This is one of the hardest questions to answer as a junior designer who is trying to take the big step into the design industry, whether it be graphic design, web design, digital design or even photography. There are many pro’s and con’s to the decision of whether or not to attend post-secondary school to get a degree. There are many designers that are completely self-taught and are earning the same, if not more, as other junior designers who have attended design school. Having the right combination of skills and having real-world design experience will help you get a job – regardless of what design courses you have taken. Deciding whether design college is right for you as a junior designer is based on many of the following factors:
Advantages of Attending Design School for a Degree
There are many advantages for attending design school as a junior designer. When it comes to choosing, it all comes down to what is best for you and your career. There are many attributes that are important to your decisions such as; Are you a quick learner? Do you like working with other students? Do you have a hard time teaching yourself new design skills? Do you enjoy a classroom setting? These factors will have a big determination in whether or not your personality is suited for design school life. Another important aspect is choosing a design program that allows you to build up a portfolio, confidence in yourself and your design work, helps you gain experience through design internships and classwork and points you in the right direction for receiving the best junior job opportunities after you graduate.
Build Up Your Design Portfolio
Building your design portfolio is crucial to being able to get attention from potential employers after you graduate. While having a design degree to back up your skills can get your foot in the door, but what you present through your portfolio will determine whether you’re worth a second look or not worth their time. Design schools gives you real-world experience through a great learning environment that encourages to learn from your mistakes – something that would get you fired from your job in the real-world. Make sure that the design projects you complete in school are high quality and can later be used in your portfolio. Many employers understand that being fresh out of school you won’t have much design experience, but if you show potential and passion for your field, they are more likely to give you a chance. Having a killer portfolio will win over employers, rather than what education you posses.
Build Confidence in Your Design Skills
Post-secondary design school allows you a buffer of time to help hone your skills and confidence in your ability to work with others, meet deadlines and improve your communication and presentation skills. There are very few young designers that have the perfect combination of design skills to be successful within such a short time frame without some sort of formal design education or degree. If you aren’t confident in your design skills or you don’t have much actual design experience, you would be taking a risk to not attend design school. When you’re just starting out as a junior, it can be overwhelming with all the information you need to learn. Attending design school creates a foundation of learning and a structured course for giving you the building blocks of skills you need to know as a junior designer.