class).



    There are a myriad of online courses on Groupon (cheap, "on-sale" items) from bar-tending to adobe illustrator.... In the short of it, they are mostly just a couple youtube videos and a piece of paper(I assume).




    Is this 'piece of paper' that is a certificate worth the price of $20 (On sale for $999...) It'd be more for show and getting hired for small stuff.
    If you have time available then you also might want to think about volunteering somewhere. I volunteered off and on for about a year at this publicly supported radio station.

    http://www.ckua.com/

    One of the tasks I did there was a brief Search Engine Optimization project under the supervision of the two (lovely) ladies who run the website. Later when I was looking for a job I had an interview at a big box pet store. The manager interviewing me was most interested in the things I learned on handling data systems at CKUA, he was also impressed that several of the full time employees there were also references. I was offered a part time job organizing and keeping track of inventory, it would have been about 20 hours a week, unfortunately as I was leaving the store I was already in the beginnings of a very bad asthma attack from all the stuff in the air in the store. I couldn't work there.

    My niece's husband is from Germany and until he received his work visa for Canada couldn't take any paid positions. He volunteered at Meals on Wheels several times a week and was one of their most dependable staff. He made contacts through the chefs that worked there throughout the city. He has his work visa now and is a distributor of quality meats - like kobi beef - to high end restaurants in Edmonton. He's making very good money too.

    Volunteering can help build your resume, helps you learn the social skills needed in a workplace, let's you develop contacts that can be very valuable in finding and getting work and it just feels good.

  11. #11
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    Frankly, those 'courses' don't appear to be very conducive to gaining employment in those fields, though maybe I'm wrong about that. However, if I had a job opening and I saw your resume with an educational background like this vs. someone who had formal training at a local university/technical school, the latter would be much more interesting to me and I'd be much more likely to call the latter candidate in for an interview. In the long run though, it's experience that really gets employers interested. If your resume shows you have the professional experience they're looking for, the education piece isn't as important. For someone just starting out, the education matters a bit more.

    I stand by my previous comments: take a few classes at whatever school you're currently attending, or some other local school if the school you're attending doesn't offer them. If those whet your appetite, consider getting a degree or some other certification there. Moreover, some local universities as part of a degree program might offer internships in the field where you can gain practical experience. Also, create some projects on your own, or perhaps there is an opportunity to volunteer to do a project for a local church or other group you could do free of charge in exchange for the experience it would give you. If I were going to employ you, seeing that you took time to seek out opportunities to gain practical experience would definitely pique my interest. It's very difficult these days to get 'that first job', so you need to find a way to stand out from everyone else. Taking online classes from sources that seem to good to be true isn't the way to do it IMO. There's nothing wrong with online classes per se, just try to avoid classes from a diploma mill.

    Edit, I see starcanuck beat me to it regarding the benefits of volunteering to develop you personally and professionally. which should only reinforce the idea that volunteering can be a great way to get established. Great minds think alike
    Last edited by redshifter; 2015-Nov-18 at 11:41 PM.

  12. #12
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    http://www.elearnphotoshop.com/graphic-design-diploma/

    Here is a link to the specific course

    Some of the courses seem to be more geared for employment in their related field such as bar-tending courses, the ones I picked were just the first I saw (because I am lazy)
    "The only one who knows this ounce of words is just a token, is he who has a tongue to tell that must remain unspoken"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mareykan View Post
    http://www.elearnphotoshop.com/graphic-design-diploma/

    Here is a link to the specific course

    Some of the courses seem to be more geared for employment in their related field such as bar-tending courses, the ones I picked were just the first I saw (because I am lazy)
    Don't put that on your resume.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mareykan View Post
    http://www.elearnphotoshop.com/graphic-design-diploma/

    Here is a link to the specific course

    Some of the courses seem to be more geared for employment in their related field such as bar-tending courses, the ones I picked were just the first I saw (because I am lazy)
    Don't do that... That course is more than all of the Adobe certs combined and likely isn't worth anything. Adobe Certs, direct from Adobe are about $160+ each.

    Edit - Have you considered A+ certification or perhaps a one year certificate at a community college for web design or programing to get started? You are looking at $500 to $2500 per item or semester for such a thing. If they aren't offered via your local college or online as you appear to like, reach out to a community college in another location and specifically ask for a residency waiver. This can cut your cost in half. Be aware that if you are working online, a lot of colleges like to add in a distance learner fee. I think I ended up paying an additional $500 per semester for the online courses.

    The thing is about one year certificates is they pile up with your degree path. It is relatively easy to get a two year degree plus a one year cert at the exactly same time. Even better, should you go on, you end up with your associates, a cert or two and four year degree all at one go.
    Last edited by Solfe; 2015-Nov-19 at 12:15 AM.
    Solfe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mareykan View Post
    http://www.elearnphotoshop.com/graphic-design-diploma/

    Here is a link to the specific course

    Some of the courses seem to be more geared for employment in their related field such as bar-tending courses, the ones I picked were just the first I saw (because I am lazy)
    So when I click that link, the first question that comes to mind is 'what is a Certified Master of Graphic Design'? I'm not familiar with Photoshop so maybe it's legit, but if I'm an employer who has never heard of that term, then unless you have the professional experience to back it up, I put your resume in the circular file. There are a LOT of graphic designers out there, what are you going to do to make yourself competitive? To me, it means classes at a local school or earning a degree at that school, working on projects of your own, and volunteering to do projects for local groups of some kind - i.e. churches or other non profit organizations. Maybe I'm being 'old school' here, but to me it's starting to look like you're trying to take an easy path, but that will probably only lead to disappointment.

    If your current field of study has nothing to do with Photoshop, etc, there's absolutely nothing wrong with finishing your current degree and then taking technical classes, or taking them as electives, or whatever. Again let me reiterate the importance of getting practical experience in conjunction with formal training, whether it's volunteering, an internship, developing projects on your own, or better yet a combination of the three.

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    A well-designed port folio with samples that the potential employer can relate to would be at the top of my list of best things to land a gig.

    The trick is to have enough high quality examples in your folio that you can choose them for a given company you're approaching.
    So, say you make 5 excellent works across a spectrum of subjects. For each company, pick 2 that show best what they might want (and then a third that's off-the-wall, or a labor-of-love or whatever).

    This the way to land a gig.

    If a pot emp sees certifications, their reaction is going to be "uh huh. Show me your port folio."

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    Ohh not really looking for a 'big gig' / top company... I have a friend who is a friend of a famous graphic designer. If I wanted a job like that, I would just ask him (or her, never actually met that person).

    Basically, I am asking if a piece of paper would be enough to allure/trick small businesses / people just looking for a quick/cheap art job done.
    "The only one who knows this ounce of words is just a token, is he who has a tongue to tell that must remain unspoken"

  18. #18
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    Trick? Is that really what you mean to do? That doesn't read well on my side of the screen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mareykan View Post
    Ohh not really looking for a 'big gig' / top company... I have a friend who is a friend of a famous graphic designer. If I wanted a job like that, I would just ask him (or her, never actually met that person).

    Basically, I am asking if a piece of paper would be enough to allure/trick small businesses / people just looking for a quick/cheap art job done.
    You would be better served with a website/portfolio showing off your skill.

    Let me tell you why you don't want to trick people. A lot of artist (myself included, at various points in my life) do not work for any company on a permanent hire basis. We go freelance because few if any companies have a need for a single small time artist. If it became apparent that you listed a bunch of things on a resume that did not actually help you ply your skill, that would be a source of annoyance to the person hiring you for a task or project. They might not make that mistake twice.

    Worse, if you listed something that seemed to imply skills you didn't have, and you landed a gig you could not complete to their satisfaction, you could find yourself making money for explaining the project to the person that will complete it for you.

    At that point, you would have a company that did pay you but will not utilize you ever again AND someone working in your field steering people away from you. If you are lucky the company is big enough to have an HR rep who will simply ignore you forever. If you are unlucky, they may chat you up and you put them on your resume. When references get checked, they can talk to people who may want to hire you in the future. Checking a reference is different than checking with past employer. References can be asked any question and can answer in any way they see fit. With freelance work, your past gigs are references, not employers.

    Your worst case scenario is actually getting hired as an artist, things go south and HR people start to pick through your resume to see what is wrong. You can get into legal hot water.
    Solfe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mareykan View Post
    Ohh not really looking for a 'big gig' / top company... I have a friend who is a friend of a famous graphic designer. If I wanted a job like that, I would just ask him (or her, never actually met that person).

    Basically, I am asking if a piece of paper would be enough to allure/trick small businesses / people just looking for a quick/cheap art job done.
    It probably isn't, at least not without concrete examples of projects you have done. If you were going to hire a dentist for a 'cheap job', would you be more inclined to hire one that had 'a piece of paper' from an unknown source or one that had examples of his/her work that related to the work you needed done? And I hope the 'trick' comment was just a choice of words and not that you actually intend to 'trick' someone into hiring you. That always ends badly and can be a career killer.

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    Trick may not have been the correct word, but it feels like a trick. In essence, it is just a piece of paper, that may potentially give me the 'edge' over other artists, especially with illustrator; that is why I feel like it is a trick.

    It's a special case with illustrator because most things that are asked of you can be learned by watching a youtube video or two and messing around with the program for a couple of minutes. Sure when designing logos you need an artistic eye, and vector drawings are based on talent. However, stuff like word art is mostly limited to how much time you'd be willing to spend, not so much the talent of the artist.

    That is why I feel like 'trick' applies. It is sort of like people who wear make-up.




    -not sure if any of this makes sense to you guys.
    "The only one who knows this ounce of words is just a token, is he who has a tongue to tell that must remain unspoken"

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mareykan View Post
    Trick may not have been the correct word, but it feels like a trick. In essence, it is just a piece of paper, that may potentially give me the 'edge' over other artists, especially with illustrator; that is why I feel like it is a trick.

    It's a special case with illustrator because most things that are asked of you can be learned by watching a youtube video or two and messing around with the program for a couple of minutes. Sure when designing logos you need an artistic eye, and vector drawings are based on talent. However, stuff like word art is mostly limited to how much time you'd be willing to spend, not so much the talent of the artist.

    That is why I feel like 'trick' applies. It is sort of like people who wear make-up.




    -not sure if any of this makes sense to you guys.
    It doesn't really matter if it makes sense to us, we're not the ones hiring you. If I were, I can promise you that 'a piece of paper' and 'messing around with the program for a couple minutes' would very likely not get you hired, or even an interview. If it's really that easy, then there should be no problem developing a large, well-rounded portfolio that you can show to prospective employers, right?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mareykan View Post
    Trick may not have been the correct word, but it feels like a trick. In essence, it is just a piece of paper, that may potentially give me the 'edge' over other artists, especially with illustrator; that is why I feel like it is a trick.
    Perhaps the certifications you're willing to achieve are like that but those that are well regarded in their respective industries represent something quite different.

    It's a special case with illustrator because most things that are asked of you can be learned by watching a youtube video or two and messing around with the program for a couple of minutes. Sure when designing logos you need an artistic eye, and vector drawings are based on talent. However, stuff like word art is mostly limited to how much time you'd be willing to spend, not so much the talent of the artist.
    I'm hard pressed to recall a less accurate statement about the graphic arts. It's akin to someone buying a camera, reading the manual, and thinking they're a qualified fashion photographer. That statement strikes me as an indication that you might not have much appreciation or respect for the field...or for your prospective clients.
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    [img]http://www.orkposters.com/images/manhattan/MNBW_L.jpg[img]
    I am just saying, anyone can do something like this within minimal training in adobe illustrator. Stuff like vector drawings (depending on how complex you want to be) take much more skill on adobe illustrator.

    edit: image way to large
    "The only one who knows this ounce of words is just a token, is he who has a tongue to tell that must remain unspoken"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mareykan View Post
    Basically, I am asking if a piece of paper would be enough to allure/trick small businesses / people just looking for a quick/cheap art job done.
    Is this a joke?

    Why not do what people in the field do? Do some graphic designing, and then provide a link to potential employers to your work.

    Let's say you wanted to hire someone to make you custom furniture. Would you hire someone with a piece of paper but no examples of their work? Would you hire someone who has a portfolio of stuff they've built but no certificate?

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