BCIT New Media Design and Web Development Program: Term 1

Hi guys. I know I failed you last week in posting a new blog post on the days promised. The week just flew by! One moment it was Tuesday and I realized I had forgotten to post Sunday and the next moment it was Sunday again (today) and I realized I had forgotten to post Thursday.

I blame school, since last week was the final week of my first semester in the BCIT New Media Design and Web Development program – so that’s what this post is going to be about! When I was first applying for this program to see if it was the right fit for me, I wish there had been more blog reviews of the program, like this. It’s incredibly insightful to get someone else’s opinion on classes, rather than just the subjective side of the school.

So first of all, what is the BCIT New Media Design and Web Development program? It is a 1-year intensive full-time technology program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology focusing on new media studies such as Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, etc.), web scripting (HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc.), and video and audio. The year consists of 4 terms in a row, which means I am 1/4 of the way done!

Term 1 is supposed to be the easiest as things ramp up slowly and you try your first attempt at a lot of things. I only work once a week, and I live fairly close to school so I found I had the time needed to complete all my assignments and projects (which there were plenty of).

Here are the courses for term 1 which I rated in terms of difficulty on a scale of 1 – 5 (1 being easy peasy and 5 being very tricky):

Term 1

  • Graphics and Art for the Web: 3/5
    This class would be easier because the material is straight forward (basic design elements) except that there are two main projects which you are working on all semester (a three poster series and a brand booklet). It was fun flexing my design skills though.
  • Communication for New Media: 2/5
    This class teaches you the basics for writing for the web. It was my favourite course and I found it the most relevant in regards to what I want to be doing. If you don’t enjoy writing, this course will probably be more tedious. It includes an interview assignment, a newsletter assignment, and creating the content for a blog/website of your choice. The workload was very doable compared to other classes.
  • Photoshop CS: 2/5
    Photoshop (and Illustrator) were my most anticipated classes. I’d never done anything in graphic design and I was so excited to just dive in. The teacher (Mahmoud Abdel-Hai or just Mak) is extremely patient, thorough and helpful. I gained so much confidence in Photoshop and I’m stoked to move onto Adobe Illustrator next term.
  • Overview of Web Technologies (Intro to HTML and CSS): 3/5
    This was my first time learning code, ever. It was the most daunting class to begin with, but by the end of the term I had created two small website assignments, and a final website project for my partner’s photography and videography. I feel ready to start my next course in Javascript!
  • Colour Correction (Photoshop): 4/5
    This class was a six week course (half the length of other courses) but despite this, felt like double. The course is fast-paced and the teacher (Marc Whitehead) rigorous, with a 10% assignment due each class (with the last two being the hardest). I now know of the painstaking process of creating alcohol ads for bottles of Johnny Walker Red Label and Grey Goose Vodka.
  • Adobe Acrobat: 1/5
    This class was a six week course (half the length of other courses). The material is pretty straightforward as Adobe Acrobat is meant to be accessible. Despite the material being less than exciting (who wants to learn everything there is to know about PDFs?) the teacher (Kenneth Edward Jeffery) was so gosh darn nice. We had time to work on assignments in class so there wasn’t too much homework. I now know how to make interactive elements on PDFs (like buttons, links, bookmarks, and forms), yay!
  • Instructional and Information Architecture: 3/5
    This class was awesome, because of the fun and funky teacher (Dionne Ong.) Like most people, I was clueless to the concept of Information Architecture (the organization and labeling of information on websites and intranets). Despite the class notes being SUPER dry, the teacher made the class really immersive. Highlights included creating sketches, wireframes and mockups for a fake Dating App, and creating an actual information architecture and design proposal to a local business. 

If you are thinking of taking the BCIT New Media Design and Web Development program and have any questions, feel free to ask!

8 thoughts on “BCIT New Media Design and Web Development Program: Term 1

  1. Oh my gosh! Thanks so much for posting this, I’ve been searching for a review about this program for a long time 🙂
    I’m from Brazil and I’m thinking about apllying for It next year.
    Looking forward your next review about It! Thanks!

    1. Hi Camila!

      Thanks for reading my blog post and I’m so happy to hear it helped a little. There is a girl in my program from Brazil 🙂 I’m going to create a review for my second term soon. If you have any questions about the program feel free to ask!

  2. Thanks so much for posting this.

    I already have a Bachelors but was looking to pursue this program. Just wondering are the students mostly undergrads or are there people who already have a Bachelors degree & are looking to change careers?

    Thanks and looking forward to reading more.

    1. Hi Raf!

      I’m so happy to hear that you read this blog post and that you’re thinking of taking the BCIT New Media Design and Web Development program.

      In my class there are 23 students. The ages range from 19 – 30 years old. Some students have entered the program straight from high school, some have taken some years off to work, and some already have degrees and diplomas. There are students with Bachelor Degrees in Fine Arts, Marketing, Communications, and English (such as myself). There’s even one student who is in his 50s who spent most of his life in the medical arena but would like to change careers.

      It’s a very diverse class in terms of age, culture, work, and education 🙂

  3. Thanks for posting this Karolina, really informative! Looking forward to your term 2 review.

    I’m considering applying to this program at the downtown location and had a few questions:

    1) Have you found this program to be mostly introductory in Adobe Creative Suite, web scripting and video/audio editing or does it dive deep enough into each where a graduate can pursue a career in any?
    2) Are students required to have all of these programs on their personal computer or are they provided by the school?
    3) How many hours or class do you have in a typical week?
    4) As someone who lives in Toronto (and has never been to Vancouver) what can I expect from the city?
    5) As a whole, have you found this program to be valuable and worth the investment? Would you recommend it?


    1. Hi Adam,

      Thanks for the questions! To answer them:

      1) This program is very introductory. I had zero knowledge in any of the topics before (Adobe Creative Suite, programming, audio/video, etc.) entering this program. I’m definitely not a pro in any of these things now, but I feel a lot more confident! This program is only a year so it’s too short to go much more in depth but it’s great for beginners and those who want to update or polish their skills. You will leave the program with a general knowledge in many things, which is why they encourage us early on to pick a path and continue learning outside of the program. Many graduate from the program a as jack of all trades, which is cool if you want to freelance, start your own business or work with a startup.

      2) Both the BCIT Downtown and Burnaby campuses have Mac computers with all programs downloaded on them so you can work on all school work at school. However, I find it convenient to have some programs on my laptop so I can work from home. As a BCIT student, you do get a discount on Adobe Creative Suite.

      3) In a typical week I have 7-8 classes. Each class is 3 hours so that’s 21-24 hours of class a week.

      4) I’ve never been to Toronto, but I’ve heard it’s massive and more urban than Vancouver. Vancouver is not intimidating; we have a small downtown with lots of suburbs. It’s also very green and beautiful! We have the Pacific Ocean and tons of mountains so people tend to be very outdoorsy. If you like hiking or biking you’re in luck. We have an incredible music, arts, and food scene too.

      5) An someone with an academic background in English Literature, this program has been incredibly useful to me. I’ve gained many technical skills I couldn’t have taught myself and the small classroom sizes (around 25 students) have resulted in me meeting some really awesome people. I would recommend it to anyone interested in getting some digital skills.

      Hope this helped!


  4. Thanks for sharing your experience. Do you think the job prospect is high based on completing the program. I am planning to take it this year, and have you met any graduates yet?

  5. Hi Karolina,

    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience.

    I have applied for this course a few days ago, and have been placed on the wait-list, may I know how long it usually takes to get the offer? Have you been placed on the wait-list too?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

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