I am trying to see which field do I need to add to my graphic design skills so I will get more job opportunity ,preferably for full time freelancing.

I've been working with Illustrator and Photoshop professionally for over 15 years .

I have done 3D design using Solidworks and Keyshot and very simple Technical Animation and technical illustration with Keyshot (e.g. How to change batteries,...) Which I love doing that .

What would you think I should learn next so it will boost marketability and getting closer to become a full time freelancer with above $50K income.


  • UI/UX design?( Web design ?!?)

  • Premier pro and After Effect for video editing

  • 3D Max for Modeling ( since Solidworks is mostly used for part design)

  • Cinema 4D for animation .( creating info-graphics)

  • getting into eLearning .

I would appreciate any help and any other ideas and advise.

  • Are you sure 3DS Max is viable going forward from this point? Also why in hell would you do subtask 1 in max and subtask 2 in cinema 4D? Chose on or the other.
    – joojaa
    Oct 18, 2021 at 14:14
  • I am not sure about anything , and that is why I am asking it here see if you guys can give me some direction.
    – Alex
    Oct 18, 2021 at 15:36
  • Similarly, I have a background in graphic design and just completed my Associate degree in Web Design. I chose web design because it complemented the graphic design knowledge that I already had. I am also interested in 3D design so I am looking at taking some courses in that field as well.
    – agarza
    Oct 18, 2021 at 16:07
  • 1
    You dont actually become more markettable by having more skillpoints spread around, you get more markettable by being good in a few things that can sell. 3D graphics skill these days isnt all that uncommon. But its very unlikely that you have the time to master, digital sculpting at the same time as you make layout for books. Anyway your location is important.
    – joojaa
    Oct 18, 2021 at 17:09
  • I worked more toward technical 3D modeling( machinery, tools,...) than sculpting , I have zero knowledge of sculpting and ability for that matter .
    – Alex
    Oct 18, 2021 at 19:37

2 Answers 2


The more you can do, the thinner you are spread out and less you can focus on any one area.

Time is often better spent honing and refining skills you already have. So, you are seen more as an "expert" in that area, and in turn garner higher freelance rates. i.e. work smarter not harder.

With 15+yrs experience, if you aren't making a decent earning freelancing, the problem is most likely with marketing, self promotion, and client acquisition/relations/retention, not any lack of yet more niche abilities.

Remember, there's someone out there with 15+ years experience with UX, Premier Pro, 3D Max, Cinema3D... do you really think you can compete with them if you start picking it up today? Even if you aren't directly competing for those projects, if you acquire them, they'll be the "bargain basement" projects paying you the least for the most effort.

You'll never get ahead if you are always the "novice". Even if you can do everything under the sun, plus some, you won't make a decent living. Clients don't pay more for less experience. More software knowledge merely means you can take on more low paying work. That's all. More work.. less income.

Most freelancers survive by being seen as an expert at something and having deep, encompassing, experience with solving problems in a particular area, not because the breadth of their knowledge is wide and vast, while being overall very shallow. The more "expert" one is viewed as, the higher the freelance rates can be. In turn you work less while making more.

"Jack of all Trades, master of none" doesn't work for freelancing in my experience. At least not to get ahead freelancing. You can survive with that mindset, but from what I see you'll always be looking for work and always have to convince clients you're worthy of their money. Use the experience you have in a particular field work for you rather than dismissing it.

It's one thing to start from scratch and explore possible career directions. But with so much experience under your belt already, I think you're spinning your wheels if you think new software is the answer to a more dependable or greater revenue stream. The answer is to sell what you know and explain why that 15 years of experience you already have is better than someone who started with Photoshop/Illustrator a few months ago. Just as the guy with 15 years UX experience can explain why he's probably a better candidate for UX design than you are. That may or may not be actually true, but he's got the experience in convincing UX clients it is true.

Please don't mistake my sentiment... more knowledge and a wider array of possible tools is always beneficial. But they aren't always "money makers".

Can I work with PHP/MySQL? Sure.... do I market that ability? Heck no! I know I'm not the best candidate for PHP/MySQL projects and I'd never seek to acquire such projects. However, if a client needs something to work with some template employing PHP and some visual variations, I certainly understand how that works. So, I can better target deliverables to be in a more "ready" state. The additional knowledge is used to support my primary abilities, not as a standalone ability to garner new projects.

So, sure, pick up some 3D, it'll allow you to use those skill when they are needed in a more secondary manner. But don't plan on them actually gaining new work on their own for a very long time, unless you prove yourself to be some sort of rapid savant with them (which can happen for some). :).

  • Thank you so so much Scott, you are absolutely correct, I should focus on how to market myself and perhaps learning marketing side of the business instead of being a low level Jack of all trades.
    – Alex
    Oct 18, 2021 at 19:31
  • Don't get me wrong, learning more is always beneficial. It's merely not often a path to more/better clients. If a client has a project based in AI/PS you are working on and it just so happens to need some 3D work.. if you can do it great! The client is happier and has a higher chance of returning to you for more work. But, that doesn't mean you go out and take on 3D projects and compete with dedicated 3D artists. I can do a lot to support a project.. I don't market everything though. I focus on marketing what pays me the most. Fewer projects resulting in more income is my goal.
    – Scott
    Oct 18, 2021 at 20:45
  • Appreciate Scott for all your help, I just needed some confirmation from someone who has done it, I am currently employed but my final goal is to be 100% freelancer.I just need to learn how to market myself. almost all of my side jobs I got was from word of mouth .
    – Alex
    Oct 18, 2021 at 21:25
  • Word of mouth is the best tool one can have :) I've made a living off it it alone essentially.
    – Scott
    Oct 18, 2021 at 22:03
  • @user8033911 i would like to point out that there's no inherent reason why you can not learn new tools and be better that the ones that came before even with less experience. But you will find that getting people to believe this is another thing. So by all means get better but that's not a marketing point its a personal point.
    – joojaa
    Oct 19, 2021 at 5:40

The job opportunities will probably not come just by studying more stuff. Probably it is better to specialize rather than diversify.

Better job opportunities will come with a SOLID portfolio. Dedicate time and effort to do that.

  • Thank you Rafael, I need to brush up my portfolio.
    – Alex
    Oct 18, 2021 at 19:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.