Archive for the ‘Career’ Category

Cogswell College is Happy to be the Exception in Educating Software Engineers

Monday, November 4th, 2013

We often hear about the great job prospects for software engineering grads but according to this article in Dark Reading by Gunter Ollmann, many new grads are finding the scope of those jobs limited by their lack of real-world experience. Mr. Ollmann says that the crux of the problem boils down to colleges missing two critical educational opportunities:

  1. In most colleges students predominantly work on individual assignments rather than collaborative projects.
  2. The vast majority of assignments require students to create code from scratch instead of working on code written by someone else.

Project-based learning is a hallmark of a Cogswell College education. Students have numerous opportunities to work in teams of artists, animators, audio specialists and software engineers and gain the experience they need to become a valuable asset to future employers.

The Importance of Storytelling for Brand Recognition

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

With all of the social media options available and connectedness of today’s consumer, storytelling to relate the sales message has come into new vogue. This technique makes each message personal as the intended audience uses its imagination to fill in the detail.

The Adweek article states, “There is little hesitation in knowing we operate in a cultural and technological world where consumers know everything about a brand, from who owns it to where and how products are manufactured and sold. As a result of this, companies are now evaluated by much more than their products. We are in a world where a brand’s values and the emotions they evoke are narrative material.”

What helps you remember a marketing message?

Cogswell Students Selected for Disney Animation Inspire Day

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

L. to R., Robert Mariazeta, Steven Chitwood, Alondra Paco, Colton Fetters and Michael Sardi

On Wednesday, October 3, Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California is hosting its 5th Annual Disney Animation Inspire Day and five talented Cogswell College students will be among the select few invited to participate. The students taking part in the day-long event are: Steven Chitwood, Colton Fetters, Robert Mariazeta, Michael Sardi and Alondra Paco. The group includes two technical artists and three animators.

For the first time Inspire Day attendees were chosen through an online application process that required them to submit an application, resume, demo reel and letter of recommendation from their faculty. If they had a website, the application asked for links to that as well. Since the application period fell during Cogswell’s break between the summer and fall terms, students who applied had to scramble to get everything in on time.

“For me it was pretty last minute,” said Michael Sardi, “but I had some good 3D work from the Animation in Game class and the Intro to Animation class, some clay models from Sculpture class and some 2D work from an animation project that Robert and I are working on so was able to put my reel together.”

Alondra Paco and Robert Mariazeta faced the same issue. Alondra had a rough reel ready but had to come into campus during the break so she could access Premier Pro in our computer labs.

Steven Chitwood and Colton Fetters had both worked on the most recent film from Cogswell’s Project X animation studio class so were able to populate their demo reels half with material from the film and half with projects they had worked on in various classes. As the two technical artists, Colton focused on compositing and lighting skills while Steven focused on visual effects work.

The group is taking an early morning flight to Burbank tomorrow morning so they will be at Disney by 9:00AM.  During the day students will get a behind-the-scenes look at how Disney films are made, have their demo reel critiqued by industry professionals and a lucky few may be invited to apply for either an internship or job.

They fly back home later that evening and though we know they will be tired – we’re sure that the Disney experience will inspire them! Good luck and we can’t wait to hear how your day went.

Learning From Your Mistakes

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

It may have seemed like a great idea at the time – like the Marriott Hotel marketing campaign on 9/11 anniversary where they offered complimentary coffee and muffins to guests from 8:45 to 9:15AM “in remembrance of those we lost” but in retrospect, we’re sure they wished they’d passed that one up. The public reaction was not pretty.

Adweek reported on a panel discussion hosted by JTW of elite advertising executives who talked about some of the mistakes they made over the years and what they, as creatives, learned from them. Some felt their flops were great lessons in humility, putting things in perspective and making sure the ad resonates with the target market. There are some entertaining video clips included in the article.

Which of these insights is most helpful to you?

Proven Methods for Finding Industry Influencers

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Now that you have your business off the ground – it’s time to find the thought leaders and experts in your field and start building a relationship with as many of them as you can. But where do you begin looking and once you find them how do you get them to notice you?

A few suggestions for finding them include: Industry awards and events, Twitter lists and podcasts and forums. Ideas for building relationships include follow and comment through social media, share original content and ask for their opinions or be helpful with any introductions you can make.

Check out this helpful article for more ideas. What have you done to find influencers?

Simplify your Work Life

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Here’s a little Friday inspiration and give you something to contemplate over the weekend. In this Huffington Post article, Mountain View-based Polyvore’s CEO, Jess Lee, talks about a unique program she implemented called, ‘simplification month.’ Lee is a firm believer in the importance of creating a work environment that makes sure employees are happy and doing work they love.

One of the ways to achieve that goal is to make everyone’s work life simpler by reducing the number of tasks that are not productive. It took a corporate mind-shift but the plan seems to be working.

To reinforce her basic philosophy, Lee says that if she were 100 years old and looking back on her life one of the measures of success would be how many people she has worked with would ever want to work with her again if she started a new company.

At age 100, if you look back at your life, what would you consider to be the measure of your success?

Puzzle Game Project Class Gets Underway

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

In a recent Skype call on a large monitor at the front of the classroom, George Gagnon, Founder of Prairie Rainbow Company, met with students and faculty for an introductory session to clarify parameters for the project and to present the concepts the two student teams developed in a 48 hour turnaround.

The eleven students enrolled in the class were divided into two teams and tasked with creating a video game version of the Rainbow Squares table top game. Rainbow Squares is a puzzle game designed for elementary, secondary or adult learners to use as an individual or group learning tool. The game consists of six squares, each made up of three different rainbow-colored pieces. Each of these pieces can be used to form other squares using two, four, five or six pieces or can be used to learn addition and fractions.

“Rainbow Math Models are designed to engage students and let them learn through the method that is best for them,” said George. “Feelings learners get to build a physical model, image learners can create a visual model, while language learners have the chance to hear, read, or write a number model,” added George.  “I think by offering Rainbow Squares as a virtual learning tool, more students will have access to the learning method that works for them.”

After students introduced themselves, a representative from each team outlined the concepts they were considering for the game design.

The Red Team started with general ideas and then branched out. They thought it was important for the video game to represent the physical game since the product has been so successful. The team’s goal is to make students want to play the game over and over. They also discussed implementing different levels for different shapes such as one level to focus on manipulating squares, another for pentagons and another for triangles. Other ideas involved creating a limited moves mode or an addition mode with each block being assigned a numerical value. The team would also like to explore a multiplayer option.

The Blue Team first wanted to know if George would prefer a more structural approach to presenting the concepts of addition and fractions or would he consider a more spatial representation of the math concepts through graphs or perhaps as weights on a scale. Would he like the final game to be more session-based play or individual play? If he would like a more structural approach to teaching the concepts, then they are thinking about a more traditional approach with something like Tetris.

“I love the creativity the teams have put into the process. I’m excited about what I’ve heard today and can’t wait to see the finished products,” said George.

Things to Think About Before Starting Your Own Business

Friday, September 6th, 2013

You’re tired of working for someone else and are sure you have what it takes to make a success of the business idea you’ve been kicking around for years but before you head off on your own, here are a few things to consider. Small Business Trends lists 7 questions to ask yourself.

While this may seem obvious, the first question should be, why do I want to work for myself? Here are few more. How disciplined are you? Can you be your own salesperson? Are you passionate about what you want to do?

Check out the article for other questions and a discussion of each.

In your opinion, what else should you be thinking about before you start turning your idea into a reality?

What is an Animation Technical Director?

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

People with these job skills can fall into several different categories – Lighting TD, Character TD or Shader TD – but all require artistic sensibilities, technical savvy, a good eye and good problem-solving skills. Other TD’s focus more heavily on the programming side of the industry but still need a basic understanding of the art process.

Quite a few of Cogswell’s Digital Arts Engineering graduates have gone on to work as the more ‘technical,’ Technical Directors while some graduates from our Digital Art & Animation program have followed the lighter and character TD career path.

This concise article in 3D Renderer offers a good overview of the job.

Common Interview Questions for a Software Engineering Job

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Applying for that first job is nerve wracking but getting the call to come in for an interview – while welcome – can turn those stomach butterflies into a herd of wild elephants. Your best defense – be prepared.

This handy slideshare, walks you through seven things you should consider as you get ready to impress.

Do you have any other tips to offer?