Mike Soliday

Web Design & Interactive Media

Web Design & Interactive Media Instructor
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division

Mike Soliday Image

Your education doesn't end when you graduate—It's just starting. Mike Soliday , Web Design & Interactive Media Instructor , The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

After I took over the marketing duties for a corporate training center in Dublin, Ohio, I fell in love with coming up with ideas to promote our classes. One of my first tasks was redesigning our logo. Once I saw that logo on printed pieces, I knew this was the field I wanted to pursue.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

I’m a big believer that you can learn from the successes and failures of any designer. Sharing what’s worked for me, along with what hasn’t, adds depth to the learning. I’m always learning new techniques and sharing them with students. I encourage them to stay in touch with me—when I find a new trick I even send it out to former students.

How would you describe your approach to teaching and mentoring?

I typically work with new students in my classes. They’re either new to the online environment, or haven’t seen an Adobe app before. So I take on the role of coach—supporting, motivating, and informing. I don’t want to overwhelm them, but I want them to get the most out of the class.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

Students who work with peers from other departments get a sense of the actual workplace. In web design, you’re not creating a website all on your own—for example, you might hire a copy editor to proofread the content. The time you spend collaborate in the classroom helps you prepare for the real world.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

Technology is always changing, and coding is always evolving. So you have to keep up. Your education doesn’t end when you graduate—it’s just starting.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

Network with other designers in your field. You can call on them for help, or even to find a job.