Kelci Hilferty

Kelci Hilferty is studying her MA Digital Design and Innovation Programme at the Scottish Borders Campus.

“I come from a very structured background having studied business for my undergraduate degree. I specialised in marketing and finance and a lot of what I studied involved understanding the customer and how I could help corporations generate more revenue.

It wasn't until I took a few marketing classes, that I was introduced to graphic design and the importance of visualising data. I always knew that I wanted to study other areas of design but I didn't think I would get the chance because I felt as though I had typecast myself as being a business professional.

In addition, I thought I had missed out on so many years of learning about design that I would never be taken seriously if I were to enter the industry. Towards the end of my undergraduate degree, I decided to take a few night classes on graphic design and any project that came my way in my personal life, I tried to incorporate some form of design thinking so that I could build my skills in the area. I watched more design tutorials and learned how to better utilise digital design software.

In my day job, I tried to work on graphic design projects after hours in order to gain more experience and get more critical feedback. It wasn't until COVID-19, that I realised I really wanted to advance my learning even more and challenge myself in an academic setting. I wanted to go beyond graphic design and see what other opportunities would help make me more employable.

I saw Heriot-Watt University's Digital Design and Innovation Programme and it seemed to incorporate everything that I was looking to learn more about (from user experience design to creative programming and learning more about digital technologies). It seemed like a great fit for me because it also had an underlying entrepreneurial theme which tied nicely to my business background. The programme seemed incredibly practical and very relevant to today's challenges which was very appealing to me.”

“Having been in the programme for three months now, I can say with confidence that I made the right decision to apply. My courses have pushed me to think and explore ideas I have never been exposed to before. I am constantly pushed outside of my comfort zone and am always supported to further develop my ideas.

In my class with Dr. George Jaramillo, I have been working on a project that entails utilising digital technology within a national park setting. This project has showcased the benefits of studying in the Scottish Borders and appreciating the outdoor landscape the area has to offer. In addition, the programme has helped me establish both local and national connections, helping me build a stronger professional network before I graduate.

My classes have really enabled me to explore various avenues of design such as digital placemaking, the design and creation of apps or websites as well as exploring various technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, drones, and GIS. In addition, the programme encourages me to participate more in class and improve my public speaking skills. I would recommend this programme to anyone who wants a well-rounded experience and is looking to explore various facets of digital design.”

Find out more about our postgraduate degrees in Communication and Design.