There has arguably never been a more interesting time for media. Mobile technology has given a voice to the ‘citizen journalist’, while the rise in digital platforms, social media and micro-blogging sites has given anyone with an opinion and internet access the opportunity to share news, trends and opinions.
Yet despite the vast and expanding media landscape, it is a difficult industry to break into. Research conducted by Adobe into its Adobe Certified Associates (ACA) program reveals that 74 percent of current and aspiring digital media professionals perceive the field of digital media to be more competitive than it was five years ago, and that 56 percent of current and aspiring digital media professionals are concerned about how to differentiate themselves when applying for a job.
So, how can students of media, design, and communications related fields make themselves more marketable?
In short, being proficient at digital storytelling is vital. With the evolving nature of media consumption, communication professionals, media specialists and journalists must learn how to align their skills with their employers’ business models so they can help their organizations achieve their goals. The traditional mediums – print, television and radio – are competing with smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, the internet and podcasts for reader attention and advertising spend, so understanding how to tell a compelling story on these channels is as crucial for media professionals as knowing AP style. 54 percent of survey participants agree that a lack of digital media experience is a barrier to enter digital media professions, and 56 percent feel that a demonstrated ability to work across multiple devices and programs helps their resume stand out.
The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism agrees with the 61 percent of respondents that believe being able to demonstrate knowledge of digital design tools will help set them apart from their peers. Two-thirds (62 percent) of current and aspiring digital media employees agreed that certifications help candidates prove their digital media skills to prospective employers, and they view knowledge of design tools as the top way to help their resumes stand out.
ACA holders do not just see a boost in their resumes and tangible skill sets, but also their confidence and self-esteem. In fact, 78 percent of survey respondents said that confidence is the most important quality for securing your first job in the digital media industry, and ACA holders are nearly twice as likely as non-ACA holders to feel ahead of the curve. They are also more likely to be proactive in setting themselves apart by keeping up to date with digital tools compared to non-ACA holders via a variety of activities which include watching online tutorials compared (59 percent vs. 51 percent), being actively engaged in online networks and activities (47 percent vs. 36 percent), and working with a mentor or teacher (45 percent vs. 24 percent).
ACA holders also see the digital certification program as a means of making up for lost time or to fill a void they feel is missing in their education, which is a common issue for mature students who went to high school before the digital media explosion. Of the people surveyed, 67 percent wish their high school had offered courses or programs by reputable organizations to help them learn digital media tools, and 71 percent of aspiring digital media professionals who are not ACA holders feel that they’d be further along in their careers (i.e. employed in a job they want!) if they had learnt digital media skills in a formal education setting. “I could have started a portfolio and developed skills early on. I would have had more confidence entering college,” said a current professional surveyed for this study.
So, to learn more about how to prepare for and earn an Adobe Certified Associate certification, log on to https://edex.adobe.com/aca. If you’re already an ACA holder, check out the Adobe Certified Associate World Championship, explore the Regional competitions, and consider submitting your work.
 Survey administered by Edelman Intelligence, 2016. Adobe asked current and aspiring digital media professionals, including 504 Adobe Certified Associates and 562 non-ACA holders, ages 18 to 29 in the United States, Mexico and South Korea about the essentials for launching a successful digital media career.
For the fourth year running, it has been amazing to see student artists across the globe compete in the annual Adobe Certified Associate World Championship. Of the over 230,000 total entries submitted into this competition, 33 students were selected to compete in Orlando, FL for the ACA World Championship title. This year, Lourdes Gimena Anquiano Bermúdez from Mexico beat out the other 32 finalists in this incredibly talented, creative pool of Adobe Certified Associates to take first place. Take a peek at the top three finalists and their submissions:
First place, Lourdes Gimena Anquiano Bermúdez, Mexico
Second place, Ng Hwa Ee Nicholas, Malaysia
Third place, Cheung Kuok Pan, Macau
All other final flyer entries can be viewed here.
Not only did these students showcase their superior Adobe® Photoshop® CC, Adobe® InDesign® CC, and Adobe® Illustrator® CC skills, knowledge, and abilities, but they applied them to support a great cause. Certiport and Adobe partnered with the International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) for this year’s challenge to raise awareness and support for children’s art and creativity around the world. Students were asked to create a digital flyer for ICAF to help market its 6th Arts Olympiad. The students’ projects were judged on their creative and technical skills, as well as how well their flyer matched the client’s (ICAF) needs. In this competition, students gained the valuable experience of designing for a client’s needs while developing work for their professional portfolio.
Next year’s competition will be held in Anaheim, California. To stay connected on social, be sure to follow the competition gallery on Behance and the hashtag for the event: #ACAWC.
About the Adobe Certified Associate Program
The Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) certification allows learners to demonstrate proficiency in Adobe digital communications tools. Becoming a Certified Associate can help candidates stand apart from their peers, boost their confidence, and expand their career opportunities. Additionally, Adobe provides educational resources and curriculum on the Adobe Education Exchange to support educators and students preparing to earn their ACA certifications. Visit the ACA page on the Education Exchange to learn more about the details and benefits of this program.
What if you could participate in a competition that not only allowed you to let your creativity and talent shine, but also let you support a good cause and change the lives of children in need? This year, Adobe and Certiport hosted the first annual Adobe Certified Associate World Championship, a worldwide contest for students, aged 13-22, that allowed just that.
Throughout the course of the competition, over 30,000 individuals entered and twenty-one finalists from fourteen countries were selected. The finalists were awarded a year’s free subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud, as well as an all-expenses paid trip to Washington DC where the winners were announced.
To determine the world champion, the twenty-one finalists competed head-to-head in a real-world design challenge in the style of Project Runway or Top Chef. Adobe invited the Global Fund for Children (GFC) to serve as the “client” for the design challenge. GFC is an internationally-recognized non-profit organization that works to support the rights of children around the world. This fall, GFC will launch a marketing campaign to support The International Day of the Girl; GFC challenged the twenty-one finalists to create an engaging and impactful poster that would help drive fundraising to support this important cause.
The finalists had eight hours to work in Adobe Photoshop to create a meaningful poster. The final work was judged by a panel of industry experts, including a professor at the School of the Visual Arts in New York City, a designer at internationally-recognized agency Design Army and a representative from GFC. Judging categories included creativity, technical use of Adobe Photoshop, and ability to meet the client’s needs.
The wide array of stunning posters produced showcased the different creative lenses and skills brought by the diverse group of contestants. Because of the high quality of the work, the judges struggled to identify only three top winners. The winning students from Korea, Colombia and Taiwan were awarded prize packages and scholarship dollars to support their postsecondary plans.
On behalf of Adobe, I want to congratulate the winners and applaud all the contestants! There are lots of ways to show you care. How do you apply your creative talent to supporting causes that matter in your community?