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Old 09-07-2020, 05:28 PM   #1
w00tus
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Question Guidance on picking a college for digital graphic design.


Hello all!

TL;DR version - only read the bold print

I've been searching for a while, but I'm a fish out of water on this one.

This community has, over the years, been the friendliest and most blunt/truthful, most knowledgeable (in facts, experience and wisdom) and supportive group of people I've ever had the pleasure of being a part of both online and in real life. I'm not saying that to kiss booty, it's true and I'm more thankful than I can really express. This forum alone has gotten me jobs, saved me on jobs, guided me in projects that later turned into jobs and all the way around filled me with confidence and good feels. You guys/gals have told me what I needed to know and what I needed to hear, even and especially when I didn't want to hear it. From the bottom of my nerdy heart, thank you.

So, onto my conundrum..

I've got a G.I. Bill that is sitting around collecting dust. I wanted to go to engineering college, but through no fault of anyone other than my own - that's just not a possibility. One, I slacked off in high school so my transcripts suck and in truth, I'm just not smart enough. I'm not butt hurt about either of those facts, it just is what it is. A chimpanzee can't be a rocket surgeon any more than Nikola Tesla could have bench pressed a bus. To be clear, I'm not giving up on inventing - I'm just going to do it on my own time and dime.

Now, something I do really enjoy and can spend hours and hours on happily is graphic design. I have no talent, as is evidenced by the 3d software I use - DAZ3D. I'm an old hand with Photoshop - but that's the extent of my skills. Now, this is something I think I can monetize. I can sell content on online stores like DAZ's, Renderosity, etc etc.. Also, I can sell assets on Steam. Who knows, I might even be able to make beautiful to look at JRPGs that bring $9.99 a pop?

So I would like to find the best available online college for digital graphic design. My G.I. Bill will cover four years up to a maximum of 20K per year. I'd have a hard time going to a physical location since I still have bills to pay and need a constant stream of jobs. A course where I could get the learnin' and do the assignments during the hours of the day I'm free would be killer.

What do you all think? Know any designers that are awesome and happen to know where they went? Are you awesome and where did you go, lol? What would you all suggest?

Thank you in advance for all the advice!
 
Old 09-09-2020, 09:08 AM   #2
business_kid
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Hi w00tus,

FWIW, I got into a 5 year engineering degree that turned into a 4 year halfway through. I didn't come out actually knowing less than when I went in, but except for a few subjects I didn't know an awful lot more. It was Electronic Engineering and I had been a top class techie before, and took the early exit on year three because there was no teaching, they were just saying stuff at us and running when we asked questions after the degree was shortened. So it was 'knowledge bulimia;' learn it for the test & forget it after. The lecturers had to come and ask me about a part I used in my project .

May I suggest you post in English? You have an awful lot of slang in there, and I can't make much of it because I'm not where you're from.

Last edited by business_kid; 09-09-2020 at 09:12 AM.
 
Old 09-09-2020, 05:17 PM   #3
w00tus
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I hate to hear that.. It's one of the fears I have of college. I've tried to work with college graduates before and.. Unfortunately I've not been very impressed.

Perhaps my grasp of slang is severely lacking. I try to use slang to sound less pompous. I get accused of sounding like a know-it-all d-bag pretty frequently, lol.

She short of what I'm asking, in English, is for a suggestion for a college of good reputation that teaches digital graphical design.

Last edited by w00tus; 09-09-2020 at 05:18 PM. Reason: Punctuation.. Ironically.
 
Old 09-10-2020, 04:47 AM   #4
business_kid
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Where are you based? Exactly where?

Personally, I feel the biggest danger always is what happened to me. Being tutored in a fast moving industry, by slow moving lecturers. People "retire" into lecturing. The network guy in my college, for instance, was brilliant at networks, but he never got seriously into IPV6, which is the coming thing. I had to take a year off between year 2 & year 3 to look after my wife, and designed my year 3 project. I was in Electronic Hardware, planned an early exit, and the I just wouldn't have time to do it justice. I came to him when I had my final year project. He wouldn't take the project on, because the board ran too fast (only 250Mhz). BTW, motherboards run significantly faster. I hand designed my pcb using linux with techniques learned in the 1990s as a techie. I gather they were using some windows package, hitting 'autoroute' and hoping. It evidently didn't work, so their software sucked. The guy I eventually got to tutor me hadn't a clue, but I taught him! Lucky I knew what I was doing even if he didn't. But what did I learn? It stretched me, but 90% of what I learned was from my own research.

A college will have the software, but will they have the expertise? Is the expertise 20 years old? I think you have an opportunity not open in any other year because of Covid: If there's online tuition, you could study anywhere. I only know the colleges hereabouts. The big names here can be stale institutions. There are also some Colleges which were at a much lower level but have been re-positioned as Universities. They are generally poor. In any University, They will have the latest software, but getting to see some recent work from the lecturers is crucial. If they're offended that you ask, beware.

Don't neglect the BBC Open University. That is a combination of online lectures, and local supervision. Standards are generally high. They have remote centres, where practical tuition work is handled. There might be one nearby in the US, allowing study from home. That would cut expenses, if your folks could live with you . Beware of lecturers who 'retired' into their permanent, pensionable job on the back of their PHDs. Lecturers set the next year's curriculum. They are naturally slow to go where they haven't gone before. In Ireland, I would recommend UCD (ucd.ie), Kevin Street, I've heard good about, Limerick (ul.ie), but it's small. Kevin Street (dit.ie) is fairly good where I've seen it but is one of these 'jumped up' colleges. YMMV. Also, Letterkenny college is offering 3 & 4 year courses. Don't know about the online side. You'll have to check. This might be a cheaper option. Dublin is hugely expensive to live in.

Last edited by business_kid; 09-10-2020 at 04:50 AM.
 
Old 09-12-2020, 02:36 PM   #5
w00tus
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Springfield, MO. United States.

I've never heard of the BBC Open University! Thank you! I pretty frequently visit the Kahn Academy to help here and there with the traditional subjects.

That is a really good point - a professor wouldn't have much reason to keep up with the bleeding edge of technique. Since all he has to do is sit on his butt and get paid no matter what. Colleges being completely worthless (at least here in the states) has been known for a while. But, despite pretty much everyone knowing this, colleges continue to make money because the little pieces of paper they give out carry weight for no reason. If it weren't for my G.I. Bill (it's a thing you get when you join the Army that pays for college), I wouldn't even be considering it. I'd just hate to waste it. Plus, the government is trying to get rid of this G.I. Bill, to include refusing to honor the contracts that where signed. (Who's going to sue them, right? Well, you could, but you're not going to get a lein on the White House as a judgement - their's no way to actually collect even if you do win.)

I never thought about that - asking the professor to see their current work. That's a great idea.

If the thing I have to pay for college was set up so that I just had 30k a year to throw at college in general (which it's not), I would go to a technical college and take every course they have. I'd get certified as a plumber, electrician, mechanic, nurse, pilot, everything. With that much schooling and a stack of certifications, I'd most likely never have to worry about what I can do to make money ever again. "You need someone to run your restaurant? I'm on it! Your particle accelerator is running sideways? Lemme get my tuning fork!" I'd be making all my income the same way I'm making it now, except I'd be getting paid top wage instead of 10-50% the going rate for whatever it is with how quickly and well I do the job not counting for anything towards my reputation.
 
Old 09-12-2020, 06:38 PM   #6
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I'm seeing nothing but complaints about colleges in general and professors.

Did you not look any up yourself?

Don't go, because from what I'm hearing, you think most schools are a waste, the teachers aren't much better, and it'll be just as wasteful of the benefit as not using it.

Or, search for schools which have this curriculum, see if they have online options, and then ask people if they have any thoughts to share about whichever schools you find.
 
Old 09-12-2020, 08:10 PM   #7
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In my experience college/university does teach the subject you’re there for, but mostly it teaches you how to learn...

Perhaps someone will make the recommendations the OP has asked for; but I agree they need to do some other research:
Quote:
... search for schools which have this curriculum, see if they have online options, and then ask people if they have any thoughts to share about whichever schools you find.
 
Old 09-12-2020, 09:31 PM   #8
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Key point there scasey. Thanks for the reminder.

I got my bachelor's 30+ years ago, and occasionally tried some masters courses.

But raising a family, doing a career, it didn't happen. I had a coworker who did, and he just started part time, day #1 in his first professional job. So he stayed with it and got the degree. We talked about it, and having had some courses, I knew that it wasn't really far more difficult than the bachelor's, or also that the experiences we were attaining at work were similarly educational. He said absolutely. We acknowledged that with a higher degree, companies would generally pick the MS first and pay more. Given our age, we also worked with a lot of people who had no degrees. He did make the point that the BS meant that someone could complete a challenging curriculum and be successful, the MS took that to a higher level and with a thesis you demonstrated a greater level of commitment and also focused expertise.

I agree with that. College is always worthwhile but also it is what one makes of it.

I sort of feel as with exercise, I hear people say that they hate it, but you have to do it. I like working out, I liked college, and I like my career. I never considered those things to be chores. So ... sorry w00tus, but my interpretation is that you have the GI bill, so may as well use it, kinda sounds like, "Well, if I have to..."
 
Old 09-13-2020, 12:04 AM   #9
scasey
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Both of my daughters have masters degrees. One is a COO of a company in no way related to her area of study. Was she smart before she got educated? Certainly. Did her education (learning how to learn) help her to advance? Absolutely...

The other is working in her area of study. Since that’s “public service” there’s less monitory reward...but she is also very successful.
 
  


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