The Road to Success is a Non-Linear Path

mirandaMiranda Urbanski, manger of web marketing and communications at Bell Mobility, came to our class to talk about her non-linear career path, and the fact that there’s more than one way to get to where you’re going. Like many of our guest speakers, she is a graduate of Sheridan’s New Media Program (now called Web Design). She holds various degrees such as a Bachelor and Masters of Fine Art, in addition to many certificates
in Business and Web Marketing. Despite all this, she said her one year at Sheridan was the most useful. This is a comforting thought for us as we finish off the school year. Miranda gave us great advice when it comes to sampling different jobs and weaving our own career paths. Not one path will be the same as another, and Miranda’s is truly unique!

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RGD HeadStart Conference: Part 2

The second half of the RGD HeadStart conference was just as jam-packed with useful information as the first half, plus with extra free goodies (seen above). The presentations exceeded my expectations and made me think about things I wouldn’t have otherwise considered such as how to be a successful freelancer. I also got much needed advice on how to approach interviews, and how to lessen the anxiety when it comes to networking. During the talks, we were encouraged to tweet pieces of information and quotes that we found valuable during the conference. To my utter surprise, I was selected as one of the winners of the contest. I received a book called Playing with Sketches: 50 Creative Exercises for Designers and Artists by Whitney Sherman. As a book lover and artist, I was over the moon. I now have a way to help combat art-block, and I can fill my sketchbooks with new ideas.

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RGD Headstart Conference: Part 1

abby-headstart

I was generously invited to attend the RGD HeadStart Conference by the kind folks over at Creative Niche. HeadStart is RGD‘s largest conference for emerging designers and students. There are various presentations and panels that discuss the latest trends in the design industry, how to land your dream job, how to start a successful freelancing career, and more! Their experienced speakers guided us through the process of creating a strong portfolio, and also gave invaluable interview tips. One-on-one portfolio review sessions allowed industry professionals to give us constructive criticism on our work. It also gave us the chance to practice our interview skills. It was a full, jam-packed day, and I learned so much that it couldn’t be contained in one blog post. Let’s begin!

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The Road Ahead After Graduation

alexander

Alexander Younger, the President and CEO of Design Lab, came by to give us excellent advice regarding the job search process. He talked about the importance of company culture, and the difference between the waterfall and agile working process. Design Lab is an agency in downtown Toronto that has a strong corporate culture and has won many marketing & communications awards. All of their computers are powered by the sun, and they even have a useful green mini site and energy calculator that can help you cut down on energy consumption and costs. Overall, Alexander’s presentation made me more optimistic about job searching.

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SEO Ninjas and Conversion Rate Optimization

Justin

Our next guest speaker was Justin Cook, the Director of Internet Marketing at 9thCO. The company is a web design and marketing agency in downtown Toronto that focuses on search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM) to drive traffic and leads to client websites. Justin gave us a thorough overview of the different roles in an internet marketing firm, and presented many case studies of successful SEO and SEM he experienced with his clients. I’ll be focusing on two topics Justin touched on: SEO and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) — if you haven’t already guessed, there’ll be a lot of acronyms in this post.

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It’s Always Sunny at The Weather Network

John

No one’s ever too old for a field trip, and our class did just that when we visited The Weather Network‘s headquarters in Oakville. We were blown away by the hospitality and kindness of all the employees who work there. The Vice President of Design & UX, John Gallant, welcomed us with open arms and gave us a thorough presentation about the company’s work. We were even treated to a pizza lunch, tour and gifts. We couldn’t ask for more, and we certainly got more than we expected! The trip opened my eyes to the hard work involved in delivering the weather every day.

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Designing Your Resume and Portfolio with the User in Mind

Craig and Adele

Craig Hodges and Adele Wootton came to visit us from Creative Niche, a recruitment management company that helps connect employers with the top talent in the creative industry. Adele is the Director of Client Services, and Craig is the Relationship Manager. They both have many years of experience working in creative recruiting, and shared valuable tips regarding resumes and online portfolios. They covered how to conduct yourself in an interview, soft skills and hard skills, and the difference between working for agencies versus client-side. If you’re looking for a job in the near future (like me), you might want to read this!

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The Highs and Lows of the Web Design Industry

ImageOur first guest speaker after winter break was Lily Varga, the Digital Art Director at TraffikGroup. The company is an integrated advertising agency located in downtown Toronto. They develop strong marketing strategies for clients like Diageo, Canada Dry, Xbox, and many others. Like the majority of our guest speakers, Lily is a former graduate of Sheridan’s Web Design program, and had a lot to say about what life is like after graduation. Before landing her current position, she dipped her feet into various jobs and had many horror stories to tell. Thankfully, her stories all have a happy ending.

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Finals Week and Lessons Learned from My First Semester at Sheridan

code monster

It’s that time of year: the final week when all our projects are due and you think you can’t possibly finish them all. Breathe. Breathe. We can vanquish those monstrous bugs in our code, we can motion-tween our way through gruelling Flash assignments. The end is near, so fight on fellow web designers, fight on! We can do this. We are <strong>

…see what I did there?

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Squeezing Fitness into the Busy Life of a Web Designer

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Long hours of staring in front of a computer screen all day takes a toll on a web designer’s body. You’ll feel it in your wrists, back, hips, neck–and pretty much everywhere. I’m grateful that our class got to go to the gym at Sheridan’s Davis campus where we got a personal fitness assessment by the students of the Sheridan Sports Injury Program. We also learned about proper posture and exercise techniques that we could incorporate into our hectic lifestyles.

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