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5 Ways To Boost Your Resume With Adobe Illustrator

Let’s face it- today’s job market is tough. The credentials that would fetch a top-tier position a decade ago are now only delivering an entry-level one. Unemployment and unpaid internships abound, and there is a distinct trend that is emerging from this new market milieu. Those with the most well rounded resumes are the ones getting hired and promoted. The ambitious and creative few who take the time to flesh out their skill set and tack on certifications are the ones who bring the most usability to the job market. Utilitarianism has taken over, and employers are looking to stretch their new hires over several different professional fields. In this new minimalist market, if you can offer the skills and expertise of three people rolled into one, you’re miles ahead of the pack. The digital era is nothing new, but accomplishing design and marketing in-house is still relatively fresh. Many companies and startups are starting to make their own logos, brochures, websites, and other materials, utilizing their own limited staff. So if you are looking to get a leg up on the competition, or put your hat in the ring for a promotion, basic graphic design skills are pure gold on your resume. You don’t need any particular art background or drawing talent to become proficient in Adobe Illustrator, and it makes the ideal addition to any CV from any field- finance, education, nonprofit, tech…everyone benefits from savvy and sharp design. Adobe Illustrator classes are waiting for you to enroll, so here are just five great reasons why you should sign up today! Logo Design It’s amazing how one simple image can speak for an entire brand, provoking recognition and market power with just a small mix of colors and shapes. But the influence of logos is more and more appreciated, and more businesses are choosing to co-create their branding with their own staff to better reflect their ideas and values. Logos are one of the easiest things to create using Illustrator, and there is a huge demand for logo design in the market today. If you can show you have the know-how for this, you are bound to be more attractive to a potential employer or promotion manager. Infographics The general public is being more accustomed to having information fed to them in sharp, eye-catching graphic ways. Text doesn’t hold the power it used to, and more designers are funneling their facts and figures into colorful displays that are easy to digest and also easy to share via social media. Creating mathematically accurate and stunning charts and graphs is a staple of the Illustrator repertoire, and can boost your appeal especially in the education, nonprofit, and finance sectors. Custom illustrations The demand on the market now for unique and handmade illustration graphics is at an all-time high. Everyone is looking to create their own individual look on everything from business websites to kids’ birthday party invitations. Adobe Illustrator makes it simple to make a variety of graphics for a variety of purposes- you can even work off a base photo image if you aren’t comfortable with freehand. Having the skills to transform ideas into icons and images puts you ahead of the game in the working world. You can lend your expertise to website work, brochures, book publishing, and much more! Vector images In the digital design world, there are two basic types of images- raster and vector. The former type is the one most common in photographs and other shared media; these include your familiar jpg, gif, and tiff files. These are all comprised of a grid...

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HTML & CSS Cheat Sheet

Download the HTML & CSS Cheat Sheet for FREE! The Digital Workshop Center provides free cheat sheets on many popular software applications. If you are looking for a quick HTML and CSS reference sheet, then we’ve got just the thing for you! The HTML5 & CSS3 cheat sheet includes basic concepts and common elements to help you be more efficient and confident while working in code. Several of these concepts and elements are included in our hands-on Web Design with HTML and CSS training class, so if you need more HTML & CSS help please contact the Digital Workshop office.  Stay tuned for more cheat sheets coming soon! Click the link to download the cheat sheet in PDF format: HTML & CSS Cheat Sheet...

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Poll: What kind of monthly webinar would you attend?

Free Monthly Webinar Series Planned to begin in May The DWC is teaming up with Laurie Macomber of Blue Skies Marketing and Ron Zasadzinski of Codegeek.net to offer a fun, new monthly webinar series.  Drawing on the expertise of Laurie, Ron, and Stu Crair (owner of the DWC), this series will be an interactive way to learn more from three tech business owners and thought leaders. So, the question to you is this: “If you had a chance to learn in a webinar format from Laurie, Ron, and Stu, what kind of topics would you like to know more about?” Please fill out the informal poll below to help us shape this series to be as effective as possible. We appreciate your input and look forward to launching this series sometime in May!...

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5 Reasons To Use MailChimp For Your Business

In the frenetic world of online marketing, it can be challenging to stand out as a small business owner. You may be overwhelmed with all the options out there for promotion and find yourself confused on which avenues to invest in to bring in clients and sales. Luckily, as time goes on, more user-friendly and effective solutions are being brought to the market and with a little research and learning, you can grow your business with less effort and more style! One of the greatest ways to reach your audience is through email-based marketing. Let’s face it, most people are constantly connected to their email accounts throughout the day, tapping messages on their smart phones or toggling between browser tabs at work. It’s easy to bring your business to someone’s mind when all they have to do is open an email that is right in front of them. And hands down one of the best options out there today is MailChimp, featuring an easy to read interface, simplified design process, and sophisticated tracking options. If you are looking for a clean and simple way to send newsletters, coupons, and other offers, look no further than this amazing program. Here are just five perks you’ll enjoy when you use MailChimp for your small business. Save money There are a handful of different services to keep in contact with your customers, but most of them require subscriptions and can really eat into your profits, especially when you are first starting out. But MailChimp is absolutely free to set up and free to use if you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers! And for many entrepreneurs, it takes quite a while to build up that kind of subscriber base- so why not save money during those first slow months and put that cash towards inventory or other marketing? No design background necessary We are all aware of the impact of great design- we ourselves tend to only click on and peruse websites/newsletters/posts that are clean, colorful, simple, and easy to read. Other mail-integration marketing companies can make it hard to put together something that comes off as such, and you may end up with cluttered and archaic-looking emails that simply get deleted. Don’t waste that opportunity when your business is sitting in someone’s inbox by putting forth a substandard product. MailChimp is incredibly clean and simple, while allowing you to control things like color schemes and fonts, and brings appealing design to the forefront. Smaller time investment For a small business owner, every moment of every day is worth money and it’s hard to do it all and still maintain some semblance of work/life balance. So the less time you can spend cobbling together a newsletter or coupon, the better. Luckily with MailChimp, there are several pre-made design templates to choose from and you can simply click, insert a bit of text, add a picture or two, and you’re off and running! It’s also easy to create a custom, regularly-used template (think monthly newsletter) and save it for later- then when you’re ready to send a new campaign all you need to do is swap out your current info and media. Then you can use that time you saved to brainstorm new ideas, squeeze in a workout, or spend time with the kids. Tracking made easy Getting detailed feedback is crucial to learning what works and what doesn’t, anticipating your clients’ interests, and promoting your services. MailChimp’s integrated tracking reports allow you to watch everything from open rates and click rates, to when and where your clients are opening their email campaigns. You also...

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Human touch a must for some training

At the Digital Workshop, we began offering online training a few years ago in response to customers’ demands. After years of resistance, I finally caved and felt that offering this service was complementary to what we already did and would be beneficial for those who didn’t have time to attend class in person. One of our major goals was to make sure that we kept the human element of the classroom alive in the online setting. For this reason, we presented our online classes in more of a webinar format, where students can ask questions from a live instructor, receive a physical textbook, and have some lab time with the instructor at the end of the class. However, when we try to teach coding classes online, there has been a difficult training curve to get over. This also seems to be true of others who provide online coding classes. According to Prasid Pathak of Medium.com, “In a recent survey of over one hundred Codecademy users, we found that 72 percent of the people who started Codecademy never finished.” That’s a startling percent, considering how popular Codecademy is and their reputation for providing quality training classes. How could this statistic be true? In my opinion, the online training environment may work well for business applications such as Microsoft Excel, but teaching code requires some amount of human interaction and review. As Pathak continues, there are three goals for a training business: “setting specific, accessible goals; participating in a community that supports us; and reviewing progress regularly with someone who holds us accountable.” If you think on the classes you have attended that have been the most successful, I feel confident that you will find that all three of these factors were true. The question then becomes: Can all three of these objectives be met to make online training for programming successful? Many companies — including mine — are experimenting with hybrid classes that include some live instructor time for every student. Bloc, from San Francisco, is a great example of offering self-paced online training and including mentor sessions so you can get live tutoring from a real professional. This study tells me that there is no substitute for learning from a live instructor. And, while many classes translate well to the online learning style, coding classes may not quite be there yet. As the trend of online training for coding classes continues to grow in popularity, I don’t think we will ever see hands-on, live training disappear. Apparently, keeping that human element alive in the classroom is as important to me as it is to...

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5 Easy Steps to Get Started Blogging in WordPress

Even though the initial blogging fever of a decade ago has cooled off, it’s never out of style to create a blog of your very own. The great thing is: now it’s easier than ever to get set up and started writing, and there are a variety of platforms out there to launch your musings into the electronic world. WordPress is a classic and established choice, having been around long enough to have fine-tuned the art of the blog, so naturally I wanted to highlight them here. There are only five easy steps between you and your very own professional writing space, so let’s get started!   1. Clarify your purpose I know this isn’t a technical step, but in my opinion, it’s the most important one. Why do you want to blog? Is there a particular subject you are passionate about or have experience with? Is this blog going to be for your business, your family, or just your personal thoughts? Make sure you sit down and brainstorm a clear direction and “theme” before you go through the actual set-up process. Trust me, it will save you a headache later and will increase the likelihood that you’ll stick with it!   2. Decide whether you need WordPress.com or WordPress.org Yep, you have two main choices here and they are quite a bit different in terms of use. To build on the simple graphic above, I highly recommend you do some research on which version will suit your needs the best. There are a variety of articles out there on the web, as well as the pros at the Digital Workshop who can point you in the right direction! But to give you a brief sum up: Choose WordPress.com if you want something that’s free, simple, and requires very little maintenance. This is the best choice if you’re on a budget, don’t care about too much fancy personalization, or are just writing for the fun of it. Choose WordPress.org if you have a business, an established social media following, or want to create revenue off of your writing. This isn’t free (you need to pay for web hosting and domains), but does offer the perks of plugins, customization, and ad sales opportunities.   3. Register Come up with a blog name that you really really like, because you can’t change it later! Whether or not you choose to go with a custom domain (www.bloggingisfun.com) or let WordPress handle that (www.bloggingisfun.wordpress.com), it’s important that you find a name that sums up the results of your brainstorming session from step #1. For example, if you want to blog about sports, choose something like “Rebecca’s RBI Rundown” instead of something like “Rebecca Writes”. Remember, you want to attract readership and most of us navigate through links of related content. If I want to read about cooking, I am going to click on a blog with a clear culinary focus. Once you decide on a name that is available, it’s as simple as clicking on “create blog” and following the instructions sent to your email address. Then you’ll be directed to your very own Dashboard, which will serve as your home base and is the launching point for writing, changing appearance, and viewing comments/statistics.   4. Fine Tune Once you have an official WordPress site, you can choose and activate a theme. There are many to choose from with a variety of colors, patterns and layouts, so pick one that suits your style and content matter. You can change this later (and however often you’d like) so don’t fret too much! If you...

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