Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Portfolio? I don't need no stinking Portfolio!

Ok, I lied. I do... er at least did need a portfolio in order to get the position I have today. And judging by what I have seen, every aspiring Media Artist needs to have an online portfolio. I'd rank it at the top of the credentials list, way before resume. Putting above resume would be blasphemy to most guidance counselors; however, its the truth. Would you hire someone without seeing there work? I think not. I don't care what GPA you had or where you worked, I need to see what you can do.

With that in mind, I recently wrote a course curriculum for a class on establishing an "Online Portfolio". I submitted it to Butler's Media Arts Department and pending final approval I should be able to teach the course in the Spring semester!

I am excited about the opportunity and hope I don't jinx it by talking about it too early. However, I want to mention it now so that I can put the course online for review/criticism. I think what I have is a good start, but it could be improved on with some input from the community.

1. If you were teaching a course for Online Portfolio, what would you make sure you included?

2. What do you wish you had known in college that you know now?

3. What are some resources (websites, tutorials, forums, groups, etc) that you would point out to the students?

Write any ideas that pop in your head in the comments below.


Anonymous said...

Fist, I am only here because I subscribed to one of Adobe's Twitter feeds. It turns out there feeds are more like following a peer with similar interests. You would think that is good, but actually,the reason I followed them was in hopes of getting news about them, directly from them. Not necessarily about being referedto other sites, but I degress..

The one thing that most online portfolios do not show is progress of work. How you got to the place you are. Most online portfolios only show the finished piece. You also need to see steps in the process of how they arrived at the finish piece.

Ickydime said...

Thanks for the suggestion for the portfolio. The required blog would show some of this since they will be required to write post mortems and critiques about their projects.

However, I am not sure I would want progression of work shown on the portfolio. I wouldn't want employees to confuse what work I think is good with what work I am embarrassed of (and should be if I am truly growing). When I view a portfolio I really want to see what that person can do... not the the path they came to get there. If I am impressed, THEN I can dig deeper by reading their blog and checking out their resume. With this in mind, I would suggest keeping online your finished pieces as show pieces, then potentially making an archived section that clearly states dates. Either that, or a case study section that can cover what you learned in past projects...

hmm, good thing to think about. Will keep mulling on this.


As far as the Twitter Feed goes... the feed is probably created from Adobe Feeds, which I am a member of: http://feeds.adobe.com/

If you are looking for news just from Adobe, I would suggest the following:

Adobe Flash Platform Blog:

Adobe Labs:

Adobe Edge:

And possibly Adobe Dev Connection... but similar to feeds there is much more User Generated Content than Adobe content:

Citro1 said...

Over here in London/UK peeps are highly obsessive about CVs, in fact I was invited for interviews and it turned out they had never looked at my portfolio.
I think that's ridiculous but I guess that's how it goes in a fast paced industry, HR just quickly scans your CV for keywords, big agency names, awards to determine if you're worth it.
Personally I always skipped the CV and went to a candidate's portfolio first.

- ideally the portfolio is very simple so you can quickly browser the projects

- alternatively if it's the sort of portfolio where the portfolio itself is the main feature it must be pretty darn incredible

- there must be background information for each project, but keep it short! And you must make clear what your contribution to a project was, otherwise it works against you.

- be selective and don't include any little banner you ever did, just takes attention away from the real gems

- post mortems don't belong there, that's for blogs. Exept if you're at junior level and most of your work is experimental, then it's actually very fine.
For commercial projects watch out though, obviously you don't want to disclose how your company works, or seek approval before publishing something.

- instead point out certain details that maybe aren't obvious, like how you restructured things so the site loads quicker, devised some clever algorithm for visual effects, stuff like that

- be sure there are no broken links.
That's a real problem nowadays since the lifetime of online projects gets shorter and shorter.

- I thought about doing video walkthroughs for projects myself, that conveys a lot more than just screenshots and eliminates the risk that people in a hurry might miss the cool details when they browse the online project themselves. But that's a lot of work admittedly..

Cheers, D

zedia.net said...

Also, if you put something in your portfolio, be ready to explain it. I always ask interviewee what is the project they are most proud of, why, and what they did in it. That way I get to see the person speaks, see just how much they did in the project and what they consider awesome. Sometimes it is not the shiniest project that had the most challenges.