‘’No I do not know how a coffee machine works, nor do I want to.’’

‘’No I do not know how a coffee machine works, nor do I want to.’’

In today’s society it is not enough anymore to create a product that just does the job. How the product looks or is advertised is just as important, if not more than the product itself. If the consumers do not notice it, the product will disappear off the market –  without making any profit at all. Nowadays there are many other creative jobs than being an artist, but having a job where you do not exactly know what project you will be working on next month or that can be stressful (technology changes, which creates jobs and makes others irrelevant). Which may result in not choosing to study something in that field.

So how can you decide if CreaTe is something for you? What should you be capable of before you start the course? What does your future look like after you graduated from CreaTe?  To answer the many questions a beginning CreaTe student or CreaTe student to be has , I interviewed CreaTe program-director Alma Schaafstal to give us all the answers.

Alma Schaafstal

When I told people I wanted to study CreaTe everyone asked me ‘’Are you even creative?’’. Not that they knew what the study Creative Technology was about, I did not know how to answer at that time. Most of my friends just shrugged; they were too busy finding something for themselves in the sea of possibilities. They were happy for me that I found something that made me look forward to graduating but the older generations were more difficult. Just stating ‘’This looks like it is something for me.’’ was not good enough for them, even though it was good enough for me.

High school graduates that decide to study law get way less questions because it is clear to the majority of people what they are going to do. Besides that, as long as the news does not say that there are too many lawyers, they will not be questioned about how they are going to find a job. My study adviser told me I should study psychology, something I have experience in because my mom does something in that field. She also asked me if I had ever wondered how a coffee machine was made, because of the ‘technology’ part, I guess.

My answer to that question was ‘no’. This was just untouched terrain – and obviously bad because it was so unknown to me. Firstly, although my mom is lovely, I do not want to do what she does. Secondly, just thinking about how machines are made is not what CreaTe is about. And lastly: what is wrong with wanting to do something you have no experience in? I am nineteen, I am going to do a lot of things in my life I have never done before.

How do you know if CreaTe is something for you?

‘’If you want to study CreaTe you need to have a love for technology. In particular computer science and the digital technology. Maybe even a bit of electronics. You must have an interest in creating something that will have an impact on society or people’s lives. I think it is helpful if you like to make something that is out of the ordinary.
Dare to think out of the box. You must have courage to dive into the deep ocean of possibilities. And be prepared to work in an open environment, most assignments are not very structured. That is something that you should be able to handle.’’

Do you agree with the fact that you can start CreaTe without any knowledge of programming?

‘’Yes! I definitely do. In CreaTe we’ve seen so many cases now of people, who in high school never got the change to choose for a certain profile, although they are capable of doing things in that direction that they thought they had.
In CreaTe we’re looking for a diversity of people. By now we believe, and it has been proven that if you are willing, as a student, to put effort into it, we can get you there. And yes, it will be hard work if do not have any background knowledge.
The actual problem is that the student does not have the knowledge, but that the student thinks he or she cannot do it. The mental barrier is more difficult to overcome than the knowledge barrier. You must keep an open mind. Especially for students with no experience in programming, the learning curve goes up very fast. And if you do not succeed one time, there is always a next change to do so.’’

There are some legitimate concerns though. Doing something in the creative field does not always give you a stable income. Being a writer, a singer, a painter or anything in that direction is rarely stable. You can never lean back for a certain amount of time because you have to stay relevant or else someone else will take your place. The difference is that the world does not really need more writers, singers, painters or anything in that direction per say per say, but the world does need more programmers and designers if we want to keep growing at this pace.

Maybe the ‘creative’ part in ‘’creative technology’’ throws people off a bit, it does not sound serious enough to them. Even though making a product that not only works but is accepted by society can be harder than making a product that just works.

L’image contient peut-être : ciel, texte et plein air

What would you say to people that think Create is not a serious course?

‘’I would laugh. I would tell them to go take a look at the course for themselves. To look at the successes that our student have, at the jobs that they currently have, the companies that they started and the prices that they win.
And I would tell them how proud I am of the CreaTe students. We are definitely not playing around, this is a very serious study.’’

How do you think CreaTe students can develop themselves even more?

‘’What I think is important for CreaTe students is that they build up their portfolio. By that I mean that, the more projects you do, the better you do on those and the better you document that, will help you in your future carrier.
If there are extracurricular challenges, opportunities grab them. They are going to be important. Because that is the way you can show that you are outstanding. Join committees, go to symposiums, do as much to broaden your horizon and make yourself look as good as possible.’’

As someone to whom basically all the courses are never stepped on territory, I can say that the study is not easy for me. There are people around you who have way more experience than you have and it is definitely intimidating, but not impossible. I can already say that I am 999% better in programming than I was before I started this subject, and we have done only two modules. I love that I can see my progress every single week because there is always something new I have learned. The simplest things are still exciting, not just for me, but also for the people that already have some experience. They keep pushing themselves and take it a step further.

Do you think CreaTe students will be important in the future?

‘’Of course, CreaTe students have a broad overview. They have a good amount of knowledge of everything in their field, they are not just a one trick horse. Not only do they understand the needs that the users have, they understand their product must look appealing and how to make it look appealing.
This course does not specialize in one subject, so CreaTe student will be able to function like a bridge between two disciplines.’’

To conclude: I am happy that I am studying something I have never done before. Sometimes you are not sure if a study is something for you, but that is what “student for a day” days and websites like this one are for. We are writing about our study and interest not just for fellow CreaTe students, but also for the people that are not or are finding out if they want to study CreaTe. It could be risky in the entertainment industry to rely on a creative job – but with today’s world relying on computers and programmers there is a lot of demand for people who studied something like CreaTe.  Plus, you are going to do a lot of things you have never done before. So why not start now?

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