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  1. #11
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smoseley, post: 247704
    As someone who's interviewed a lot of candidates and hired a lot of people, I would say go for the degree. A degree will help you get a job merely for the fact that it shows that you have the ability to apply yourself to do work and complete a task without being forced to do so. For me, that's probably the most important skill in an employee, right above being auto-didactic and a good problem-solver.
    I don't often disagree with you, but I will here. A degree doesn't indicate self-motivation. There's an increasing sentiment that a degree indicates nothing other than the ability to robotically memorize facts and details, and I find myself in that group. I also know many university-educated people who are completely useless in real-world situations, people who are highly intelligent that have never graduated high school, and all points in between. The best people I've hired or recommended often had no degree whatsoever. It depends on the individual.
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  3. #12
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Just wanted to share my own experience.

    I've been a freelance web designer for less than a year. I'm 100% self-taught. To be honest, I think you can learn a lot more about web design/development on your own than in school. A degree costs time and money. I think your time would be better spent learning on your own or practicing working on sites or going online and reading tutorials. The money? Save it. Spend some on your initial costs: business registration fees, getting a laptop, Photoshop software, commercial licenses for plugins and frameworks, business cards, coworking office fees. Everything else? Use it for living expenses because you will have little work or will need to do free websites for maybe the first few months.

    My motto is "learnin' and earnin' ". I did a lot of learning when I started out because I didn't know squat about best practices, color theory, industry trends, mobile design, typography, using photos and did not have a lot of work come my way. But if you're a motivated individual and you truly are interested in learning and bettering your skills, you can do a lot. I'm not making a huge sum of money, but I love doing my work, there's great achievement in it, and I always do research and play around with ideas to give my client more than they asked for. The extra effort is not in vain - when you have a nice piece of work to add to your portfolio, in the future, you can get bigger clients, charge more, and maybe get other clients from the same industry of your finished websites.

    -R

  4. #13
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    I tend to agree with what TheGame as far as having to get accustomed with using both sides of the brain...when I was in design school one of our mandatory classes was on the psychology of creativity and how to tap into it, and for at least the initial parts of concept development you need to be able to access the right side of the brain, but then be able to switch back and forth as you work out a step by step process for constructing your ideas. For most people the left side is dominant and learning to get access to the right side took some practice, we learned exercises to help expedite the process.

    For those few who were right brain dominant, accessing the left side for the more technical, analytical aspects was more difficult but the thing is modern-day education tends to focus almost exclusively on left-brain functions (language, math, science, etc.) so those functions tend to be very well developed in everybody and take less effort for right-brainers to get into. The left brain also tends to take over automatically anytime you present it with any task that is structured or fact/data based, such as using language or crunching numbers, which is why most people who do any kind of fine art for a living prefer to work in quiet studios with no distractions, so they can stay "in the zone".

    We also took cogntive tests to see where everybody stood as far as brain make-up goes, as it turns out I was fairly unique in that i don't really have a dominant side, I'm split almost exactly down the middle and can use both sides equally...I'm also 80% visual, which is one of the reasons I think I've come to hate my current line of work (it's not particularly stimulating for either side of the brain) and played a big part in my decision to pursue web development/design, I feel that based on how my brain works I would be very well suited for this type of thing...at least I hope so

  5. #14
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    @ RDesgnista, thanks for sharing, your input is valuable. I tend to agree, some people just learn better outside of a classroom setting and I tend to be one of them. Not that I don't appreciate having access to an expert to turn to for difficult concepts, but classrooms tend to move a little slow for me and I get bored - I learn best when I can do it at my own pace and then get input from someone once I've worked out the basic concepts and have fully-formed, intelligent questions to ask.

    @ TheGame, also in agreement, a degree can but doesn't necessarily indicate self-motivation, at my old job (I worked in film production) I was partially responsible for training interns. We would take anybody as an intern who was eager and ambitious, degree or not. Thing is, people who didn't go to film school (I obviously didn't) actually usually required less training, because instead of spending years learning concept and theory and watching avant garde films in some failed filmmakers classroom, they had spent years working in the real world and knew how get stuff done, take initiative, manage their time, etc. Basically they were able to acquire practical knowledge faster than the film school kids who all thought they were going to be the next Scorsese because they knew they needed to pay the bills somehow.
    I wasn't sure if this field would be similar in that aspect, but if it is that's encouraging, because I definitely prefer to operate as a motivated self-starter rather than go through the motions of getting a degree, which really anybody can do if they (or their parents) can afford it.

  6. #15
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 247707
    A degree doesn't indicate self-motivation. There's an increasing sentiment that a degree indicates nothing other than the ability to robotically memorize facts and details
    A degree shows the ability to finish something you started. There is no argument of that.

    Many, many employers agree, and require a degree just to get in the door for an interview.

    It doesn't matter what you guys believe... getting a job involves fitting the requirements employers believe are important.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 247707
    The best people I've hired or recommended often had no degree whatsoever. It depends on the individual.
    Sure, that's entirely possible. No college education is an indication of nothing positive or negative.

    An incomplete degree, on the other hand, is a huge red flag.

  7. #16
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcgroovy, post: 247719
    @ RDesgnista, thanks for sharing, your input is valuable. I tend to agree, some people just learn better outside of a classroom setting and I tend to be one of them. Not that I don't appreciate having access to an expert to turn to for difficult concepts, but classrooms tend to move a little slow for me and I get bored - I learn best when I can do it at my own pace and then get input from someone once I've worked out the basic concepts and have fully-formed, intelligent questions to ask.
    Also, another thing I want to point out - if you freelance, a portfolio of works will be so much more valuable than a degree. There was a guy posting a website for review here. He studied web design and just graduated. In his portfolio were just 3 items - not websites, but rather, items that he made during his studies. Unfortunately, that's not nearly enough to assure a potential client that you know what you're doing, because a single job requires design skill, layout management, coding skill, uploading the files, implementing social media, and a lot more.

    Here's a story of how I got my latest contract from a neuro-research company:
    They told me to come in. I spoke for about 2 minutes before they cut me off. They asked me how much a re-design would cost. I threw out a number. The owner immediately said "yes." The reason for such a hasty decision? Before I arrived, they had already seen my portfolio and website. They liked what they saw and that was enough for them. No one asked about my education at all.

    I somehow feel that a degree would be more useful if you planned to join a big media company. Big companies receive a lot of applications and like to hire the creme de la creme. So, their HR departments might filter applicants by education. I've seen some posts for web design jobs by firms. Most of them look for well-rounded skillsets, and I think that's also something that a degree will force you into. I actually have very poor javascript and programming skills because of all the pre-made functions and plugins available on the internet and probably could not work for a web design firm.

    -R

  8. #17
    Junior Member Wizard Tech Consulting's Avatar
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    I think you do not necessarily have to go back to school to learn web design. As you have said, you have the discipline and the background and the resources. Go ahead and play around, practice, network with other web designers (just like what you are doing now), build your portfolio, get your first project, learn from others. Just do it and be open-minded. Good Luck!


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