New here and looking for recommendations

Hi everyone! I am just starting to look into graphic design as a career path and would really appreciate any feedback on what you all would recommend for skill building/school to make me most marketable to employers.

I have a bachelors in an unrelated field and I am curious if a bachelors in graphic design is required for a successful career. I do see other options with associates degrees and other certification programs. More informal options through Udemy, Designtuts, etc.

Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks!

Personally, I’d say the degree is becoming more and more sought after, as there are so many amateurs trying to put themselves forward as professionals, the degree helps weed out those who are committed and want to go about things the right way, as you appear to be doing.

I would definitely avoid the online options you state. That’s not to say don’t have a go, but it is unlikely to put you on the path to a serious long-term career.

Too many people these days want to skip the learning part, so it is refreshing to hear from someone who knows simply having and Adobe subscription doesn’t not make you a designer.

Stick with that attitude and you’ll get there.

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Where are you located? Most places in the US are looking for designers where the entry level positions are at minimum a 4 year degree and 2 years of real world experience. Get those 2 years while you are a student in any way you can, whether it’s internships or part time jobs. Don’t turn down production work either. You could learn a lot working for a printer, sign shop or custom build house.

Because you already have a bachelors, you may have to negotiate doing a second major for a bachelor of arts in design. Just about any college is going to want a solid 3 years of your tuition money even though you might be able to complete the course work in 2 years. But don’t be afraid to negotiate. About the last thing you want as a starting designer is a Masters in design. You can do that later if you feel the need (and more often these days it’s done in a complimentary field, not more design.) At least you’ll have your core courses done.

If you aren’t in the US, your mileage may vary.

The field is over-saturated already and if I were to counsel a pre-college graphic design candidate, aside from maybe considering a different career path, it would be to find a niche in the design field and work toward it right from the start. Don’t just do “graphic design.” Do you want to do web? Print? Marketing? Animation? Show biz in any or all of its forms? Environmental design? Experiential design? Industrial design (including UI/UX)? You have to get out beyond the design-for-a-dollar crowd to make a living at it these days. Explore your options now. Don’t wait for that senior year thing.

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