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Former Web Designer Finds Her Sweet Spot in Instructional Design [Alumni Case Study]

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I didn’t know the instructional design field existed

After graduating with a bachelor’s in Computer Science, I started a website and graphic design firm. I worked on ecommerce sites, flyers, promotional materials and event websites for about five years before deciding to pursue a master’s degree. Most of the projects involved training clients, which were small business owners; I enjoyed that much more than design. When I started looking into the learning field, I was interested in careers involving training and development and stumbled upon the Instructional Design & Technology (IDT) master’s program at Georgia State University. I didn’t even realize this field existed!

I found my sweet spot in the IDT master’s program

As a wife, mother and working professional, the online classes provided the flexibility I needed. All the classes were synchronized in order to have dialogue and build supportive relationships with my professors and classmates. Once I enrolled and began taking courses, I realized the IDT program was perfectly aligned with all my skills and experiences. Instructional design encompasses programming so you can develop eLearning courses; graphic design to create beautiful paper-based and eLearning materials; and education and training to help learners overcome performance gaps. Georgia State’s IDT program was my sweet spot.

Instructional design positions are in high demand

While in the program, I worked as an office manager for a media company. Towards the end of my second year, my manager offered me contract work to develop eLearning for the Federal Aviation Administration. Shortly after I wrapped up that project, it took four weeks to find another position. My career at Home Depot began as an instructional designer, and within two years I was promoted to learning strategy manager in charge of developing curriculum for all managers. I’m lucky to be in Atlanta because there’s a great community of learning professionals in high demand.

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