I'm a computer engineer on a small development team that specializes in designing mobile apps. We're all coders, and we're starting to realize that we need at least one or two qualified designers on our team to help draft and create our user interfaces, icons, etc.
In order to avoid hiring additional employees, my company offered to pay for formal graphic design training/classes. I was selected as the main candidate because I have a more artistic background than my coworkers, however I have limited graphic design experience. I've used Photoshop for several years on little hobby projects, but I have almost no experience with Illustrator and Fireworks (or any other vector graphics editors).
Assuming I have the potential to be a good UI designer (let me know if this is a flawed assumption), what is the best way for the company to spend its money? Should it invest in a formal training program? Should I enroll in courses? Should the company just buy me a book and let me teach myself?
Also, the company stated that it is willing to send me to "the best of the best", so I'm assuming cost isn't an issue as long as its cheaper than hiring new employees. So what is the best of the best?
In a nutshell: I'm a programmer. My company wants me to be a graphic designer, too. Assuming I meet the creative requirements, what's the most effective way to achieve this?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!