Making a complete career change not so scary after all


I was a non-traditional student who was making a complete career change after 20 years of working in the retail management industry. I never worked with Adobe InDesign or Illustrator, I didn’t have graphic design when I was in high school and I didn't know what preflight was. I felt like I would be light-years behind the other students straight out of high school. I’m now proficient in Creative Cloud applications and on a Mac, which is important to know going into design jobs.   

Thanks to the amazing teachers, adjuncts and staff in the graphic design department at Harper College, I was able to not only finish my associate's degree, but also able to exceed most people’s expectations of learning in a two-year program. While going on interviews since graduating in December 2016, I’ve received many compliments on my portfolio and they’re always shocked at what I’ve learned in two years at Harper. New employers are impressed with my sketching, research and file organization, which usually aren’t the fun parts of design work, but are essential to success. The fact that I’ve learned to plan ahead and meet deadlines is an asset that employers are looking for, and I owe this to my teachers at Harper. 

Another skill I learned in my graphic design classes is the importance of preflight. I was the art and design editor for our student-run liberal arts magazine, Point of View, for the 2016 school year. I created the entire 48 page magazine from scratch, setting the proper bleeds, using master pages, converting images to CMYK, double-checking links and keeping everything clean and organized. After uploading my job for print at a nearby printing company who has been printing our Point of View  magazine for decades, I was informed that this was the first time they didn’t have to fix anything. My preflight was perfect and the manager came to Harper to shake my hand. He was more than impressed. I have Patty, Kelly, Jay, Nancy, and Bon at Harper College to thank for their talent and skills which they instilled in me. 

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Learn more about the graphic arts program at Harper College and get started today.


Last Updated: 5/23/22