Taylor Sharpe is the current ACA UK & Ireland Champion, a recent graduate from Coventry University, he won trip of a lifetime with Prodigy Learning to fly and compete in ACA Adobe World Championship final in Orlando, Florida.
Not only did partaking in the ACA UK & Ireland Championship bring Taylor to the World Final, his Adobe Certified Associate certification has allowed him become a successful designer. Certification validates his Adobe design skills to impressed clients and his success in the ACA Championship launched his design career.
“My ACA certifications have given me the confidence to apply for jobs that I once thought were out of reach. I feel being certified puts my skillset up there with experienced professionals who don’t have that same qualification. ACA certification has helped me get my foot in the door to impress potential clients and employers who may not have originally thought of a recent graduate as an option.” – Taylor Sharpe
Prodigy Learning caught up with Taylor to learn some fantastic insights into how he used his certification and success in ACA Championship to launch his design career and break into the design industry!
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 51 secs
PL: Taylor, congratulations on your incredible achievement, and thank you very much for giving your time to share your experience with us.
Taylor: Absolutely! It’s always a pleasure to share more about my experience.
PL: So you’re a recent University graduate, could you share a bit about your experience at University?
Taylor: Coventry University has a great design platform. It’s because of them that I learned of the Adobe Certified Associate certification. The University’s add+vantage program allows you to choose a subject you want to learn more about. I participated in the Illustrator module in my 2nd year, and Photoshop my 3rd year.
I decided, whilst I still had the opportunity I should take the InDesign course so that I could have Specialist title, making me more attractive to prospective employers. Luckily my advisor, Joy, had enough confidence in me to take the final exam without completing the main module. All the hard work definitely paid off.
PL: That’s amazing! So you’ve earned three ACA certifications?
Taylor: Luckily I did! I wanted to make sure I got the 3rd certification before I left University.
PL: Impressive! Do you feel like having all 3 ACA Certifications helped you succeed in the ACA UK & Ireland and go on to World Championship?
Taylor: I think it definitely was an advantage. I was so excited when I sat down in competition lab in London final and then again in Orlando. After what felt like a very long month waiting for this exact moment to happen, nerves subsided, with confidence and ability taking over, realising that this is where I want to be stationed in my career. All my doubts fell away.
PL: What a fantastic feeling! Have your ACA certifications helped you outside of the Championship?
Taylor: I do think it has helped. My ACA Certifications have given me the confidence to apply for jobs that I once thought were out of reach. I feel being certified puts my skillset up there with experienced professionals who don’t have that same qualification. ACA Certification has helped me get my foot in the door to impress potential clients and employers who may not have originally thought of a recent graduate as an option.
PL: As a recent graduate it certainly can be tough to break the design industry, could you share a little about how you got your foot in the door and the opportunities which have opened up for you?
Taylor: Aside from the adventures to the USA, I would like to think it has given me a better reputation as a trusted designer, seeing the qualifications on my website make me a professional who has achieved above and beyond my degree, rather than just another design graduate, as there are plenty of those to choose from.
I have had more clients for my own freelance work and also the opportunity to continue working on brilliantly diverse creative work at a design agency for the past year. I met my employer, Nigel Hopkins, a fantastic illustrator and co-owner of Blind Mice Design alongside Selina Goodfellow, in my ACA Illustrator course. He decided to take me on in the company after being impressed by my design ability, work ethic and understanding of the software.
PL: Congratulations!! Finally one last question to conclude, with your design experience under your belt, what advice would you give to other students who are looking to pursue a career in design?
Taylor: My advice would be to never pass up on an opportunity as you do not know where it may lead you. Don’t ever think you have enough qualifications or skills, widen your expertise, learn something unconventional that will make you stand out from the crowd forming an interesting and diverse portfolio.
I have one last word of thanks to Prodigy Learning and Certiport for my experience as I personally learned a lot from the competition. Thank you to Prodigy for supporting me and arranging everything throughout the past few months. Without this kickstart I wouldn’t be where I am now and I am extremely grateful for this.
Taylor Sharpe, ACA UK & Ireland Champion 2018
This year the ACA World Championship Final is in NEW YORK!
Do your students have what it takes to win and compete in NYC? Learn how to enter ACA Australian, UK & Ireland Championships 2019, CLICK HERE