School Taught Me Nothing, Pay Attention Part 0

School taught me nothing, pay attention – a bold statement, I know. Allow me to frame my perspective before the attacks being. I graduated with a degree in Design and Human Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon in the Spring of 2008 and was fortunate to start a job at PNC bank a two months after graduation. This was a dramatic shift in my life, from over ten years of working/learning in an open studio environment to a corporate culture. Where before all my critiques were attended by other creatives, to a world where I must craft my presentations to meet business needs. It was in my first three months at this job that I had many eye opening experiences from how to present materials, document iterations, and act as a proponent of design that I did not learn in university. I joked for a long time that I wanted to organize these experiences into a series of lessons learned ‘School taught me X, what I really do is Y’ but every time I opened the powerpoint I froze. Almost two years later, I have changed jobs and now work at a design consultancy. With this coming full circle, I am having a new set of eye opening experiences. I think I am finally ready to start capturing my observations. I plan to use my blog as a method to capture lessons learned and compare academia, corporate design, and consultancy to each other and where gaps in education meet professional practice.

Some of the themes I hope to cover:

  • Documentation and who is your audience?
  • Deadlines and schedules
  • Proposing ideas, know your audience
  • Discussing design, leave the lingo behind
  • Discussing design, rationalize rationalize rationalize

More topics will follow, but these are a few of the key topics I have thought of.

Please stay posted and feel free to share your own thoughts as this progresses.

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2 Responses to “School Taught Me Nothing, Pay Attention Part 0”


  1. 1 Georgia January 25, 2010 at 8:38 am

    You should make sure Jenna sees all this and can help the program with it. I actually did feel like I got some of this learning with HCI classes where the audiences were mixed. You didn’t?

  2. 2 brainfarks January 25, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I definitely got some of this from the HCII department. Still though there was a lot we took for granted from CMU, mostly by way of definitions. Most people in the program know what a prototype is and everyone in hcii and design know the methods. A lot o my experience to date has been explaining the basic methods that we learned as a group. It’s this gap that I want to focus on.

    Interaction(s) Design http://www.dfarkasdesign.com

    Typos a result of no haptic feedback.


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