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Education: Continue/Not Continue?

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  • Education: Continue/Not Continue?

    Kind of a trick question, because the answer is continue. However, I was hoping to gain some advice from working professionals. I graduated in 2012 with a bachelors in Video Production, I never did anything with it. I just didn't feel as though it was my passion, blah blah blah. Anyways, last fall I found a program in my area for a graphic design certificate. A year and half and you're done. Which sounded wonderful, at first. For the first time in my life, I'm into school and I do not want it to end. I often think, "man if I majored in this the first time..". So my schooling will be done in May and I simply will not have the skill set to work professionally. I want to continue learning, but I'm not certain the best approach. If money wasn't a factor then boom I'd start from scratch and earn a full 4 year design degree. But if I did that I would come out nearly 100k in debt, yikes. So my predicament is that my portfolio/overall knowledge will be under developed by the time my school comes to end. My portfolio might have 4-6 pieces by then. The easy answer seems to be to develop my own pieces, but again my skill set will still need work. Has anyone been in this position or something similar? Any suggestions? Thanks guys...

  • #2
    Long ago I was a hard science major for two years, then on a whim took a design class to fill an elective requirement. For the first time I was expected to create instead of memorize and I loved it.

    The next year I switched my major and spent the next four years studying fine arts and design. I could have sped through the program with two years of school already under my belt, but I felt that I really did need (and want) those four full years, so I stuck with it, then even went on to graduate school.

    This was, um, over three decades ago when tuition was a whole lot cheaper than it is today. It was time well spent, but honestly, if it were today, the huge debt that I'd incur would really make me think twice about it.

    A bachelors in video production is a field close enough to design to pretty much satisfy most HR department education requirements, so you've already got the purely practical aspects of a degree covered. That being the case, if you can get hired by a good firm and if you get to work with a few good mentors who will work with you, you'll very likely learn as much (or more) doing that as you will in school. The trick, I guess, is finding that job.


    • #3
      What ever you decide to do, make sure you complete an internship BEFORE you finish your course. It's much harder to get an internship when you are not a student. People are much more helpful to students because they see them as someone wanting to learn. Once you're done studying, you become this person that isn't a student but also isn't quite employable yet.

      Is it possible to get a graphic design related job in the industry work for a few years before completing a degree?
      It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh


      • #4
        It might be tough getting a job without a degree but if your portfolio is good it will significantly improve your chances. I would say 6 pieces is the bare bones minimum I would put in a portfolio and those 6 pieces would have to be pretty impressive.

        Skill set is one thing but more importantly (when all things are equal) employers will look at temperament, ability to fit in at the company socially and the ability to take criticism of your work and make improvements without taking offense. Someone that's able to speak to clients, make suggestions and be a cheery face (because designers are sales people too) whenever a client shows up is just as important as their ability to put together a workable design solution.

        As for continuing your education, that's something that you will have to decide for yourself. $100k in debt is no joke and your monthly payments will be about as much as a mortgage, so consider that before jumping in. Also keep in mind that having a BA/BFA doesn't guarantee you a job though it will probably make it a bit easier to find one.


        • #5
          Don't waste your money. You already have a degree and as Busy B said, that will be enough for the HR types. If you really want to do this, work on your portfolio.

          I have a degree in art, became a designer for over 15 years, became a teacher and now that job has ended, I have been back to working on my portfolio. I have been told that my portfolio is good- shows wide range of quality projects, but I STILL can't buy a job. I am in a large city in the Midwest, but there just don't seem to be any design jobs- at least for me. I am told that I am overqualified for many and my work as an art director for an in-house company doesn't seem to cut it. Everyone wants 3-5 years of agency experience.

          Sorry if I seem down. I have had 5 rejections today and I anticipate another one tomorrow.

          I have learned several new programs in the past few months along with HTML5, CSS3 and some other things hoping to get into web design, but I am afraid that I may be getting rejected due to age and/or lack o agency experience.


          • #6
            Welcome to GDF bartoncoy

            We ask all new members to read the very important links here and here. These explain the rules and how the forum runs. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Everyone's first few posts are moderated to cut down on spam, so don't panic and post multiple times if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay!
            Sketching not only helps you work out good ideas, it helps you get past the bad ones.


            • #7
              4 months later....awesome feedback guys. I think I've decided to continue taking classes next year. I already have a bachelors, so I'm going to be taking classes to further my development, but not to complete the full degree. Kinda like when old people show up to random college courses to just learn stuff ha. I have a good thing going in school right now, and it would be dumb to leave it. It would be like watching 30 minutes of a movie and acting like I've seen the whole thing.


              • #8
                Do yourself a favor while you are in school. Look for a meaningful internship or industry job. It's far easier to get an internship when you can say you are a student, and you might even get college credit for it.

                You didn't say what you are doing for work now to support yourself, but if you can swing a good internship (paid is a bonus) then you will be even more marketable. Don't just coast. You would learn more on the job about how design works in the Real World than you will in any school program.






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