Graphic Design: Degree Or No Degree?

Through my design career I have come across many job adverts for a graphic designer 'with a degree'. It always made me feel a little frustrated – "If I do not have a degree do you automatically assume I will not be good enough to join your company?". Surely a designer's portfolio and / or experience should say more than a piece of paper with a qualification on it.

I studied for a higher national diploma in graphic design at college and when the course finished I had the chance of pursuing a degree in graphic design or go for an advanced diploma in art and design. One of my lecturers told me that the degree contained more theory work where the advanced diploma was more practical. I opted for the practical work … after all that's what graphic design is.

The advanced diploma was only a year of study but most of the work was project based even if the deadlines were a bit too generous at times. However, since leaving college (armed with my qualifications) I admit that I learn more during my first design role and by teaching myself. That kind of education never stops with the design world and technology continuously changing.

This led me to question the importance of a degree as a designer and I know that I'm not the only one to ask this. In my honest opinion a degree does not automatically make someone more creative and successful than a designer who is self taught or who has learnt on the job. Their portfolio should be the strongest reflection of their skills and abilities especially when it comes to finding employment. Do companies advertising for a designer 'with a degree' honestly think that they are going to employ a better designer or is it a status thing?

Now I know that things have changed since I was at college so I thought I had a look at what degree courses my local college offers and found that they offer a BA in Art and Design. Here are the modules:

Year 1: Visual arts; applied crafts; digital arts; site specific design; graphic design; performance related design; web design; animation; self-employment; video production; community art; textile design; teacher or lecturer.

Year 2 : Creative skills and concepts; integrated project; visual literacy; digital applications; specialist options: skills development; contextual studies; personal development planning.

Year 3: Creative practice; contextual practice; specialist options: skills application practice; research skills; critical and contextual studies; pathways and concepts; professional and studio practice; professional and contextual studies; creative futures.

I did not study most of this stuff and I've spent 9 years in design studios working on a wide variety of projects of all sizes and with good feedback. I'm now working full-time as a freelancer trying to grow my own business. I like to think that I turned out okay without a degree.

So I guess my question is … does a degree make a better designer or is it all down to natural creative flair, experience and keeping up-to-date with the latest trends?

Local Internet Advertising Can Be Your Best Friend

Advertising online for a business is no longer the wave of the future. The future is now. Online exposures an industry to thousands of people with the click of a button. Most people will see a company's name on the web faster than anywhere in the advertising marketplace. Online has a variety of different advertising methods that one can utilize. There are national sites, as well as local sites. Free listings, paid ads, text, pictures, blogs, and pop ups are just a few methods. One can spend as much money or as little money, as they want to on promotional campaigns.

The type of business needing advertisements can help determine which sites to display. For example, when selling cars, a good placement is a website that sells auto parts or auto insurance. Any site connected to automobiles, including parts, service, or information is a good target site.

Public blog sites are an option that gets many hits. Place blogs about the company on public websites. There are local blog sites as well as national ones. Companies can also create their own blog page to boost content, links and visibility. A smaller business is well-suited to advertising online locally to reach the public sector they wish to reach. There is no need to advertise nationally without the business operates nationwide.

A key to advertising local online is to use search engine optimization (SEO). This is a method of taking the words a person may use in a search, and applying them to the advertisement text. The more search words used in the advertisement, the more people that will hit on the targeted site. If the desire is local advertising, add the preferred location so it will appear on a local search.

Utilize all the free listings, and place as many free ads as possible. The more times a business manages to place a listing, the higher it will rank. This ranking determinates in what order the site will come up compared to others when a search is launched.

Every company also needs a web page. Create one, even if it is only one page. The more colorful and graphic the page is, the more attention it will draw. Anytime a business places an ad, a picture should accompany the text if possible. Use photos that promote the business, but will also grab attention. It will not matter what the text says, unless the public is enticed to read it. Keyword research and careful selection of terms will help target potential clients. Learn to grab public attention, and the rest will follow.

Job Interview Tips for Pharmaceutical Sales Positions

Job interviews for pharmaceutical sales are unlike other types of job interviews. These interviews are used to assess whether a candidate is suitable in the sales environment in addition to reviewing background histories and skills. Interviewers would often ask tricky questions that test the personalities of candidates in order to determine sales potential.

If during a pharmaceutical sales interview and the reviewer asks you a question on whether you prefer to work alone or with others in groups, you have to be careful here. If you say a solo environment is definitely better, they may not see you as a team player. If you say that you prefer working in groups, they might think that you would not be effective in sales since most of the time, pharmaceutical reps are out in the field on their own.

Therefore, the safest route to take here is to say that you like both environments and can be effective in both. When you are alone, you can be effective as an independent worker. Then when you are working with others in group projects or at meetings, you can also work effectively in teams.

You must convey the impression during a job interview that your skills enable you to excel in both scenarios. Do not get fooled by the interviewer's trick question. Here's an effective response;

"I like both. I realize that most of the time, reps work alone and I certainly can be effective in this mode. good working mix in my mind. "

Asking you about your strengths during an interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself. Asking you about weaknesses is another matter and is another example of a tricky question. You must be careful here not to expose any specific weak skills that may hurt you during an interview. Whenever I interviewed questions about my weaknesses during my interviews, I counted with something like this;

"In all honesty, the only weakness I think I have is a lack of industry specific experience since pharmaceutical sales will be new for me. However, I am strong on my communications and sales related skills. am certain that industry specific training that your company could provide will help me make up for this lack of industry experience.

Notice that I bring up the trainability fact in the above statement. It is extremely important that you convey the fact that you are an effective learner of new skills and environments. I use this attribute to effectively wipe out any weaknesses.

Be prepared to answer trick questions during interviews for pharmaceutical sales positions. They are designed to see if you really have what it takes to be in sales. Learn all you can about the pharmaceutical sales job and focus on selling your skills as well as personal attributes.

Freshwater Aquarium Maintenance – Top 4 Areas You Should Not Ignore

Freshwater aquarium maintenance is a priority for any tank owner who wants to display a variety of healthy vibrant fish. Having a filthy fish tank will only cause issues for your little swimmers as well as the room you have your display. If you do not want unusual odors surfacing, or waking up one morning only to see some of your species floating upside down, there are a few things to check for.

First , the all important water in the aquarium must be maintained. This is where you can look into purchasing filters that will make your water maintenance self-cleaning. That's right, filters will help get rid of dirt, odor, discoloration and any general impurities.

The downside is that depending on the filter, you may have to change them every 3-4 weeks. If this is not a problem then you're in for a real treat. Some filters are disposable and can be replaced so there is no hassle, and you can keep the water clean.

Second , Algae are one of the most common problems and can ruin even the most beautiful tanks becoming an eye sore to you and other viewers. There are a few remedies you can use to combat the algae, such as purchasing Plecostomus. Known as algae eaters, this fish will chomp away keeping your freshwater aquarium clean as can be. These fish are not known to be "lookers" but they will get the job done. If you rather pass on the species then you may have to remove them by hand. If you want to remove by hand but you want to minimize the amount you do remove, consider that any exposure to sun will allow the algae to thrive.

Third , you walk into the room where your fish tank is located and you notice a strong scent, what do you do? Change your filter more regularly to ensure this does not occur often, because this can kill your fish if it goes untreated.

Fourth thing should not ignore is unclear water. Is your freshwater aquarium looking a little murky? Determine the "root" cause, possibly your overfeeding. Try not to give your fish more than the recommended amounts instead feed them 2-3 times daily. This will reduce the unclear water, if not use use distilled water or bottled water.

Change the water at least every two weeks if not every week but only about 20 percent of it. Many use siphons to drain the water and then replace it. Understand that eventually the aquarium tank will need to be cleaned which can be a pain experience for many. As bad as the experience may be you have to do it if you want your fish to stay healthy. During this process, use a sponge and gently scrub the aquarium glass and remove everything that is stuck there. Some opt to use scrapers but if you have an acrylic aquarium, this process can be damaging. Soak any decorations you have in your aquarium in hot water with a bit of salt and scrub clean. Do not use soap; the residue will kill your fish very quickly.

Finally , when refilling your tank remember to keep the water temperature the same as the fish can live in. Important Tip: Do not use water from the faucet because it is not designed to help the fish, instead boil 5-10 gallon bucket of distilled water let it cool and use.