My Job is prefect for me! But I need a full-time version of it.
November 9, 2011 7:45 AM   Subscribe

What kind of jobs am I qualified to do?

I love my current job. It's perhaps the best fit for me. I really enjoy what I do and the environment I'm in. Unfortunately, this is a part-time gig and it's becoming increasingly apparent that it will never be a full-time job.

Right now I work in higher education. I am part of a team that designs and creates an online course with an instructor. More specifically I create miniature games in Adobe Flash. The instructor might give me a list of terms and definitions and I create a game where the student has to match the correct definitions with the terms. Or an instructor will give me an image with labels to.. say the anatomy of a flower bud. I take that and create a game where the students identify the different parts of the bud. The core of my job is to help the instructor present concepts in a different way then just a passage in a book/webpage or in a video lecture. I really love working in education (I always wanted to be a teacher) and while my boss keeps tabs on me, I'm pretty much independent. I'm the only one who does what I do.

I have a 2-year degree from ITT Tech in information technology - multimedia. I am skilled with adobe flash, photoshop, and dreamweaver. I also had classes on how to use adobe after effects and premiere to handle and do different things with video.

I love working in web design. On the side I do some light work in wordpress and have strong skills in HTML and CSS. I have been building those skills for more then ten years now.

I have a great eye for design and color composition. I would say that I'm great at front end and user interface design. Unfortunately, my strength in programming outside of HTML/CSS/Actionscript 3 is not as strong. Not non-existent, I have a good base understanding of programming.. but I don't have much experience in PHP or Javascript.

I am also really resourceful. You got a problem? I want to help you solve your problem! (It's perhaps why I love askme so much) If I can't help you solve your problem, I will help you find ways to find out how to help you solve your problem.

There are tons of "web designer" positions out there.. but they often ask for a stronger skill set in the programming languages. I'm not sure if I'm using the wrong terms or what.

I've never really job hunted before and I feel a little lost. What kind of jobs would require my skill set? What should I be looking for?

Are there.. people out there who can look at someone's strong suits and guide them toward finding jobs that fit them? How do I find these people? Are they expensive?

(While I'm 100% for lifelong learning and continuing education, I can't afford to take any classes to expand my skill set right now. It's more of a absolutely don't have the money then a don't want to learn thing. I am up to my eyeballs in student debt as it is.)
posted by previously to Work & Money (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My first thought: Textbook publishers now create a lot of supplementary content -- companion Web sites, CD-ROMs -- to go with the texts. Some of the material is very quiz-y and dry, but some authors try to make things more interesting/fun. If the position doesn't already exist, you might pitch yourself as someone who could take those dry quizes and turn them into learning games.
posted by troywestfield at 8:04 AM on November 9, 2011

Just be careful—all of my friends in educational publishing bemoan working in a dying industry that outsources so much of the work. Just don't pigeonhole yourself into that industry.
posted by Bunglegirl at 8:11 AM on November 9, 2011

Definitely textbook publishers. So many are switching to e-textbooks and having all their content online, that they need people to make it accessible for teachers and students.

Also, check other colleges and even high school districts. If there was any way you could school yourself (a class at a community college might be within your budget?) on technology in education, you'd have a great skill set to do what you're doing already on a larger scale.

A relative has a daughter with Down's. She is currently using an iPad as a tool to help her learning. There is a market there for folks who can create games, apps, tools, etc., for people (and children) with disabilities. Might require some more education though, to understand what needs those populations have.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:11 AM on November 9, 2011

There are lots of companies that produce web-based educational content. Find products that you would like to work on by doing some research on the web or asking around at your current job about web-based resources that people like to use. Then find out who makes those and apply there. Don't worry so much about the job title, try to find the right organization instead.
posted by chickenmagazine at 8:32 AM on November 9, 2011

Sent you a memail with a potential match for your skills.
posted by halseyaa at 8:54 AM on November 9, 2011

You'd make serious bank if you learned HTML5 or JavaScript/AJAX. My brother in the Valley has noted many times that these types of designers are seriously in demand and, the best thing is, it's really cheap or even free to learn with all the online tutorials available, even up to relatively advanced levels. With those skills, you could do everything from e-textbooks to mobile apps to...?
posted by speedgraphic at 9:14 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Most software companies have training departments where they develop courses for the users of their software. The job title you're looking for there is "Courseware Designer".
posted by Wolfie at 11:02 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another potential field/search term that is related to what you're describing would be (certain types of) instructional design - I did this for a consulting firm for about six years, and while not all of the projects I was on were web- or computer-based, many of them were and we did need to come up with games or other interactive challenges as part of that. Companies will often times expect that you have a degree in the field, but I also worked with a lot of great people who got their positions thanks to previous experience instead.
posted by DingoMutt at 1:38 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

You might take a look at this company or others developing electronic textbooks with multimedia features.
posted by deludingmyself at 4:25 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I memailed you a position I think you might want to consider. Also, as more general advice, keep in mind that the people who have the "stronger skill set" in the programming languages are getting software engineer jobs that pay better and have more stability. Your potential employers are *hoping* to find a broadly skilled developer at web-dev prices, but in this job market, that's unrealistic. Even if the list of qualifications looks like it's way too fancy for your skillset, apply anyway. You never know.
posted by troublesome at 9:56 PM on November 9, 2011

There's a fair amount of companies that do instructional design work for universities now -- that'd be another place to look. We have a small multimedia in-house team where I work. Associations, e.g., AMA often have multimedia/ID positions as well.
posted by ejaned8 at 9:01 AM on November 10, 2011

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