Hi, thanks for reading.
I am currently at work on my BID. I am wondering how helpful it would be, in terms of being hired by a design firm, to get a minor in Engineering. Would I be better off going straight to a Master’s program? The Master’s would obviously be more fun, but I am intimidated by the debt I would incur at the better schools.
All thoughts appreciated.
Like anything it really depends on what you want to do. I got a BFA in industrial design and then did my concentration (minor) in engineering studies. However at the major university that I attended you were limited to what classes you could take because of some pretty serious math and prerequisite requirements. Because of this I took a lot of entry engineering courses in a lot of different departments including electrical, mechanical, and civil.
I personally loved it because it gave me exposure to different areas and I was able to work on many diverse projects where you did a lot of hands-on testing and application on what you learned. It was much more like taking a lab class than being in a design studio where everything you “test” is pretty much up to you.
Having the engineering background did get me my first real job out of school although it was only an internship / contract position. The work I did was by no means glamorous although the actual project I was a part of was.
It has also proven fairly useful in my current job where I work as part of an in-house design office for a small retail manufacturer. I definately have the vocabulary for speaking with engineers and it gives me some extra credibility around the shop.
As for the masters I would recommending getting a few years of hard work under your belt before you go running into a masters program. I almost did that and as a result of working for a while I decided that what I really want to do isn’t what I would have acheived in an MFA program. Thats why I am now looking at MBA’s as it more closely matches my interests - I wouldn’t have known this would I have gone straight into graduate school. Subsequently I would have wasted several years and more important tens of thousands of dollars on something that in the end might not have put me any closer to the career path I want to be on.
Right now when things are tight and jobs are a little harder to come by I know that graduate school seems like a safe haven for people who are just about to graduate. But I think that if you do get out and struggle for a while to find a good job and work through some real projects, it will give you a better vantage point from which to decide where it is you really want to be. You could end up working for a really good company that guides you into a specialty that would give you a direction and focus for graduate studies. Or like me you could have some rough experiences that make you realize that there have to be better ways of doing things. Again this gives you more perspective on things and brings a much stronger purpose to your graduate work. Otherwise the risk is that you are going to move straight from undergrad in to graduate school and all you are really going to acheive is more of the same.
Would you rather approach a potential company by saying “heres what I did as an undergrad, and heres what I did as a graduate”, and have everything look really safe and for the most part similar. Or would you rather go in and say heres what I did as an undergrad, this is what I did as a professional, heres what I learned from that, and heres how I used that experience to finely tune my craft in two years of directed, in-depth study and implementation." Im generalizing here but I hope you get the direction I’m taking. I think it will offer you more skills and experience that you can leverage for a better position.
1: the best thing to help you get a job is co-op or intern somewhere, the more the better.
2: Marketing minor. ID typically work for/in marketing. this is the pond we swim in, you must know it.
3: Engineering minor. the ability to create manufacturable designs is crucial, if you find math particularly interesting a minor will give you some legitimacy…