(WACO, Texas) – Recent graduates of Texas State Technical College’s Digital Media Design program have an impressive array of career options.
Pleasanton native Hannah Selby works at a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary as a marketing coordinator and real estate photographer. Abilene resident Arabel Mullen aspires to be a professional illustrator and already has sold a client some illustrations for a book.
The two women have graduated from TSTC’s Digital Media Design program and are taking opposite career paths, but both have been trained in traditional graphic design skills and industry software like Adobe Creative Suite.
“The day-to-day usage of digital media design has really helped me in my current job,” Selby said. “I work full time for a real estate agency, and I handle all of their graphic design and social media. But I’ll be changing careers a bit, doing real estate photography.”
Selby described how much she enjoyed taking photography classes and learning more in-depth skills like Photoshop and lighting techniques. Even though her degree might suggest a 9-to-5 career in graphic design is in her future, Selby says she plans to keep it part-time and focus on photography.
“I’ll be doing contract graphic design for a few small businesses, including a T-shirt design company, and offering my contract services to an advertising agency in San Antonio,” Selby said. “I really appreciate how working in this field, you have the opportunity to set your own schedule. I might even start my own agency down the line.”
Jerry Vavra, TSTC’s chair of the Digital Media Design program, noted that students have an open and lucrative job field to look forward to. Instead of being limited strictly to digital design, students gain a tool belt of skills they can take anywhere.
“The job outlook for this program is always strong. We’re not just thinking of local areas and campuses; we’re thinking of the entire state of Texas,” Vavra said. “With a quick search of the job title ‘graphic designer’ in Google for Texas, hundreds of jobs are showing up.”
Vavra emphasized the breadth of specialized avenues available to students in the Digital Media Design program.
“Graphic designer is sometimes a job title that other specific titles get lumped into. But we have specific areas that students can go into that are a bit outside that realm,” Vavra said. “They can be videographers, animators, web designers and illustrators.”
Defining herself as more of the traditionally artistic persuasion, Mullen aspires to work as an illustrator for herself or with an agency. Formerly a cake decorator, Mullen decided to pursue her dream of being an illustrator and researched careers she could enter that would be both profitable and fulfilling.
“I wanted to be a traditional artist when I graduated high school, but there’s the saying ‘starving artist,’” Mullen said. “I found TSTC and spoke with some instructors about the design program. They explained all the things I could do with design, including starting my own business.”
Mullen’s personal brand and online store Novel Insights can be found on Etsy, though she dreams of working with a creative team such as those at Chris Do’s studios The Futur and Blind, and putting her graphic design training to work.
“There’s so many avenues you can take with this program. We learn so many different aspects of design, from graphics to photography to videography, and some animation,” Mullen said. “Going forward, I think that being a digital artist will be a really successful career in our world of technology.”
Registration continues for the summer and fall semesters at TSTC. For more information, go to tstc.edu.