Back in college I felt like an oddball. Not only did I transfer from computer engineering, to electrical engineering technology, to general engineering, to graphic design… and finished with an art degree. Yep, just an art degree. BA-art. No focus. No speciality, just a whole crazy random spectrum of education.
I wasn’t like any of the other graphic design students who had a specific style and focus–and were really good at it. From circuit logic systems design, to fabric arts (Where I learned how to knit… with rubber bands). From calculus to charcoal drawing. From FORTRAN programming to printmaking. Public speaking, web design/basic HTML, documentary filmmaking, band, DC circuits, typography, CAD, “intro to relaxation“, black and white photography, and even bowling. Needless to say, my college journey rarely makes sense to… well.. anyone.
The same has gone for my skill-set that I now use to pay the bills. I am now finally seeing the benefit of being that oddball in college. With the exponential rate of technology advancing and how many people it now effects, designing for interactive media is becoming more and more complex. Gone are the days when you can have a siloed project workflow. Having a project get passed from specialist, to specialist, to specialist, to specialist, to production just isn’t feasible anymore. Too much in interactive design requires a much more collaborative method to tackle. And having the ability to think cross-discipline–as opposed to specializing in one field–improves communication between the team, but more importantly produces a more unified and coherent product.
Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of space for specialists in the world. However while creating interactive products with technology, the more crossover of skills and interests fosters amazing things. So go ahead, pick up some other interest you have and take one day a week to do whatever that is. You may not even realize how much that random knowledge will apply to your work. But others will.
Featured image (CC). Original photo by Isabelle Boucher