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Too old to switch to the field of graphic art?

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  • Too old to switch to the field of graphic art?

    Hi everyone,

    My background is in education and I am wondering how possible it is to transition to work as a graphic artist? I have taken short courses in Illustrator and Photoshop ( have the ECDL in Photoshop). I have also taken classes in makeup and art and design (aware it's not directly related). I would love to work in this area but I'm in my late thirties so have reservations about pursuing an area I may be too late to pursue...

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum Julesgalwayk.

    Getting some official business out of the way, here are links to the forum rules and some useful information.We screen for spammers, so the first few posts from all new forum member are approved by a moderator. So, if your first posts don't show up immediately, don't be concerned.

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    I hate to sound discouraging, but it's getting to the point where it's difficult to break into this field without a four-year degree in design. A few courses in graphics software isn't really enough to land a job. Unfortunately, a course on how to use a hammer doesn't make one a carpenter.

    Two or three decades ago some basic production knowledge might have gotten you a beginning graphic arts job, but it's all changed. It's difficult to even get your foot in the door without multiple advanced skills, internships and that all-important degree.

    As for your age, well, beginning graphic design jobs are targeted largely at people in their twenties, but I don't think your age is a deal killer. The real question, I suppose, is whether or not you want to head back to college and start over again with no guarantee that it'll work out.

    Comment


    • Julesgalwayk
      Julesgalwayk commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks , I have the option of doing a year fulltime course in Graphic Design ( an associates type diploma) which would involve relocating to another town.. assuming this still wouldn't be enough to get a foot in the door in the industry as it isn't a full degree ?

    • B
      B commented
      Editing a comment
      Well, I don't know. Increasingly a four-year degree is needed to get past HR hiring requirements in many companies.

      Your situation might be a little different, though. You mentioned a background in education, so if you've already got a four-year degree there, and if a subsequent Associate degree was added in design that somehow added up to being qualified for a design job in an education-oriented position, that mix just might be an interesting and compelling set of qualifications to the right employer. Of course, even in that event, you'd still need an excellent portfolio, but it could work.

      I'm familiar with several people who've leveraged previous experience to transition from one field to another in mid-career sorts of move. For example, I had a co-worker who was a 4th grade school teacher for 15 years before moving into journalism where she specialized in writing and reporting on education issues. She got the job because she had insight into a field that a 22-year-old, fresh-out-of-journalism-school rookie wouldn't have had.

  • #3
    Thanks for your advice, and guess that's why I am reluctant to pursue a degree or take more classes. I was looking at a short fulltime course in Graphic Design here in Ireland (one year long) but if it wouldn't get me in the door back in the US it may be pointless.. I really enjoy using the software and imagine jobs using Photoshop predominantly like retouching are probably very hard to get too...

    Comment


    • #4
      If you're talking about getting a job mostly retouching photos, then no, I think you're out of luck. Photographers like to do their own manipulation of photos, retouching and all. Even in a production environment, such as a magazine, manipulating photos would be just a very small part of what you'd be doing. That's usually done as a part of building ads, and unless photos are the main portion of the magazine, such as in a fashion publication, a lot of time isn't spent on that.
      No cell phone, no Facebook, no iAnything. Am I missing something?

      Comment


      • Julesgalwayk
        Julesgalwayk commented
        Editing a comment
        Appreciate the feedback, thanks, Julie.

    • #5
      I didn't study in this field until my late 20's, and graduated in my early 30's. I remember people back in the 1990's discouraging me and telling me, 'it might not work out', 'there's no jobs' or 'they only employ the A+ students'.

      Well, here I am 20+ years later and still working in the industry. So I say if it's something you really want to do, then pursue it. A good foundation of design study is very important. It's not easy. But most careers that are worthwhile are not easy. And it's not often glamorous like some people imagine (but sometimes it is!). Try and have a plan B if possible though. Best of luck.

      Comment


      • Julesgalwayk
        Julesgalwayk commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the encouraging words, Pavlo

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