Will extra associate's matter?

So I’m currently attending a CC for the last semester of gen ed I needed before I transfer to ID school here in Louisiana. In order to fill up my schedule a little more, I took some extra classes in the Digital Media Design program they offer at the community college. Basically I did some figuring and if I spent one extra year here before I transferred, at no cost whatsoever due to scholarships, I could have an extra Associate’s in Digital Media Design before I start ID school. It consists mainly of graphic design, motion graphics/video, web design, and some 3d animation. While I realize none of it really directly related to ID, will it look good on my resume to have that extra degree, or would it make more sense to just transfer and get my BA in ID a year earlier? I don’t know if that’s something employers will see as a supplementary skill set, or just an irrelevant associates degree from a community college.

It certainly won’t hurt. All things being equal (portfolio, personality, experience) it is great to have an edge and those classes will help you when putting together presentations or making a web portfolio, not to mention the potential ability to freelance during ID school in graphics and web… on the flip side, you could get to ID school faster, so it is really a personal choice here. There is no clear right or wrong decision.

What ID school do you have your eyes on?

I’m going to be going to University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I’ve also been trying to find information on how it stands in the ID world because it’s the only ID program in Louisiana and I really don’t want to have to move for now (one year old son, have family here). I’m totally willing to move for work, but it’s unrealistic right now. It might also be worth noting that I’m 23, which is another reason finishing my Bachelor’s sooner rather than later is appealing.

One of my professors from S.U. is a professor at that school now.


He was relatively old-school, even when I was there, but an extremely good craftsman and has ‘walked the walk’ as a design professional. I can’t speak to the competitiveness of that program but will vouch for Malinowski as a professor…he’s all about “you get out what you put in”.

The added skills could serve as a decent hedge/fallback position if even after school you are unable or unwilling to move. Plus, education for free is kind of a no brainer. :smiley:

If they s is the question,I’d say the answer is no. A degree froma CC means nothing, especially what sounds like a very general intro to photoshop kind of program.

That said, the skills you pick up might be worthwhile, but I’d look really hard into what the course and skill level is before deciding if it’s useful. Most CC courses are pretty basic.

As for the education being free, it might be free financially but a year is still worth something. Time you could be already in you ID education, doing an internship somewhere, working a non design job to pay for classes (or baby), or something else…

I’d look at all your options.


I’d tend to agree with Richard on this. The degree itself is meaningless, but if you obtained real legitimate skills that would help you present your ID work-- then it’s invaluable. With that said, make sure what you learn is relevant and actually helpful, not just intro level courses to outdated programs (that you might forget if you never actually use).

And I’ve seen some good work and students out of UL Lafayette. You’ll learn a good set of skills there, though the ID market in that part of the country will be notably less dense than if you had moved closer to a major city. I went to school in Atlanta, and even there felt that the ID options were sometimes limited.

The OP said:

It consists mainly of graphic design, motion graphics/video, web design, and some 3d animation

sounds like a very general intro to photoshop kind of program

One big hurdle most industrial designers have with getting their first jobs in the field is the quality of presentations, and this curriculum could be directly applied to knowing and employing the right 2D techniques to make the ID work stand out. It will even help with coming into the I.D. program.

I’d agree that the actual degree won’t mean too much to prospective ID employers but as a head of household, having marketable skills even peripherally related to your chosen design field could come in handy should ID jobs not present themselves immediately upon graduation. Or you could find some part time work/internship in a firm or production house using those skills.

Well I guess it seems like if it comes down to more effectively presenting my portfolio, I would think that’s something I could learn in supplementary classes at UL as opposed to taking unnecessary credits for the associate’s (3d character rigging, etc) that wouldn’t affect that aspect. And the thing is I’ve had some natural success at graphic design already (freelance work, a part time job doing packaging, 3 internships) over the past year, so I feel like even without a degree I’ll be able to hustle up that kind of work if necessary. I really just wanted to figure out what it will mean to employers looking through a stack of applications/portfolios.

Also, besides joining IDSA and being willing to move after graduating, is there anything else I can do to broaden job prospects as a graduate from a lesser-known school? Contests? Conferences? Internships?

And thanks for all the advice so far, professional opinions are hard to come by in Lafayette as you can imagine.

To answer your original question, no an extra associates degree will not matter. Based on the consensus I would read this as fact. While the skills you could learn while earning it could be valuable, nothing beats professional experience in my opinion. All things being equal I would take a year on the job any day. Ah that’s right though all things are never equal are they?

I think it depends on where you are in terms of skill / confidence level and if you are truly ready to consider relocating when the call comes. Might another year in town benefit your family? What if you don’t decide to pursue it and it takes you 18 months to land a gig? Could you opt out now and return after your ID diploma if need be? But these only apply if the courses are of genuine interest to you. If you are simply considering it to ‘stand out’ (which it kind of sounds is the case?) you could spend a year sketching every damn day and I guarantee that would make you stand out more than claiming you know how to animate fabric blowing in the wind.