True Or False? Do You Really Need A Degree To Get A Job In The Creative Field?
To go to college, or not to go to college? This is the question that many people are faced with when deciding if they want to pursue a degree in the creative field. Some believe that a degree is not only unnecessary, but useless when it comes to getting a job as a creative professional. Others will say that it is absolutely essential that a person has at least a Bachelors in Visual Communication or something similar (ie: Associates of Applied Arts) if they want to get a job.
First of all, it’s important to note that when you apply for a design job — or any creative position for that matter — that the portfolio is the most important factor. If a person hasn’t even graduated from high school and has an amazing portfolio, that alone can possibly get them a job. The second most important part of an interview is your personality. Creative professionals view personality as a very important subject when interviewing. In fact, if a person’s personality is great enough, it can overshadow a slightly lacking portfolio, or the lack of a college degree. After all, people want to hire people they’d like to work with, rather than people who are a challenge to deal with day-to-day, no matter how great the work is.
While it is true that your quality of work and personality are more important than a college diploma, a degree may be your ticket to achieving those things. There are many people who are able to teach themselves the skills they need in order to be a fairly decent designer, but there are few people who can teach themselves the essential life skills that a college education can provide a person with.
That being said, a person needn’t have a specific design degree in order to be an ideal candidate for a graphic design job — there are many people who have degrees in another field and simply changed their mind. You can branch out into other similar fields or subjects fairly easily. For instance — you may have majored in Journalism, but you gained experience with graphic arts by designing ads for the paper, laying out the page itself, and working with the design programs to achieve that goal. If you determined upon graduating that you were not a strong writer, but had a lot of talent and skill in layout, it can be an easy transition to change careers, especially since you already had some groundwork covered.
While going to school, it’s extremely valuable to get a leg up on the competition. The job market is saturated with designers, so how are you going to stand apart? One sure win to impress any potential employer is to gain more experience than the average graduate. If you’re an up and coming graphic designer, explore positions at newspapers, print shops, or even an art gallery while attending school. Instead of working as a barrista at your local coffee shop to help pay the bills, add to your resume a position where you can get paid to have on-the-job training while attending school, and take that skill set to your future employer. You’ll shine above the rest with all the knowledge you acquired in and out of school. All of these things, while not specific to the design field, can teach a person much more than a graphic design position alone.
The important part is that they have experienced a college environment and grown to a higher level of thinking and speaking. In addition, learning the basics of English, math, science, and other crucial subjects is almost essential to thinking on a bigger level. The college experience alone really adds to a persons personality, spiritual growth, and overall knowledge.
Our conclusion: Having a degree is something like an insurance policy. It guarantees your employer that you’ve completed higher education courses, are able to think critically, learn how to manage deadlines, and do a variety of other things that are expected to be learned in college. Another thing to note is that there are many companies that will not advance an employee to management unless they have a college degree, no matter how great they are. So, even if you think that college may not be for you, seriously consider whether or not the degree will be necessary in the field you wish to pursue.
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