Bismarck Student to Turn Love of Video Games into Career

joeashlineLike a lot of males his age, Bismarck Digital Design and Animation student Joe Ashline grew up playing video games. He spent countless hours playing titles like Guild Wars 2 while building friendships with people who would otherwise be strangers from another part of the world. At the time, Ashline never could’ve imagined the games he played and the friends he made while online would inspire a career.

But it did.

“One of my friends that I played video games with online told me about a free 3-D design program called Blender,” Ashline said. “I had played around with that a little bit, [but then I] saw that Rasmussen College offered a digital design program so I decided to sign up.”

While 3-D design is where Ashline would like to focus his career, his coursework requires him to push himself artistically.

“I’m not naturally the best at drawing, so some of the courses have been a challenge so far,” Ashline said. “I have to put in a little more effort. Even though my drawings weren’t as good as professional artists’ [work], I was proud of myself for how they turned out. You have to just go for it because you might just surprise yourself.”

His supportive critic

With any project that requires a significant time investment, it helps to have a second set of eyes to review your work. Luckily for Ashline, his wife is willing to provide that perspective.

“I’ll show her what I’m working on and ask her to be critical. She doesn’t have a background in design so she can kind of provide the perspective of the everyday person,” said Ashline. “She does a good job of making suggestions and pointing out things she thinks would look better, and I do my best to use her suggestions.”

Though Ashline’s wife is asked to be critical of his individual pieces of work, Ashline says she remains supportive of his career plans.

“She’s just as interested in the work I’m doing as I am and has been very supportive this whole time,” said Ashline.

Taking extra steps to be successful

Ashline is working full-time while pursuing his degree, but that doesn’t stop him from seeking out new projects and finding new techniques outside of his regular class work. In order to supplement his coursework, Ashline seeks out tutorials online.

“If there’s something I want to try and I’m not sure how to do it, I’ll look up a tutorial on YouTube or Google and work from there,” Ashline said. “It’s a great resource, and even if you already know how to do something you can find ways to do things easier.”

Additionally, Ashline says he has taken on projects outside of class in order to further strengthen his portfolio, which includes helping his instructor with a project for the Dakota Digital Film Festival and creating a logo for a co-worker’s band.

What’s in store for the new designer

After Ashline completes his bachelor’s degree he hopes to find permanent work in his field as a designer, but also has plans to be his own boss as a freelancer. Ashline knows that like any other creative professional, freelance work might not come easily initially, so he may have to find creative ways to build his portfolio.

“I’ll look to find small projects where I can sell my work online to start. As I get my name out there I’d like to take on projects for local businesses as well,” Ashline said. “Ultimately, I’d like to find myself working for a video game company or special effects company where I could do 3-D work full time.”

Share your story

If you have a success story from your tenure at Rasmussen College and would like to share it, please email me, Will Erstad, at or feel free to leave a comment below.

External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Will is a Content Marketing Specialist at Collegis Education. He researches and writes student-focused articles on a variety of topics for Rasmussen College. He is passionate about learning and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.

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