I remember my father telling me to study computer science, because 'it's the future' and I would always be employable. But, I said to him, I don't want to just be employable – I want to be happy.
I paid my own way through university, so luckily, I didn't have to compromise on my pursuit of a degree in English Literature and Rhetoric.
So... do I now read books and diagram sentences for a living? Certainly not.
I did, however, follow one passion to the next, and the next, based on some loose foundation of my study. And my degree taught me how to think, how to contextualise, and how to succeed in a system, with competition. Interestingly, now, as a hiring manager, I only ever look at university degree (or lack thereof) to get a sense of what a person loves the most – not because I require qualification in a certain degree subject. Creatives are self-made, and I don't require a rigid background from anyone for them to join my team. There are lots of other indicators of success besides that. I prefer to give a smart person, who has a bit of drive and passion, a chance to look at a brief and see what they can do with it.
So I was really delighted to see this reassuring article by itsnicethat, which is a real go-to place for up and coming creatives. It takes a look at a couple of career paths and helps to demonstrate how students coming out of uni can carve out a place for themselves. I can confirm that actually, carving out your place is the only way to have a career in the creative industries anyway.
If your discipline is technical, then of course you'll learn some crucial skills through study. But the best thing you can do for yourself is learn a way to think, a way to assimilate, a way to approach the world with your talents and show their merit. Often, that means a business case. Very few artists will be commissioned artists. Most will be jobbing creatives like me, and to be that, you have to learn how to translate your inspiration into outcomes.
So, Class of 2017, whatever you have learned, you were right to go out and learn it. Now work out how to plug yourself in to the world and don't worry about hiring managers staring at your academic qualifications. Fewer and fewer of us do.
To shift disciplines after graduating can be done simply and with courage, so don’t panic. The skills or ways of thinking you have gained on a bachelors degree can be applied to a myriad of industries. Take it from our own experience, the It’s Nice That editorial team is made up of 3D design, graphic design, architecture and english literature graduates, and our different backgrounds only help to bounce ideas and knowledge off one another. There is no fixed pathway into a dream creative job, a key element to why it is such an exciting industry to enter and explore.