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I'm unsure if this is the right forum (LinkedIn would probably provide more personalised feedback, but I would prefer a variety of opinions).

I am a graduate, with a Bachelor's of Tourism and Hospitality and a GradDip of Marketing. I have no design experience but am naturally creative and enjoy art, illustration and editing.

I've been looking at kickstarting my career and thought to learn some sort of design software - to increase my practical hard skills in the event management/digital area.

So this leads me to my questions:

Which software - if not all would be best for developing these skills?

How accessible is Affinity for beginners?

Is it worth investing my time - would this increase my employability?

Any response would be greatly appreciated.



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It sounds like Affinity Designer would be a good choice for you! There are lots of tutorials available in the forums here and also on YouTube. This is a great skillset to have especially when it comes to content creation for digital marketing.

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I don't think it would ad to your employability.
Affinity apps aren't industri standard and most likely it won't be part of the tools on a workplace - but it's cheap and very good software for any company/business to buy if they would like to. Adobe CC or Sketch is probably most likely the softwares being used at a workplace for digital graphics...

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In some rare cases might give you the advantage. In my local area I've already seen a pair of job offers adding "A big plus if you are familiar with Affinity Photo and Designer".   This will happen from time to time, as some valiant already at some companies might be convincing the powers that be to go for it (hehe, I've done so with other apps, way long ago), as for small businesses, it can save a ton of money per seat, instead of going CC. And can give you an edge, as there's surely a rather smaller proportion of Affinity experts, in comparison. Generally speaking, tho, for career growing and all  : It's all about Adobe in 2D, Autodesk products + Zbrush in 3D, and so on. For increasing your employability you HAVE to go for the industry standards. It's super sad, but it is a reality. Plus, is great to learn with a tool that makes everything required  in the professional market, as is very old and polished and has armies developing it since.. always, and once mastered those (or while you're at it) then go for more affordable tools even if cover a subset of that (in the case of Affinity is a huge subset), as you know the complete workflow, and you can then generate your workarounds, if needing any, as you know those tasks do exist in the professional world, and you will know how it must be the output, the specs, etc. Some or quite a bunch of the open source graphic software applications have the issue of having a community with not so many industry professionals, even those suggesting and helping the developers : You can't ask for a feature if you don't know it is important in a professional software (IE, CMYK in Gimp / Inskcape ). So, yeah, is great to have a full background, and then go choosing your freelancing affordable tools, and build with them equally efficient workflows, even if sometimes needing workarounds.

Now... that said, and while strongly recommend what I said above (mastering the industry standards), I got used to use/purchase open source and mid cost software, and that brought me a ton of benefits in small companies where I could provide way more affordable software-workflows for each company (they end up loving you). And also, provides you with software to use legally at home for your own freelancing (amazing to compete in contests, be able to send files to clients, etc, etc), which is also good to train your skills no matter what, even for actually getting a job, as own projects, of certain complexity, are a super important matter for many first jobs.

I learnt that getting used to many different UIs, apps, and workflows, gives you a big advantage over other professionals, as you become very flexible and a faster learner, easier to cover more ground than others. The only key thing to know, for the very particular path of building a career, to be only contracted as staff at companies, is that the industry standard software learning must have an absolute priority. If the focus is instead mounting your own business, I'd say this, (unless you need certain feature badly, and find yourself not able to generate your workarounds) , freelancing, or having a hobby, are 3 uses cases absolutely perfect (imo), for Affinity. It's also amazing for doing your side freelancing in free time, at home, yet having your job at a company (again, never removing time from learning the standard tools). 

If I'd give the opposite advice I would be being deeply dishonest and misleading.

I'd TOTALLY focus mainly in the industry standard learning and (super important) doing real full projects, better if for actual real businesses, people that need you to get something done for them, but if can't find anyone willing to pay you for that, do your own invented ones : You learn way less than if doing a real gig, and then gain no money, and counts way less in your CV but still will make you grow a lot your skills set. Don't stop in watching video tuts and completing courses. All those are ESSENTIAL to speed up your learning up rather than "guessing" stuff. But that has to be combined with real projects (of your personal own, but complex ones, or paid gigs).

Now, it does not hurt, indeed helps the brain to get flexible for when you will get the UI and software changed in your jobs (and gosh, you will see that, so many times....) if you use affordable (ie, Affinity) software for your freelancing (even open source, if reaches the quality of Blender: not many do so), but maintain your main learning in the industry standards. That change of context will help you develop your skills faster and more powerfully. 3D is 3D, and 2D is 2D, it's general concepts and workflows which common parts you will learn to see, if swapping contexts and UIs often, and it will help you learn anything new of the kind, much , much faster and easier.  I know by own experience.

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