26 July 2007

[design] The Basic Building Blocks of a Skill Set

883. It's resume update time. Now, I don't know (yes, still, shameful that) how useful a traditional printed resume is for a graphic designer to have (no, I'm not in danger of losing any current employment...not as far as I know, anyway).

But at some point along the line, one will at least want to take out a bit of paper, at least as a starting point, and list out those things one knows how to use. I was just doing this and found out that I know a great deal–more than I thought. Here's a rough list:
  1. Adobe InDesign CS3, CS2, CS, and InDesign 2
  2. Adobe Photoshop CS3, CS2, CS, and Photoshop 7
  3. Adobe Illustrator CS3, Cs2, Cs, and Illustrator 8
  4. Adobe Flash CS3
  5. Adobe Dreamweaver CS3, Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004
  6. Adobe GoLive CS2
  7. Adobe Acrobat Professional 8 (and earlier)
  8. QuarkXPress 4 through 7
  9. PHP and MySQL, latest versions
  10. Mac OS X
  11. Windows XP
This bare list simply enumerates the applications I am familiar with. Some (such as InDesign and QuarkXPress) I consider myself experienced in; others less so; some I've run on a trail basis and got to know as well as I could.

A think I think is quite important these days is recognizing that the field is now shared by two electronic layout programs (I prefer the term "electronic layout" to desktop publishing or DTP), InDesign and the once-unassailable QuarkXPress. Having a foot in both worlds is very, very important–locally, from what I've seen, InDesign is in the ascendancy, but you will still find yourself running into QuarkXPress installations, and since most of the installed base is still at QuarkXPress version 4 and 5, the more you know about older versions of it, the better off you'll be. That last part-time gig I had ran QuarkXPress 6.5, for instance. 

I was lobbying for an upgrage to QuarkXPress 7 when that ended–regardless of what anyone thinks about XPress, it is upgradeworthy. It might not re-woo converted InDesignistas...but I digress.

Also, it must be said, I am in the middle of teaching myself some of this, particularly PHP and MySQL. Those are valuable tools to have–the "dynamic web page" isn't just a fancy term that gets thrown around, it's the trend. Just visit any well-done web page, any blog–even this one–is generated on-the-fly. It's getting to be all PHP, MySQL, and the databases who love them.

Since I am teaching myself these skills, I have a basic understanding in some of them. However, I have the gumption to hit the ground running with what I have and get it up to the level I need to very quickly (this is a current side-project of mine). Some of this I know better than other.

Next time, I'll be taking a closer look at my own experience. As it turns out, even though I don't have a current design gig right now, I've got some achievements that I wouldn't have had had I not gone to school for design–and some which I never thought I'd have, period.

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