Yesterday I was talking with a classmate about her Flash project and the actual subject for her interactive timeline, when the topic of taking a project beyond the classroom came up.

After hearing she found a text-based timeline for a product and turned it into an interactive feature, I encouraged her to send her completed project to the company that makes the product she was featuring. If they are already showing off a timeline, why wouldn’t they want a media-rich version instead. Especially one they were gifted by a student. Although nothing may come of it, she could wind up with a real-world use she can detail to potential employers or even better, they could request she do more projects for them.

Sure a class project in your portfolio is great but even more impressive is a class project in your portfolio that is currently in use in the real world. Employers was to know that you can apply that classroom knowledge to other projects, use limited resources and work within their goals and requirements.

Giving yourself real-world experience beyond the classroom shouldn’t take too much time if you think creatively and go just one step further in your project to make it useful to a person or organization. I believe it’s important to think about this when you first start planning your project, as it’ll be easier to mold into something useable.

Why not make all those hours you spend struggling with action script count double? As busy as we are with projects, we can’t afford to waste hard work on class projects when they could be so much more with just a little extra effort.

My classmate told me today she plans to take my advice once she completes the timeline. As for me, I’m taking requests and looking for real-world applications for my own class assignments to give myself a more impressive portfolio.