A Second Career in Digital Media

by Lauren Hernandez | March 10, 2023
Sessions College has been working with adult learners for over 25 years, and one thing we’ve learned is that creativity can’t be stopped. Sooner or later, a creative person will find a path to a career, full-time or freelance.  Air Force veteran Marc Fraley joined Sessions last summer to study digital media, convinced that he could turn his skills in Adobe Creative Suite and explorations of digital media into something more. Now that he’s graduated, he’s started doing freelance work for local clients, using his skills to empower others.

Q: Marc, you recently graduated from the UC in Digital Media. Can you tell us about how you found the program and why you decided to pursue digital media?

I discovered the Undergraduate Certificate in Digital Media program at Sessions College while researching a list of approved educational institutions under the VRRAP program (Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program). I had some previous exposure to digital media and the Adobe Creative Suite, and I felt like I would like to do this as a second career moving forward. Sessions College for Professional Design had curricula, when compared to others I looked at, that matched my career goals the best. It was definitely the right choice for me.

Q: How did the flexibility of online study helped you pursue your education and fit into your life?

I had to work during my time at Sessions College, so flexibility was a welcome benefit while pursuing my UC in Digital Media. Additionally, because life happens, I had instructors that were willing to provide a little leeway (if needed) due to unexpected circumstances. I really had some excellent instructors!

Q: During your program, what was the most challenging project you worked on and what project are you the most proud of?

Honestly, I really enjoyed working on all of my assignments! I probably found the motion graphic assignments to be the most challenging, as I did not have any prior experience with After Effects. Some of them were particularly time intensive, which created time management trials for balancing creativity against getting the assignment done on time; not to mention the time I needed to dedicate to my other course assignments.

The assignment I think I am most proud of is a DVD cover I did in my Photoshop I course. We were tasked with colorizing black and white photos and integrating them into key art for a DVD cover. I chose a classic Universal Monsters theme and brought color to a fictitious DVD release of “The Wolfman.” My instructor told me that I presented professional-level work, which really stuck with me. I realized I had the skills I needed to do this as a professional.

Q: How have the courses you have taken advanced your creative or professional goals?

Although I am still looking for full-time employment in digital media, I have done a little freelance work. I have confidence in my abilities and know my limitations as well. I have been able to look at the job description requirements in various digital media fields, and fully realize that I have what employers are looking for. The challenge now is to market my skills in a compelling manner that distinguishes me from my competitors.

Q: Now that you’ve graduated, how are you applying your digital media skills in your career?

I have done some freelance work since I graduated. Most recently, I designed some marketing postcards for an independent information technology business. The client wanted to expand their services into both the educational and medical fields. I was able to apply not only my creative skills but also my business knowledge of marketing and branding to develop end products that my client was very pleased with. I find it truly rewarding to be able to create something that can help others achieve their own goals: personal or professional.

Q: Do you have any advice for someone looking to pursue a career in digital media?

My advice is never to give up on your passions and try not to become discouraged when you hit the occasional brick wall. There will be challenges out there, but what you do is unique, special, and worthy of some rewarding opportunity that just hasn’t discovered you yet. Keep your skills sharp in between jobs and take advantage of opportunities to advance them. Never stop creating.

To learn more about Marc Fraley’s work, visit the following links:

To learn more about digital media programs at Sessions College, visit the digital media majors page to learn about Digital Media degree and certificate programs.

Lauren Hernandez is the Manager, Faculty and Curriculum Development at Sessions College. Lauren is an artist, educator, and former middle-school teacher with a passion for everything art-related. Outside of work, Lauren likes to take care of her plants and hang out with her bird.