What made you decide to pursue your degree in WDOC?

I have my degree in old-school journalism. The print kind. I spent just as much time on my gerunds and participles as I did chasing down chamber of commerce members and transcribing interviews for stories. These hard news skills (things like fact checking, and generating comprehensive, captivating copy) translated incredibly well into the world of marketing, which is the field where I started my career after finishing bachelor’s degree. I wanted to learn how to translate all of my writing and design skills to the web, which is where most of today’s business is done. I think being able to “speak web” will make me a marketing super soldier. Not only will I be able to create quality content, but I know how to translate my hard work online.

What has been the biggest thing you have learned in your classes?

One of the greatest lessons I learned as a designer in this program is how to appreciate craftsmanship. You can’t fake hard work. If you want your projects to show your inner potential, you must have an ardent work ethic where you are dedicated to adding a little bit more to a project every single day. It’s about understanding the process and the metaphorical calculus involved in accomplishing every step. Where your end-users see “magic” you will see a series of complex (yet rewarding) steps that result in the end product.

What have you learned in your classes that you have already applied to your job?

I wish I could say I used everything from my classes in my job and have you honestly believe me – but it’s true! Every week I had a new, life-changing lesson to help with my job. I have touched on SEO principles, developing professional graphics, best web design practices and perhaps most important of all, how to read, write and master HTML.

When I started this program my command of HTML was limited to writing articles for WordPress blogs (pretty much telling the text editor whether something was a paragraph or a header). But now, I have to skills to create a fully functioning, feature-rich website on my own. Understanding how to building and maintain a website has allowed me to undertake major projects for my company that I could not have before I took this program.

What are your career aspirations?

I want to direct marketing departments for companies and their projects.

What accomplishment are you the proudest of achieving?

I’m proud of my education and how it has translated into my marketing career. The field of journalism has never been more tenuous or contemptuous, so finding a field where my background skills can really shine feels like a blessing.

Some other things I am proud of: I helped to create a database for police shootings in Florida as a project with the Tampa Bay Times. And I am also a proud dog father.

Ryan Black

Ryan Black

Class of May ’18

Tampa, FL

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