For Communications and Media Career Exploration Week (CEW), the Career Development Center (CDC) invited Ben Giordano, a local entrepreneur, to speak about his career in web design and development.
Giordano is the founder and owner of FreshySites, a web design company located in Downtown Binghamton.
For the majority of his lecture on Tuesday, Giordano focused on how he became involved in a career in web design and development as well as his experience as a small business owner.
Giordano did not have a formal education in web design, web development or computer science; he graduated from Virginia Tech in 2008 with a degree in marketing management.
According to Giordano, he taught himself the skills he needed in order to build a career in web design.
“I think I was always drawn to computers and just building computers,” Giordano said. “When I started doing business, I was naturally drawn to web.”
In addition, Giordano said a graduate degree is not essential in order to build a career with communications and that experience and skills are more important.
“Just having that high-level knowledge of marketing helps, but I think in communications and media, one of the best things that I would recommend is getting involved in extracurricular or getting involved in projects,” Giordano said.
He explained the importance of having an impressive portfolio in order to get hired after graduating. Giordano said this factors into his decisions to hire staff for FreshySites.
“When we’re going to hire people, I always ask them to send me a portfolio … If you leave college with a really sweet portfolio with a lot of real work and it’s good, I think you’ll get a job pretty quickly,” Giordano said.
Giordano told students to reach out to employers in order to network and make connections. He said students should try to get internships and work on interesting projects.
“Don’t be scared to go out or send an email to someone,” Giordano said. “We have a lot of communications and marketing media companies around here and if you’re really interested, I’m sure people would be responsive.”
Giordano said students should prioritize expanding their skillset. He recounted his time in college and how he regretted the way he spent some of that time.
“I think I would have probably spent more time learning,” Giordano said. “I think I spent a lot of time hanging out with my friends … Now there’s no way for me to carve out four hours of my day to learn something I want to learn.”
Wren Fritsky, a career counselor at the CDC, was the team leader in organizing CEW this semester. This is the second CEW at Binghamton University. The first, which was held last semester, focused on health and sciences.
“[Giordano] was a local professional entrepreneur that we could reach out to and possibly have some of our interns work there as well,” Fritsky said.
According to Fritsky, the objective of this semester’s CEW was to expose students who were thinking about careers in communications and media to real professionals who have real experiences in the field.
“Well I want students that are interested in different careers that don’t have a lot of exposure or experience to hear from the source, the professionals,” she said. “If the students can’t go out, you can bring the employers and professionals on campus. It’s a way to expose students to the career fields that they may not have a chance to get exposed to.”