It’s been less than a year since Charlotte Hodgson earned her Digital Media degree at FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and she’s already begun a dream career as a Mobile Applications Developer and freelance videographer/editor.
“There’s not just one thing that I love about my job. I love the team I work with, I love editing CSS, and I love being able to design something knowing that is going to be live for thousands of people to see,” says Hodgson, a 2010 graduate of Valley View High School in Moreno Valley, California.
As a Mobile Applications Developer at 1BoxApps in Temecula, California Hodgson works with Photoshop, Illustrator, HTML and CSS to design and develop smartphone apps for iPhone and Android.
Although Hodgson has always been interested in technology and computers, she didn’t intend to work in web/mobile development upon graduation.
“I still am in disbelief myself that I got a job dealing with CSS because it was something I’d completely avoid while in school,” she says.
But after a three month stint at Binarytech Interactive in Riverside, CA, she says the internship “opened her eyes to a new industry.”
“Every project that I get to work on at work is an exciting one,” she says. “Every project that gets assigned to me is different which means I’ll learn something new and I love to learn new things, especially in CSS. And now I’m determined to make it one of my strongest points, it’s a very useful design tool!”
In addition to Hodgson’s newly discovered interest in HTML and CSS, she continues to pursue her passion for digital media, video editing and videography.
“In this field, I kind of get to incorporate things I learned while I studied digital media. I still get to be creative and express my creativity in a way that I enjoy,” she says. “And I still do freelance videography and editing on the side!”
Currently she handles freelance motion graphics, videography and editing for an underground hip-hop artist in the Inland Empire, she says, along with album artwork and video work for another artist’s upcoming album.
Below, read our full Q&A with Hodgson about her amazing job, her advice for current Digital Media students and more.
Q&A with Mobile App Developer & FIDM Digital Media Alumna, Charlotte Hodgson
(FIDMDigitalArts.com) What brought you to FIDM and why did you choose to study digital media?
(Hodgson) “What brought me to FIDM is my love for computers and technology. I’ve always been into computer technology since I was in high school and when I read about FIDM and the fact that the Digital Media program was Mac-based, I was ready for a new challenge. Before I came to FIDM, I was a PC user who knew Windows inside and out. After my first quarter at FIDM, I quickly converted to Mac after seeing how fast the Mac software works and now when I get on a PC, I just think to myself, ‘why did I ever even use this?’”
What did you enjoy about the Digital Media program?
“What I enjoyed the most about the Digital Media program, next to the amazing software and computers we got to use, was definitely the second family that I gained during my two years in the program. Since we had all of our classes together for two years, we were forced to get to know each other, which is definitely okay with me because I probably wouldn’t have gotten as close to my classmates as I did because I am an extremely shy and quiet person. I love my Digital Media family and having that bond with them is, no doubt, my most enjoyable part of studying Digital Media at FIDM.”
What does your everyday work day entail?
“Basically what I do is design mobile applications for both Android and iPhone for companies ranging from chiropractors, churches, dentists, cruise lines… there’s really no limit. We make apps for any company that wants an app!
Not only do I design the applications, but I develop them (make them live) by using HTML and CSS. After I am done with the complete design layout of the app, I have to then edit the code depending on if I’m working on an Android app or an iPhone app, which have a different set of HTML and CSS that you have to use to make the app functional.
A full day’s work [for me is usually] filled with designing apps for Android and iPhone (which, by the way, have different screen sizes). After I’m finished with sizing all of my designs correctly I then have to make the buttons in Photoshop and begin to make the app functional. Then I design all of the pages that need to be added into the app (like ‘about’ pages, ‘share’ pages, ‘contact’ pages, etc.) and make them functional using HTML and CSS.
All of those steps are for a full app creation and buildout. My job title also includes that I make upgrades for apps too. Upgrades are a little easier because the app is already made so I just have to make the updates that are assigned. But sometimes there are a lot of updates that need to be made to the apps, and sometimes updates can require you to remake the whole app over. Those are the most fun! (I’m not being sarcastic).”
Have you downloaded some of the apps that you designed? How did that feel?
“Yes I have downloaded some of the apps that I’ve designed. It’s a really cool feeling…It’s like ‘whoa, something I made from scratch is now live in the Google Play Store and App Store!’ It’s very cool!”
What advice do you have for current digital media students?
“My advice for current digital media students is, never give up no matter how hard times may feel after graduation. After graduation you will feel a little alone because you will not be surrounded by the support system that you had to lean on for the two years that you studied digital media. You will need to learn how to push yourself and not always have someone else push you. After graduation, it is all in your hands to make things happen. And don’t worry, if you don’t get into your ideal field right after graduation, it is okay! Who says you have to just settle for the skills you learned while studying digital media? Learn more! Expand your skills list on your resume like I did.
Oh and most importantly, please take all of your projects that you make while enrolled in the Digital Media program seriously. Those projects are not just school assignments, they are projects that are going to appear on your reel and website. They are projects that define your level of skill and creativity, so always take the project seriously! If you don’t like the project requirements, keep in mind when you’re actually in the industry, whether you like the project requirements or not, it’s not about you, it’s about the client or company you are making it for, so work hard on every project that you get. Make each project better than the previous and don’t be afraid to step out of the box. Make everything unpredictable and eye-popping. Good luck guys!”
Start college and kickstart your career in graphic design.
FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising isn’t just a recognized leader in the study of design and creative business– we’re a training ground for the exciting career in graphic design you’ve always dreamed of pursuing. No other graphic design program has the same unique focus on the fashion and entertainment industries, teaching creative expression in all aspects of print media, logo development, corporate identity, product branding, packaging, apparel graphics and more.
Creative careers begin here.
With four California campuses located in the heart of the fashion and entertainment industries, FIDM is a leading, accredited college offering specialized Associate of Arts and Bachelor’s of Arts degrees. FIDM has been educating students with creative and leadership skills for the global industries of fashion, visual arts, interior design, and entertainment for more than 45 years. Learn more at www.fidm.edu.
The FIDM Digital Arts Blog is dedicated to professional and aspiring graphic designers and filmmakers, illustrating the range of career opportunities within these fields written by FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. See more at www.fidmdigitalarts.com.