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Digital Arts and Sciences (DAS) - Narratives

Narratives from Past Graduates

Narrative 1: Digital Media Developer

  1. What are the job prospects given a DAS degree?

    ..if DAS students are applying for a multimedia position, i think they have a higher chance of being accepted than a person from CISE with no graphics exposure, the reverse is true too. if you are a DAS major and applying for a position that doesn't involve multimedia and graphics, the employers will probably prefer getting someone who looks more experienced in purely programming. needless to say, a lot depends on the position you're applying to, your experience and the people doing the interview...

  2. Is it easier to get a job with the regular (CISE) degree?

    ...I wouldn't say easier or harder, I guess it depends. but i always have to clarify for people that I graduated from DAS engineering and NOT Arts since the term is so general and can work for both. I always made sure of that during interviews. I guess it is viewed positively since I got accepted in several places...

  3. What do employers ask during an interview, and what is their reaction to the DAS degree?

    ...During an interview I got asked puzzles, programming, problem solving , and based on my CV I got asked few practical Photoshop and 3D questions. Also I showed my portfolio and answered questions about it. A Portfolio is a must especially in multi-media and arts related projects, I don't care if a person spends 1 hour describing to me a project, if I don't see it, the project doesn't exists !!! I want to SEE IT...

  4. How is the DAS degree received in the UF jobs fair?

    ....I did apply to lots of companies online but I didn't get much answers but on the contrary I got much more answers from companies from the UF career Fair....

Narrative 2: Software Engineer

  1. What are the job prospects given a DAS degree?

    There really are a wide array of job prospects available to DAS graduates. One of the most important aspects that students should stress in interviews is that their education is highly interdisciplinary and that it is engineering-centric. (They should also make sure to stress that their degree is in DAS, not DIS.) I know of several students who now work in the entertainment industry for either game companies or animation studios. Both industries are notoriously difficult to “break into” though. While this is often the dream that many students enter the DAS program with, I hope that students don't discount the possibility of working for a traditional engineering firm. Several firms are looking for incoming new graduates who are able to bridge gaps and approach problems with unique perspectives.

  2. How is the DAS degree received in the UF jobs fair?

    Unfortunately, I can't answer this question as an attendee of the career fair. I would expect that the degree itself is not as important as the qualifications of the student and the initial interview. There is generally a place on the applications to indicate the degree program, but this really only serves to give a generic perspective of the background of the applicant. Honestly, many employers are probably still unfamiliar with the DAS degree program so students should be prepared to provide an overview of the program. Students should be prepared to answer technical questions on programming and engineering practices. If they are applying to a studio, they need to make sure they have a digital portfolio/demonstration reel in addition to their résumé. Employers are still looking for well-rounded individuals with excellent communication skills.

  3. What do employers ask during an interview, and what is their reaction to the DAS degree?

    Employers are generally interested in ascertaining personality, critical thinking and problem solving skills, judgment and decision making skills, teamwork, adaptability, independent learning, and communication skills. These are the core attributes that I think I've had all employers ask questions about. Additionally, applicants should be prepared to address specific topics related to the job they are applying for. They should ALWAYS be prepared to discuss projects that they have worked on or internships they have participated in. They should be prepared to reflect on their student experience critically. If I could offer any pointers it would be

    1. Answer the questions that are asked to the best of your ability without getting side tracked.
    2. Don't forget that an interview is YOUR opportunity to ask questions to the interviewer too.

     

    Hiring managers aren't just trying to be nice when they ask if you have any questions. A lack of questions for the interviewer shows a lack of interest in the company/position that you are applying for. Pick a few target companies and visit their web sites to gather information and be prepared with some questions of your own.

    Finally, my experience has been that the DAS degree is very well received once employers understand what the program is about and how I feel it has prepared me for the job that I'm applying to. Bottom line, it's up to the student to sell themselves. The interview is about the person, not their degree. Another way of thinking about this issue is that employers are more concerned with the knowledge you possess than the education you were given.

  4. Is it easier to get a job with the regular (CISE) degree?

    I think it's probably easier to be found in an online database search if you have a CISE degree since many universities offer comparable programs. DAS really only exists at UF which is potentially as much of a benefit as it is a hindrance. DAS students are provided with a very unique educational experience that prepares them to approach problems in non-traditional ways. This can be a great selling point once you secure an interview, but it can be harder to get your foot in the door if you're applying online or by mail. Try to take advantage of the career fairs. That way you are able to meet face-to-face with potential employers. You remove the barrier of having to be found!

  5. What companies are hiring DAS students?

    I wish I had a definite answer on this one, but I don't. I know what KINDS of companies are hiring DAS students, though. Arts and entertainment companies (EA, DreamWorks, etc.), engineering firms and government contractors (Harris, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, etc.), modeling and simulation firms (Link Simulation and Training, Army PEO STRI, etc.) There really are several possibilities.

Narrative 3: Digital Media Developer

I was looking a job that allowed me to work in 3D and programming. I wasn't interested in modeling or animating so my advice is probably not applicable to people who would like to pursue those careers.

I develop simulations and content using 3D avatars for culture and language training for the military and government sector.

  1. What are the job prospects given a DAS degree?

    The simulation industry is really big right now, and they could use plenty of engineers who understand 3D, animating, modeling etc. I would say a majority of companies that go to I/ITSEC every year would be looking for DAS students.

    There's always the gaming industry, but I would be wary of this industry. Unlike most industries like the government sector, the gaming industry goes through a big hiring process per title of a game. If the game falls behind schedule (which they always do) they hire more people about mid-way through the project. Once the project is completed or if the title flops, they lay off about 50% of the people. If you're a self starter, highly-motivated individual, you'll be fine. I just think its one of those things that students should think about before they get caught up in the hype.

  2. How is the DAS degree received in the UF jobs fair?

    At the career fair, research the companies that have simulation departments. They are more likely to need a DAS student.

    Companies usually send recruiters to the job fair, so most of them are not technical but they can definitely help you get your foot in the door. Most of the people I talked to at the career fair said “E-mail me in a week with your resume and I'll try to push it through the process, but you have to apply on-line as well.” I believe recruiters helped me with obtaining interviews.

  3. What do employers ask during an interview, and what is their reaction to the DAS degree?

    This is all in how you present the DAS degree to the recruiters. They still don't know what “DAS” is whether its more like Full-Sail curriculum of learning tools or a computer engineering degree. Whenever it was my chance to talk to recruiters my second sentence was always: “I have a Digital Arts and Sciences degree under the Computer Engineering Department. What that means is that instead of taking courses in electrical or circuits, I specialized in more art and computer graphics courses such as: list courses.” I think that you need to enunciate that you took all the same computer science courses as a computer engineer or else you'll receive the “so you're a website designer” question. Portfolios also help get the point as to what you are interested in and what you can do as a future employee at their company.

    The questions they always asked me were:

    1. What kind of role you wanted to play in the company (management, software lead)?
    2. From what you see on the company website, what projects are you interested in?
    3. They also asked me some technical questions about search algorithms, or about how to use particular tools such as Flash and Photoshop especially since those programs were on my resume.

     

  4. Is it easier to get a job with the regular (CISE) degree?

    Its probably easier to explain the job you want with a CISE degree. However, an individual with a CISE degree or DAS degree with a good GPA, involvement in extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and a confident friendly attitude will probably receive offers either way. The good news is that your degree will help you get that first job, but from then on, I really believe that industry looks at your past job performance and projects. The degree will only determine your starting pay grade.

Narrative 4: Software Engineer

  1. What are the job prospects given a DAS degree?

    The DAS degree gave me a wide gamut of skills, at the risk of lacking expertise in any single skill. I found the job prospects to be very favorable, although I oftentimes would have to educate the employer concerning my skill set. I found most employment positions to either be engineering or fine arts oriented. The engineering positions also included significantly higher salaries as well as more challenging tasks. The disparity between the fine arts and engineering oriented positions could exceed up to $30k annually. In this regard, I found myself interviewing with only engineering oriented firms. Essentially, I had to choose between positions that emphasized the engineering background against positions that emphasized the fine arts background. Regardless, the DAS degree gave me numerous skills which allowed me to engage virtually any employer. I used to say, “If the firm has a website, I can work for them.” (the irony was that every firm has a website) :-)

  2. How is the DAS degree received in the UF jobs fair?

    Although only a select portion of UF jobs fair firms could benefit from the DAS degree (in 2006), I found the degree to be received favorably by all of them. I oftentimes would find myself educating the potential employer of my skills and coursework, but I found the degree applicable to a wide range of positions including multimedia production (images, video, audio), website development, image processing, database management, software development, as well as general IT support. I ended up accepting a job in image processing. I did not expect to find a lead at the UF jobs fair, but I forced myself to go, in an effort to practice my 1 minute commercial.

  3. What do employers ask during an interview, and what is their reaction to the DAS degree?

    My initial interviews involved mostly behavioral questions concerning my ability to work in teams, experiences concerning my senior project, my most and least favorable courses, as well as my knowledge of general concepts such as critical path and the traceability matrix. These interviews were generally used to gauge my attitude and willingness to learn. My subsequent interviews were filled with stringent programming questions that could be found from any “programming interview questions” book. I personally felt like I received stringent interviews in an effort to gauge my programming ability in comparison to a regular CISE graduate. The DAS degree continued to be favorable during the interviews, as it gave me a unique background from the standard applicant.

  4. Is it easier to get a job with the regular (CISE) degree?

    I would argue that it is easier to get a job with a regular CISE degree, but it isn't nearly as much fun! More importantly, I would also argue that after some work experience has been acquired, a DAS graduate becomes exponentially more valuable than a regular CISE graduate. The ability to combine expertise in software engineering and imagery is a rare and powerful combination. The degree can expose you to the world of website development, image processing (geospatial, biomedical, etc), and multimedia production. I am a strong supporter of combined professions. We need more engineers who are also experts in other fields.

  5. What companies are hiring DAS students?

    The DAS degree is applicable to professions such as:

    • website design & development (Google, WebMD, ...)
    • medical imaging (GE, ...)
    • finance IT support (Bank of America, Citigroup, ...)
    • image processing (Harris Corporation, BAE, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, U.S Government, Nikon, Kodak, ...)
    • simulation (Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, U.S Government, ...)

     

    It's been 3 years since I have been job searching, but I generally found some area of my degree to apply to any prospective firm. It's all about how hard you look. Write a cover letter that illustrates your unique ability to contribute value to the firm, and you'll have the employers attention.

    I also feel that it is important to ask, “What DAS students are being hired by companies?” Remember that a pro active student will take the time to educate the employer, as well as envision a position which he or she would be beneficial. I felt my success as a DAS graduate has been due to my summer internships, as well as my leadership and extracurricular activities. Because the DAS degree covers such a wide gamut of skills, it is very important to continue progressing them beyond what is taught in the classroom OR to chose a single skill and enhance it until you have a competitive advantage.