The transition from college to the professional world is difficult no matter what you study in school. Recent graduates must learn to navigate stricter schedules and are often taking on more responsibility than ever. Even after earning a degree for their profession, students often transition into the working world unprepared for the challenges they will face. As a young design professional, below are some of the challenges my peers and I have faced.
Technical Skills and Processes
Designing in school is comparable to child’s play when contrasted with the process in industry. While working on material palettes featured in my school portfolio, I would scroll through manufacturers’ websites, or sometimes simply perform a search on Google, selecting attractive items or features, with only a basic understanding of acceptable applications. I especially had no knowledge of the cost or maintenance requirements related to my selections. Other skills I learned outside of school include the construction document submittal process and how to design within complicated existing spaces, as opposed to starting with a blank slate. Conceptual design tends to be more simplified in the working world, and often the story is already given to you by the client. Overall, many of the factors most important to a job in the real world are not covered well in design school curriculum.
During the final year of studies, students are often required to take a professional development course to prepare them for post-graduate life at a design firm. While the intention is spot-on, the execution is somewhat lacking. After two years in the industry, I’ll admit that preparing students for this transition is not easy. Topics that could be explored:
In school, students are given weeks or months to design floor plans and develop 3D renderings, while drawings are expected completed within hours in corporate America. Students are expected to spend days pouring into essays and hours editing - an unrealistic timeline in a working world that lives by “the faster, the better.”
All students walking out of design school and into interviews have the same resumes listing the same skills and a few internships. You still need your degree to practice in this profession, but what will really make a difference in getting a job is the connection you make through light-hearted conversations and your network within the profession.
One point above that isn’t listed and has been a new problem for the past two years is COVID and the result of working remote. Fortunately, at JZ Design Group, we have not been affected and continue to come into the office to work and collaborate amongst our team members. Not only am I able to learn from all my peers and get the proper mentorship in today’s world, but I have also worked on many different projects and in all phases of design at such a young point in my career.
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JZ Design Group is capable of multidisciplinary design and architecture, with a team ready to take on any challenge. We bring quality, care and extensive experience to each project and look forward to our future opportunities.
Posted: June 1, 2022