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So I've recently enrolled in the industrial design program at the community college in Pittsburgh and surprisingly it's turned out to be better than I thought. I originally planned on using this as a refresher since I have been out of school for a few years and I would transfer back to a four year college again. I feel as though I'll get the education I need to start this career but I don't know how seriously I would be taken even if I had a good portfolio to show.
Any opinions on if I should keep the original plan of pursuing the BA or would the associates still get me into the field?
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the short answer is get the BA, most jobs for assoc are modelmakers or CAD jockies - both soon to become automated.
but a good portfolio will get you noticed regardless of degree, two years probably isn't going to get you competitive with a four year, but if you get in the door somewhere you can work your way up or pay for the four year degree.
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If you have a good portfolio, I wouldn't care one whit what school you attended.
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agreed. Good portfolio will get you the interview. Then I usually do a phone or Skype screen to folder for craziness (you have to do that), step three, come off as knowledgable, perusable, and collaborative in the interview. Where someone went to school doesn't really factor into it for me other than I'm familiar with some of the curriculums of some of the programs out there.
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I would put together a formal portfolio and if possible get some reputable designers to critique it. I remember having classmates when I was like a sophomore/junior who said things like "Ugh I feel I already know the design process and could do well just working right now, I'm not learning anything." and many of those people still cannot find a job. I think its heavily dependent on your portfolio however many times you could be applying through a corporate style website that will filter applications that do not have a BA etc. Just something to think about! I like the idea of associate degrees not that I am done with my BA, because I feel if there was something I wanted to dabble in, it could be a great way to do it.