Graphic Design: Degree Or No Degree?

Through my design career I have come across many job adverts for a graphic designer 'with a degree'. It always made me feel a little frustrated – "If I do not have a degree do you automatically assume I will not be good enough to join your company?". Surely a designer's portfolio and / or experience should say more than a piece of paper with a qualification on it.

I studied for a higher national diploma in graphic design at college and when the course finished I had the chance of pursuing a degree in graphic design or go for an advanced diploma in art and design. One of my lecturers told me that the degree contained more theory work where the advanced diploma was more practical. I opted for the practical work … after all that's what graphic design is.

The advanced diploma was only a year of study but most of the work was project based even if the deadlines were a bit too generous at times. However, since leaving college (armed with my qualifications) I admit that I learn more during my first design role and by teaching myself. That kind of education never stops with the design world and technology continuously changing.

This led me to question the importance of a degree as a designer and I know that I'm not the only one to ask this. In my honest opinion a degree does not automatically make someone more creative and successful than a designer who is self taught or who has learnt on the job. Their portfolio should be the strongest reflection of their skills and abilities especially when it comes to finding employment. Do companies advertising for a designer 'with a degree' honestly think that they are going to employ a better designer or is it a status thing?

Now I know that things have changed since I was at college so I thought I had a look at what degree courses my local college offers and found that they offer a BA in Art and Design. Here are the modules:

Year 1: Visual arts; applied crafts; digital arts; site specific design; graphic design; performance related design; web design; animation; self-employment; video production; community art; textile design; teacher or lecturer.

Year 2 : Creative skills and concepts; integrated project; visual literacy; digital applications; specialist options: skills development; contextual studies; personal development planning.

Year 3: Creative practice; contextual practice; specialist options: skills application practice; research skills; critical and contextual studies; pathways and concepts; professional and studio practice; professional and contextual studies; creative futures.

I did not study most of this stuff and I've spent 9 years in design studios working on a wide variety of projects of all sizes and with good feedback. I'm now working full-time as a freelancer trying to grow my own business. I like to think that I turned out okay without a degree.

So I guess my question is … does a degree make a better designer or is it all down to natural creative flair, experience and keeping up-to-date with the latest trends?

Credit Repair Companies – Find Credit Experts and Certified FICO Professionals – Improve Your Score

Late payment of credit bills or defaulting from payment can seriously affect one's credit scores. It affects a person's credit in securing a loan or a credit card in the future. This can cause dangerous repercussions and leave the person dependent on others for money. It is always advisable to keep your credit score clean.

But sometimes even the most organized person may end up with a bad credit score. Luckily, the law provides a chance to help the person out the situation. This is where the credit repair companies come into picture.

ROLE OF CREDIT REPAIR COMPANIES

Credit repair companies have a primary goal to 'improve the client's credit score'. They offer legal credit solutions to help improve their client's credit score. They study the report of the client to look for any inconsistencies. Once having identified disputable items on the report, they take it up with the creditor to challenge the report. If the inconsistencies can not be verified, then the company helps you file for damages. Some companies also offer credit management services to teach the client how to maintain a good credit score.

BEWARE OF SCAM COMPANIES

A person must always be aware of the service they choose. There are companies that scam desperate people, who are badly in need of help. There are other companies that use illegal means like identity theft to make it look like there is an improvement in the credit score. It is illegal and felony to do so and if discovered, the person may face jail time.

INDICATORS OF A GOOD COMPANY

It is very easy to tell a good company from a bad one. Here are a few indicators that it is a scam.

  • The company requests for payment upfront. Any citizen is legally entitled to pay the credit repair company only after the case is settled.
  • If the company promises to erase the credit record, it is clearly a scam. It is impossible to delete it. One can only improve the credit score.
  • When the company requests the client to create a new credit identity using Employer Identification Number (EIN) instead of the social security number, it is undocumentedly a scam company.
  • If the company requests a person to file all the items in the record as false irreparable of the validity, then it is a scam.

FIND THE BEST CREDIT REPAIR COMPANY

Self acclaimed Credit pros, may not be professionals after all, although as an industry they are one of the topought after services in the country. Understandably, without money or credit life's dreams are halted in a hurry. Be sure to look for a team of certified FICO professionals, who offer professional and legal credit solutions and help can anyone with a bad credit score. Check reviews and see if the company has a record of being successful and customer friendly in all their cases. The clients' testimonials are a proof for the good work they can do.

WHAT SETS A CREDIT PROFESSIONAL APART FROM THE REST?

  • Payment is accepted only after the client's requirements are met and payment plans are also available.
  • The client can cancel their service at any time they see fit.
  • They offer life-time support for the cases they handle.
  • Team of FICO certified professional experts guarantee success and do not oversell.

If ever you have a credit record problem, you should be able to seek a free consultation from the credit experts. With upfront information and a proven track record, you can have confidence that you have found the right credit repair company to help you.

Learning To Speak Mandarin – The Road Ahead

When we talk about studying Chinese what we mean by that, in 2010, is really studying Mandarin, also known as standard Mandarin. Compared to Cantonese, which is the second most spoken out of around 50 languages ​​in contemporary China, Mandarin is far larger. Cantonese is pretty much confined to Taiwan and Hong Kong. Mandarin on the other hand is also spoken in both these areas, and the entirety of the rest of the country. This did not come about as an accident. 100 years ago there were more languages ​​and Standard Mandarin was not known as standard. The Mandarin of today is an amalgamation of different dialects but is mostly made up of the old Beijing one. The reason that it is so common today is that it has been artificially promoted by the central government for obvious reasons: one modern nation needs one common mode of communication.

When we talk about Mandarin language studies people often say that they are rather tricky. They are not a walk in the park, but it is my sincere belief that people make it out to be a much more difficult task than it is in reality. The thing we need to remember is that Mandarin is very different from languages ​​that have been derived from Latin or the Germanic branch of European languages. But once those differences have been deal with, learning the rest of the language is much less tricky than it would seem when you are just setting out on that particular journey. These initial bumps in the road can be categorized into two distinct groups; the difficulties of writing Chinese Mandarin and the difficulties of speaking Chinese Mandarin. I write difficulties but in reality it is less about difficulty and more about differences.

The first of these two categories, written Chinese, is mostly hard because there is no alphabet. Instead you need to memorize a great deal of pictures, aka characters. The key to success in this matter lies in not thinking of them as pictures when you try to commit them to memory but rather thinking of them in terms of their underlying structure. The two golden nuggets of information that you need to become familiar with is the building blocks that make up the vast majority of characters, called radical, and the way that these radicals are written, the stroke order. Once you have these two concepts firmly logged in your head you will begin to see the characters as a process of writing and not as a finished product. The picture is complicated but the way that it is formed is as easy as pie. It is a bit like riding a bike really – once you get up and going you will cover a lot of ground very quickly and you will never loose that initial effort you put in while learning the first couple of hundred or so the right way.

The second of the categories, spoken Chinese Mandarin, is mostly different in terms of pronunciation. The grammar really is not that hard. Chinese Mandarin pronunciation, however, is. It is hard because as we know Mandarin lacks an alphabet. Instead of being made up of letters that make a sound when put together we have pictures which give little or no indication regarding how the words sound when spoken. To muddle things up even more the Mandarin language is not only dependent on syllables, it also involves modulation of the pitch. This is what is more commonly known as tones, and it makes Mandarin a tonal language.

However, both the difficulties with getting to grips with Characters and their radicals and stroke order, and the trick to wrapping your tongue around tonal modulation while speaking, can easily be dealt with in a small class size. Learning Mandarin without the individual attention of a teacher is very hard, but once you have someone to correct your pronunciation and show you what you are doing wrong when writing, you are on the home stretch, speeding ahead to proficiency in the language that holds the key to the greatest paradigm shift of our century – the rise of China as economic and political super power.

Teaching English in Japan – What to Expect

The economic boom that swept Japan in the 1980′s brought with it not only a period of wealth and prosperity, but also a sudden surge in a desire to study English. Fueled in part by Japan’s role as an emerging economic force, the need to learn English became a necessity for many companies hoping to compete in the global marketplace. As a result of the affluence during this time more Japanese were also able to travel abroad, thus creating a demand for studying English for those who hoped to hone their English skills before making the journey to a foreign country. Entrepreneurs sensing an opportunity to capitalize on this trend began to open English schools in unprecedented numbers, from large Corporate chains that catered to thousands of students, to small neighborhood schools often employing only a handful of staff. Although the glory days of finding a teaching job on the basis of being a native English speaker alone have faded, the good news is there are still many teaching jobs available in Japan for those willing to make a modest effort to pursue them. Renewed economic growth in the last few years in conjunction with a recent ruling by the Japanese Ministry of Education to include English as part of the elementary school curriculum will also create a need for English instructors in the future.

English teachers in Japan fall basically under two categories, those employed via structured programs such as JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching), and freelance instructors. Teachers who have come to Japan under one of the structured programs can expect benefits which include pre-departure training, visas, flights, living accommodations, and health insurance. Free lance teachers are individuals who arrive in Japan looking for work on their own or who have found a job prior to arriving. In regard to working conditions both can expect to teach approximately 20-35 classes per week, with lessons spanning 50 minutes to one hour in duration. Most teaching positions are at private language schools, with the majority of classes being conducted in the afternoons and evenings. Students range from elementary school, high school, and university students, to housewives and businessmen of all ages. Many of the afternoon classes are typically made up of children who study English after their regular school day has finished, and the majority of evening classes are attended by teens or adults. Size of classes vary, but on average consist of 3-5 students for many of the smaller schools, and up to 15 for larger establishments. Most schools also offer students private lessons.

Entry level salaries for teachers is approximately 250,000 yen per month, though this can fluctuate depending on the company. Some of the larger chain schools such as Nova and ECC offer visa sponsorship and other benefits, such as arranging an apartment for newly arrived teachers. Most schools also subsidize daily train transportation costs. Teachers with experience and a post graduate level qualification in the form of a Masters Degree can expect to make around 400,000 yen a month or more, with the majority of high paying jobs in this category to be found in the High Schools and Universities.