Apprenticeship or degree?
Interview with media designer Vanessa Pesch
Apprenticeship or degree? What’s better? That’s a question many students ask themselves when they finish school. It’s not always easy to sort through the pros and cons. Is it wise to trade future career opportunities for a quicker start to earning money and gaining work experience? What if that long degree course isn’t right after all?
Back in 2017, Vanessa Pesch also faced these questions. She decided on an apprenticeship as a media designer with focus on digital media at imc. When she qualified in September 2020, she was offered a permanent role. In this interview, she shares why she chose this path and what she really likes about her job.
Job | Media designer
Works in | Saarbruecken, Germany
At imc since | 2017
Superpower | Determination
Favourite food | Sushi
Hello Vanessa! First of all, congratulations on completing your apprenticeship and getting started in your professional career. What made you choose an apprenticeship as a media designer over a degree course?
Thank you. When I graduated from high school, I was very unsure what I wanted to study. I was overwhelmed with the options. I had long known that I wanted to do something in the field of creation and design, but that’s still a huge subject area.
That’s why I looked at apprenticeship offers and imc caught my attention. I was given a trial assignment where I was asked to design a homepage. I had a good feeling about that, so when I was offered the position, I didn’t have to think long to accept.
I believe I made the right decision with the apprenticeship. I’m a learning-by-doing type of person. I find it easier to pick up skills I can apply than to grasp theoretical concepts. I accepted the offer from imc and fast-tracked the apprenticeship to complete it in two rather than three years.
How was the apprenticeship structured and what were your focal areas?
In year one, I learned the basics of print and digital media design. In year two, I took the option to specialise in digital media. I always alternated between one week of college and two weeks in the company, where I could immediately apply what I had learned. Since I work in the Content department – where we create customised learning content – I was given the opportunity to contribute to a wide range of client projects from the start.
The training focused on design, using various programs like Photoshop or Illustrator, as well as photography and different programming languages. In summary, I gained a broad skillset. I can definitely say I really enjoyed the training and having a great trainer helped a lot. I have no reservations in recommending the apprenticeship.
What do you appreciate the most about your job?
We can rely on each other as a team. In production, we need to handle all the training courses we create with utmost care and be very systematic in our work. A project might have to be handed over to a colleague at any time, and it’s important that you can rely on all aspects being set up and documented properly.
Since our different locations collaborate, very clear and regular communication is crucial – and I think we’re doing rather well with that. Finally, we need to work hand-in-hand with the other departments involved in the production process. That includes developers, instructional designers and project management.
What skills are particularly important in your job?
Pretty much those that make me appreciate my job! Above all, a media designer has to be reliable and work well in a team. Whenever we had problems, it was because there was a communication failure and project documentation wasn’t accurate.
Please complete this sentence: When dealing with colleagues, what matters the most is ...
... mutual respect. I find it extremely important. It’s OK and necessary to voice criticism, as long as it’s constructive and productive. But you should also feel comfortable to give positive feedback. Let’s be honest: We often like to complain rather than praise.
Your top 3 hashtags for your team?
#GreatCommunicators #TeamPlayers #Reliable
Do you also use e-learning privately?
Traditional e-learning not so much. Video-based e-learning absolutely. I often watch YouTube videos to pick up new skills in my field.
Do you have a role model in your professional or personal life?
My colleague Melissa. She used to work in the production team, and studied part-time while continuing to work full-time. Now she works in project management. I have huge respect for her taking that path.
What was the last book you read?
It’s a bit cliché and has received a lot of hype recently: The Why Café. Let’s say, it really encourages you to think.
Thank you for the interview! Keep being successful and have great projects and, above all, have fun!
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Would you like to know more about imc as an employer? Then take a look at our career section, maybe there is a suitable position for you.
We are also always happy to receive unsolicited applications!
I have been working in the imc Marketing & Communication team since March 2019.
I am passionate about communication, creative content and social media. I live by the motto: “KISS – Keep it short and simple!”
Explaining complex content in simple terms and making e-learning accessible to everyone are challenges that make every day exciting.
In my time off, I like to read, play poker and travel a lot.
I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions: [email protected].