Zach Debedout is a Florida-native who is passionate about collecting vintage cameras and cooking. He is also a devoted graphic designer and video producer. He is currently a 3rd-year student at Miami Dade College, majoring in Film, Television, and Digital Production, and budding freelance designer. Zach is using his Adobe Certified Associate certification to open doors for his future career. Read more about his journey below.
Certiport: Hi Zach, thank you so much for talking with us today! It’s so nice to meet you.
Zach: You’re welcome. The ACA program has done a lot for me and I love doing what I can to increase awareness of the certification, so it’s my pleasure.
Certiport: That’s great to hear. For all our readers, tell us how you originally got involved in certification.
Zach: When I was in high school, I decided to take a class in Photoshop and met an incredible teacher there. She really motivated me to push myself and learn as much as I could about Photoshop and other Adobe software. One of my friends and I eventually ended up becoming her teacher’s assistants. We taught many of our classmates alongside our teacher. Being able to teach others these skills that I already thought were fascinating increased my interest and passion even more.
Certiport: Very cool! Would you say your focus is on photography or graphic design?
Zach: I am interested in graphic design for sure, but my emphasis changed to video production when I came to college. Camera work and video editing mostly… I still do a lot of designing as a freelancer, but I would like to get more into video production.
Certiport: I see. You work as a freelancer while going to school full-time. Is it hard to balance your schoolwork and freelance work?
Zach: It is! I have turned down some opportunities so I could focus on school. It’s crazy because I’ve had even more opportunities open up since I earned my ACA certifications.
Certiport: Can you tell us more about that? How have the certifications helped you?
Zach: People immediately trust me and my skills when I show that I am certified.
They know I understand the ins and outs of the software. For instance, I have the ACA certifications in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro. When I mention that, people immediately know and trust that I can do their design and video work. Not too long ago, I ran into a guy who was looking to start a T-shirt design company. I told him that I was certified in Photoshop and Illustrator and that I can design. He immediately gave me a job. Later, I met someone who had to develop a new logo for the product that he was selling. Once I mentioned that I was certified, he immediately asked me to send him some samples. My ACA certifications show me as the expert that I am.
Certiport: That’s great to hear! Your freelance business is already taking off and you will be done with school soon. What’s next?
Zach: That’s a good question. First, I want to earn all seven ACA certifications before I graduate. I think the ACA certifications are really valuable in creating that instant credibility. Once I graduate, I would really like to help others learn these skills. I am thinking of becoming a teacher at a high school, college, or art institute.
The Photoshop class that I took in high school got me interested in digital media but becoming a TA for that teacher and teaching other students really solidified that interest. Even now, I help and teach several students how they can use various software to accomplish what they need to do. I love doing that! For instance, when I was in a class for Premier Pro, there was a student that I often helped. One day, she told me, “Oh, I don’t need your help. I actually get this now! Thanks!” That felt so good. I love helping someone learn new skills and become confident in their abilities.
Certiport: As a former teacher, I can relate to that feeling. Lastly, what advice would you give to students who are in a similar stage, looking to start their careers?
Zach: I would encourage anyone who is interested in digital media to get the ACA certifications. They will give you the confidence you need and open more doors for you. This can be a very competitive field, especially at the beginning stage. Having these certifications under your belt will make you stand out.
Interested in opening doors for your students? Learn more about ACA certification at www.certiport.com/ACA.