By Bri Piccari
I just like to know things.
Over the last four years (five if you count the art school year), I've come to realize design is just one of those fields in which you can never stop learning. If you do, you'll easily get left in the dust wondering why on earth you'd want to design anything mobile-first. What I know, right now, will probably be outdated a year, six months, maybe even a week from now. Technology changes everything, it's impossible to guess where we'll be in five years, even one.
If college has taught me anything, it's that you have to at least like what you do. Like it enough to spend hours after work learning new concepts and ideas to keep up with the crowd. After all, if you're going to have to motivate yourself to keep learning about it for the rest of your design career, you're going to have the hardest time if you don't at least enjoy it. I've come to grips with the fact that what I'll know when I graduate this May won't be applicable in a year, maybe even six months from then. Your degree is just a foundation for the blocks you'll have to build and break down as you continue your career. Techniques will change and trends are called trends for a reason - they're just temporary.
Why so much change? Technology; Smart phones, smart glasses and now smart watches create new problems to be solved, and new boundaries to push.
The internet is a goldmine.
With a few keywords and some clicks, you can learn any and everything. Want to learn a new language? That’s easy, just Google it. Always wanted to learn HTML but never knew where to start? Google it.
This abundance of available information makes finding resources easy, but can you trust it all?
The truth is, it doesn’t matter. Learn something new – test, tweak, and adapt because next month there will be something new to learn. You may find a hidden gem, or a not-so-hidden rotten egg. The point is that you found it.
But it has to do with passion & interest.
Some people think that doing what you love or following your dreams is a waste of time – just get a normal job and earn your dollar. My thinking is if you don't have a passion or at least a liking for what you do, then why dedicate the extra time to improve your skills? After a long day of work, school, whatever, going home and sitting down to get through an online course on responsive web design doesn't sound so appealing, but it's something I've managed to push myself to do. There really are not short cuts, at least not until they develop a way to absorb information from books through osmosis.
But there are tons of resources, and many of them are free. For the last year or so I've signed up for about seven different classes on Skillshare, ranging from WordPress basics to how to build a brand. Once you've enrolled in the class you've got that information and its resources forever. Looking to start learning some code? CodeAcademy has got you covered, and it's free. What's better than free? Cupcakes and puppies, but they're not free.
And maybe, just maybe there's a stroke of boredom.
Some things I could do in my sleep, there's others I would rather sleep than do. I'll never know everything about design, and that, right there, is an instant boredom-killer. To stay motivated, inspiration and learning are going to get you through. Looking for a place to start to learn something new? Let me Google that for you.