Is a Web Design Certificate/Degree Worth It?

Is a Web Design Certificate/Degree Worth It?

A common struggle among young designers have when leaving college is being successful in the industry. Graphic design can be a highly competitive field. In reality, some of the most successful don’t even hold a college degree, let alone one in design. People often begin to wonder: “Is it even worth it to go to school for design?”. People are different when it comes to acquiring certain skills. Some can learn by themselves while other may need to be guided along the learning process. Even though in recent years, schools have been getting a bad rap due to high student loan debts, and the repeated teachings of outdated materials. Although some truth is there. As a design student, going to school is far from the worse idea ever. In fact, going to school for design may be one of the best things you can do depending on how you do it. What you put in to college will determine what you can get out of it. Here are some advantages to getting a degree in design and what you can do to stay relevant over self taught people.


Guided Tech Learning
The first thing people think of when they hear the term “graphic design” is Photoshop. Obviously, you will get hands on training¬† on whatever software is trending in the design community without having to constantly pay for a subscription that you may not even use forever. The downside to teaching yourself design is that you do not have that ability to do just that. However, through your schooling, you will quickly find that it is not about the tech you use to create, but the many philosophies around design.


Learn Design Concepts
Design students, once they master some of these Adobe products, often feel like world beaters, and if you find these portfolios in the wild, they will show. Photoshop is merely a pencil for a writer, and it is only one stepping stone to success.


For most design tracks, it is required for a designer to have some knowledge on things such as color theory, using grids, consumer psychology, etc. Alot of these concepts are constantly evolving when it comes to design. Even if design teachers are strictly teaching old design rules, you can at least appreciate some of it’s history and further understand how design has changed through the ages.


Early Exposure
Going to design school is a great way to get exposed to the design industry firsthand. Design organizations often tend to partner with schools in getting design work done. Also, schools often hold things such as portfolio contests, in which you can see how well your portfolio matches up with others in the industry.  Unlike the self-taught designers, you will be able to get an early feel as to what the design market expects of you can tweak your work and skills based on what works best for you.


Free Resources
This isn’t just for design students but for any college student. During your time of schooling, you should use and abuse any resources your school has readily available for you. Perhaps your school hosts a meeting where you can interact with with other aspiring designers to bounce ideas off of. Also, teachers who tend to teach design are also working elsewhere in the design industry, which makes your years of design school a large networking opportunity.


Schools often hold portfolio reviews for designers who are looking for design work before graduation. Not only will you get valuable information from such events but it is an excellent way to get your name out professionally without a ton of effort.


What happens after graduation?
Aside from consistently applying for jobs, the biggest misconception that design graduates tend to keep in their minds is that once you graduate college with a design degree, education is over and professional life begins. That myth is actually nowhere near true and is the biggest reason why design graduates tend to struggle outside of school.

It is important to keep your “student mindset” going as the design industry, no matter what niche you are planning to dive into, is forever changing. It is incredibly easy to fall behind and be deemed unemployable. In order to hold your degree as an advantage over others, you must continue to work hard, get feedback, and further develop your portfolio. At the end of the day, your skills and portfolio will matter more than your schooling in the eyes of employers.

There are alot of talks about how school can be a waste if you are a designer. Alot of self taught designers can be employed in the same position as a college educated designer, but with tenacity and taking full advantage of the resources that are handed to you as a design student, you can soar further than most people in the job market, period.