I wrote the following (with some minor edits) on AskMetafilter in response to a user’s question, “Is someone with approximately one year of college and an Adobe ACE cert in Flash CS3 employable? And when I say employable, I don’t mean flipping hamburgers. I mean as a Flash or ActionScript designer/developer.”

What you need isn’t a degree. A degree in “multimedia design” doesn’t mean anything to me, or any other serious creative/dev house. What you need is experience, a body of work that’s pretty damn nice and a passion that you demonstrate by building things just for fun, researching what’s new and edgy and clearly taking the initiative to learn on your own and continue to do so.

We hire people almost entirely based on what we perceive are their ability to learn and absorb new concepts, what they’ve built themselves and even more importantly, their passion towards doing both those things. You have to live, eat and breathe this stuff. You have to work hard to stay a step ahead of the crowd. And you’ll run into a lot of issues that you have to be willing to work through to solve.

You shouldn’t be *just* a “Flash developer.” You need to be an expert at HTML. You should know CSS backwards and forwards. You should kill in Illustrator and Photoshop. And you need to understand the underlying technologies behind what’s rendering the pages in front of you. Make yourself truly marketable by diversifying. Become awesome at JavaScript—ActionScript is rooted in it so they’re very similar in syntax and structure, except that you’re referencing the DOM instead of a stage. (Well, that and some other obvious differences.)

Become awesome at other things. Read lots. Learn more. Keep learning. Try new things. Build projects. And keep going.

If you’re *truly* passionate about this, you’ll show it through your personal projects, your portfolio and your zeal to learn more. And it’ll come out in how you talk during your interview. The single year of college is fine if you prove you’re otherwise completely insane about learning this stuff.

So get going.

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