Career Advice

Hi to anyone reading this.
I’ve been around a few forums, looking for answers to a few career questions but I can’t seem to find a good answer.

A little background. I’m 30 years old, newly married, working at a job I don’t enjoy in a foreign country and looking to get into professional graphic (or motion) design. I went to school for art in my twenties and have always kept up my drawing skills, but life got in the way and I couldn’t really afford the time to pursue my creative goals. Now, I feel as though that time is running out. Although I know I’m not old, I feel as if the window of choices I have is getting smaller as time goes on and responsibilities stack.

I have recently been taking courses on Udemy for Illustrator and After Effects, but the more I learn the more I find myself unable to apply it to anything. I have no idea what the next step is. I keep reading about interning and just sticking with it but I can’t afford to. Does anyone have any ideas? I wouldn’t even know what to put in my portfolio. I’m a bit lost. Any advice would be great. Thanks.



Ravaa, welcome to the forum and congratulations on your recent marriage.

Is 30 too late for a career change? No. Can you get into the graphic design / motion design industry? Yes. Can you make decent money at this? Yes.

I could end here, be a cheerleader, mention that your art background will be helpful, mention that your motivation to learn will be helpful, and tell you that you can do it.

But you need a reality check, too.

Design is a tough field. The barriers to entry are low. This means there are a lot of designers – and a lot of designers willing to work for not much money. Designers are tasked with more and more and expected to wear a big array of hats. Designer, social media expert, web designer, UI / UX expert, coder, email marketer . . . I could go on. Everyone has access to all of the pro-level Adobe programs for a few bucks a month. This means a lot of non-designers are doing design. Good enough is good enough for a lot of clients.

Can you make a career switch at 30, learn design, and make a descent living? Yes; but you’ll need to craft a very strategic plan for getting from point A to point B. Your plan will need to take into account all of the challenges you’re going to face.

It sounds money is a big consideration. I’m not sure how much you’re making right now, but don’t think that all you have to do is take a few online courses and put your name out there and you’ll replace your current income.


Just to add a bit to Steve’s excellent response, if you are willing to learn more about tech than aesthetics, you’re more likely to succeed in today’s graphic design industry.

Ravaa! Congrats on your marriage. :slight_smile:

When you mentioned Udemy I cringed, but I suppose it will suffice for some software knowledge. :thinking:

Did you check out TheFutur? They have some really good videos on their youtube channel. Might get inspired from them and take it from there. As for the rest, it feels like we’re a bit in the same boat. I’m also feeling time ticking away and I wasted a lot of years. Also almost 30 and scared like hell about starting over.

As I still have to go through this phase I can’t really help you too much with it but to say just soak up good information like a sponge and create. Do you work fulltime or part-time?
Sounds like your job is taking away too much energy to be able to do any graphic- mograph work in your pastime, you know. I went through that for years. Got to find a job that allows you to work on your other skills. Ofcourse it’s easier said than done, but not impossible.

Is there something bad a bout Udemy? I was just trying to get some knowledge on the adobe suite that was a bit more structured. Doing random tutorials from youtube didn’t seem too effective.

I work full-time, so yeah its real draining. Thanks for the advice.

Yes totally agree to all, you are never late! just be ambitious and you will definitely succeed. Took knowledge of your field as much as possible because the more we know the more we grow. Best of luck!

I beg to differ. There are thousands of wannabe heroes out there with only tech skills (with varying degrees of ability), but the one thing that sustains a long term career is the ability to solve problems and visually represent an idea or an emotion (usually both). This takes experience, a honed understanding of aesthetics and most of all, an enquiring and inquisitive mind. It does not take killer photoshop skills.

Of course you have to have technical ability as well. Only at that point will you have a viable skill set that means you can keep your head above water for longer periods of time and build a career.

Notice the difference between the bolded phrases. I wasn’t talking long-term.

I’m fully aware that aesthetics are important in the field of graphic design in the long-term. But we are currently in a period when aesthetics are getting less emphasis than tech, if not overlooked altogether. Aesthetics are not recognized in the automated sorting and discarding process of thousands of online resumes. But tech skills are easily listed and recognized in a keyword search. And it’s getting easier to fake knowledge of aesthetics with the increasing ubiquity of clip-art, stock photos, and templates.

If artificial intelligence learns to scan and distinguish quality in online portfolio images more accurately than humans, emphasis on aesthetics over tech may eventually be restored.

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