Further Education

Hello all,

A year ago I graduated from NCSU with a B.A. in Industrial Design. Since then I have been working a paid internship for a group of Product Design Engineers. I’m currently pursuing another job that is more design related, but it still has its roots in engineering. After I start working a job full-time that is not an internship I would like to start working on a Master’s degree.

My question to you all is what engineering degree should I look into that would positively impact my career as a designer? Also I would like to know if there is any information out there pertaining to the feasibility of me pursuing a Master’s in Engineering with a background BA in Industrial Design.

Incase you are in need of more information pertaining to the type of work I plan on pursuing here are a few extra tidbits. I have a background involving sketching, rendering, 3-D modeling, and metal/plastic/woodworking. For my next job I am looking for something that will help me to continue to grow and develop these skills. Especially in the realm of sketching.

If you have any other suggestions as to a Master’s Degree outside of Engineering that will compliment my undergrad degree feel free to express your opinion on that matter as well. I am open to any suggestions as I begin researching a way to expand my horizons and increase my educational value.

Thank you kindly in advance.

Justin T-

I’m confused, in your next job you want something that will help you grow your design skills?

“I have a background involving sketching, rendering, 3-D modeling, and metal/plastic/woodworking. For my next job I am looking for something that will help me to continue to grow and develop these skills. Especially in the realm of sketching.”

But you want a masters in engineering?

A BA in ID does not give e you the base requirements to obtain a Masters in Engineering.

I believe my original post was fairly confusing. The post above mine simply answered the question I was looking for concerning the degree in engineering. I mainly want to further my education while I continue to gain experience from work, but am not sure what to pursue. I’m not sure if a Master’s in ID will be very useful, but I could be wrong.

I wanted to go back for something to help increase my technical side to further enhance my overall knowledge of how things work. In a way I feel that will help me out as a designer, but it seems like my options are fairly limited now. Outside of continuing to gain experience from working and personal practice I’m not sure as to what my next steps should be to further make myself more desirable as a designer.

Please correct me if I am interpreting your posts wrong but here is my impression.

You’d like to work as an Industrial Designer but you have had more success in the field of Engineering.
Which translates into you being in the conundrum where you want to make a living, i.e. Engineering but also want to work towards a Design postion.
Is this correct?

You mention core skills you’d like to improve and especially sketching ability.
I feel it is worth pointing out that great sketching (or other core skills for that matter) mean nothing if you have nothing great to sketch.
Unless you want to work as an illustrator or storyboard artist, I’d suggest to figure out what type of ID really interests you and what your goals as a designer really are.

Skills are good but your ability to turn those skills into something useful for the team and client is what will make you successful as a designer.

Thank you for taking the time out to post Bepster.

Your interpretation is fairly accurate. Since graduating from college I’ve been offered an internship working with Product Design Engineers. Since then a lot of my work has been more engineering related than design. I don’t really sketch anymore at work, because the group has a design studio up North that does the initial ideation. Then as common practice the engineers take those designs and make them into something practical and manufacturable. On a daily basis I hear/see some of the mistakes designers make when it comes to instances of 3-D modeling and meeting the goals of the target client/audience. I’ve learned a new 3-D modeling program and still perform those tasks when needed. These connections have opened up another door for me. This next job I’m working on landing will involve more sketching, modeling, and manufacturing duties. It’s another group of engineers, but they said I have the skills they are looking for. Seems like I’ll be helping out everywhere from Ideation to Prototype development. In the case of the prototypes here they usually involve various levels of 3-D modeling, metal work, wood work, and some plastic. Kind of like a jack-of-all-trades deal.

So yes you are correct. I’ve had more success in the field of engineering and am ultimately working on finding a job that is more design related. I know for ID I want to work in product development. I like opportunities that have a diverse range of work. Such as working on a design for a toddler one week, and an elder the next. I enjoy instances that challenge my way of thinking; forcing me to expand. So I do believe that my current success with engineering roles has as you’ve stated, led to my conundrum of wanting to pursue engineering academically to make me more proficient at what I do.

In the meantime I’ll remember your last bit of advice about the implementation of skills. That was very well said and I appreciate it.

getting a job out of school is success, definitly. But don’t let the first gig define your entire career.
Are you working with another, more senior ID at your current job, or just with Engineering? It sounds like your not.

In regards to no_spec. I completely agree with your statement. I know for certain what I’m currently doing at the moment isn’t really holding my interest, but I’m maintaing it to help build the much needed 1-2 years experience every job “expects” you to have. So I’m fortunate to have such a great team and boss, but this isn’t what I want my career to revolve around.

When I first started ~10 months ago I had a project I was collaborating on with a few of the designers from the company’s design studio. Since then I haven’t really had much contact with them since their studio and the office I work from are ~8-9hrs apart. So about 95% of my time has been with engineering and packaging development.

well use that to your advantage for now.
not to sound cynical, but engineers very often push for the fastest, cheapest execution possible and ask ID to just put some lipstick on it at the end. I fear that without guidance of a senior designer, knowing when to push back and how hard, your work/portfolio may suffer. As you apply for your next job be sure to include your idealized starting points and not just the final production parts. (young designers are often infatuated with anything that makes it to market)

Congrats on graduation - I came from NCSU too :wink:

I agree with the comments so far… decide what kind of designer you want to be and then figure out the steps/skills/experience it will take to get there.

This would be the time to do projects on the side and start building a network. Find out any weak points from them and work to get better.

If you’re dead set on Engineering, you’ll have to take prerequisites. Mechanical or Human Factors might be good directions, but it won’t make you a designer when you finish.

If you’re considering MA ID, try doing personal work first with guidance (post it here if you want to grow & have thick skin), then see where that gets you… check old posts too, similar topics come up before

@ no_spec Thank you kindly, and I will continue to use that to my advantage. I believe you would be right to fear about the lack of guidance from a senior designer. For the next place I’m trying to get into I know of at least one senior industrial designer who’s been with the company a long time. I don’t know him personally, but I work with his son who is an engineering contractor for the group I am currently with. In the event I get the job I’ll be sure to seek his guidance when need be (that is if it’s okay with him).

Speaking of portfolio, I’ve been wanting to make a professional website (well attempt to make), but I haven’t the slightest idea as to how to code or where to begin. I have a few really good graphic designer friends, but since graduation we’ve all moved states apart so it’s a little hard to gain their assistance. So, does anyone know of a place to point me so that I can learn/attempt to create my own website? I’ve heard of Cargo and Wordpress, but haven’t really found out how to use them.

@ Travisimo Thank you and that’s awesome to hear!

The bit you’ve said about side-projects is something I’ve known, but tried to ignore. I need to snap out of this laziness and really get back in the ball game. I keep telling myself I’ll do so once I’m able to move and get my own place, but truth is that’s just me stalling. I’m going to work on setting some personal goals for myself so I can refine my skills. When I do I will definitely start posting them here and I expect to hear the honest truth!

I think I was just mainly looking towards engineering given my current circumstances. Maybe instead of going to school I can just continue to do what I do already, which is read/research new technologies, how they work, and devise ways of implementation.