When I first began my second job placement, I had some basic knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite. I had used Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator in my previous position, but it had been nearly a year since I had created anything significant. Within the first week, it became apparent just how much I would be working with Illustrator, and I began to feel nervous to sit down with the programs since I had been away from them for so long. I felt I should be an expert when I was, in fact, still a beginner.
At first, I kept printed pages of keyboard shortcuts an arm’s length away at my desk. However, I was lucky that the last Co-op student, Kim, overlapped with my placement by about two weeks. She was a snappy, click-happy, shortcut wielding whiz with Illustrator. I watched her and learned from her as she walked me through many simple steps which resulted in fantastic on-screen graphics. In those two weeks, I probably learned more about Illustrator than I had in my entire previous term.
In the several months since I've assumed Kim's role, I've learned several new things from online video tutorials and written step-by-step guides. When I blank, a good ol' Google search tends to be my first line of defense. I can't deny that the scads of 3 min YouTube tutorials out there often supply the simple play-by-play I need to solve a design problem. The information you need is truly out there for the learning. However, if I learned anything from Kim it was that a little human interaction is often the quickest way to learn.
As great as tutorials and guides are, I have discovered that Google can't read my mind (news to the rest of the world) and YouTube sometimes is not specific enough for the scenarios I run into on the job. Be honest with your supervisor if you don't know everything to complete the task they assign. Ask for assistance. It may be hard to do at first, but the answer may only take 5 minutes of their time, instead of 5 hours of you trying to figure out the answer yourself. If you're not an Adobe CS expert, don't worry, you're not expected to be. Co-op is about learning through relationships and workplace scenarios, so take advantage of the opportunities you have to engage with others who do have more knowledge and experience than yourself. You may find yourself becoming a whiz quicker than you can say, "Bob's your uncle."