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Thread: school or work

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    SitePoint Member sgrant's Avatar
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    school or work

    I'm 22 and I've been a freelance web and graphic designer for the past 4 years. I've been to a few different schools and just haven't found the right program yet. Lately I've been considering jumping into the working world and finding a job at a web design company. I believe I have the design skills to do so and finding a job now would save me the almost $50,000 it would cost to finish my degree. As far as my skills go, I'm a pro with photoshop, illustrator, and am pretty good with dreamweaver. I know some flash and indesign but am learning more about them. My design work can be found on my site, shawn-grant (dot) com

    I'm not sure what's the best way to go. Do I have enough experience to become a designer at a firm? Should I try to get an internship then work my up? Should I just go back to school?

    Thanks

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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Generally in the field, designers are expected to be able to hand code HTML and CSS, and while you sound like you are well versed in the creative aspects (which is excellent) I would evaluate your skills as a coder before you make any firm decisions about trying to get a job. If getting a job is what you are after my advice would be to use your website as a showcase (as you are currently doing) but looking at your websites code there are some basic mistakes in there that you may be critiqued for by any potential employee (such as the lack of alt tags on images, the need to shift away from table based design and the task of seperating your style and behaviour (JS and CSS) from the structure (HTML), all in all though your portfolio is pretty high quality so I don't see why you couldnt get a job as long as you make sure your hand coding skills are up-to-date (as this is considered a prerequisit for most jobs in web design).

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    Serial Entrepreneur
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    We just did this topic here. I think it fairly presents all sides of the argument.
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    SitePoint Zealot Mitochondrion's Avatar
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    Every single design/IM school out there is a diploma mill. When I was 21 years old people told me that and I refused to believe. Today I'm 36 and I believe. I guess some of life's lessons have to be learned the hard way.

    Abandon all hope of moving forward in life just because you are affiliated with one of those institutions or even hold a Baccalaureate Degree issue by some arts college. Those degrees are less than worthless. They are feces. All they do is give you ego points. I have one worthless B.A. degree earned in 1999 and I don't even admit it in cocktail party conversations. There are individuals who are destined to succeed in arts and there are individuals destined to fail. The failures outnumber the success stories 1000 to 1. I quit the industry because I was not good enough and also b/c didn't have any role models to follow-too many of the "mentors" I knew I considered failures. I quite the creative field to associate w/ people I considered successful. Role models are hugely important when you're new to an industry. One of the best things about going to some kind of design/media design school is that you may run into a mentor who help you define your professional goals. The diploma itself it irrelevant in your industry.

    More than anything else I wish you to hook up with role models you could imitate. Perhaps you can meet them in school or perhaps you could meet them at Liveleak. Once you hook up with the right people the school or the major don't matter. Just don't hook up with silver medalists. There's no prize for the second place in the industry you're contemplating. Even in 1997 or 1998 when jobs were plentiful you had to be competent to land a position. Today, at the depth of the worst recession since 1929 I can't even imagine. I've been out of touch with the industry since 2002.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgrant View Post
    I'm 22 and I've been a freelance web and graphic designer for the past 4 years. I've been to a few different schools and just haven't found the right program yet. Lately I've been considering jumping into the working world and finding a job at a web design company. I believe I have the design skills to do so and finding a job now would save me the almost $50,000 it would cost to finish my degree. As far as my skills go, I'm a pro with photoshop, illustrator, and am pretty good with dreamweaver. I know some flash and indesign but am learning more about them. My design work can be found on my site, shawn-grant (dot) com

    I'm not sure what's the best way to go. Do I have enough experience to become a designer at a firm? Should I try to get an internship then work my up? Should I just go back to school?

    Thanks
    School. Look, we all know that University Technology is behind and you're gonna have to take couple of shakespear classes. Of course, you can drop like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs but they didn't drop college to be a freelance but a entrepreneur. So, unless you're opening up your own business, I suggest going to college since you will get paid more, better benefits, and possibly find friends to start up the company. If I didn't have a degree in last 10 years.. I would probably lost over $200k. It's your call but I think you can part-time freelance and still goto school.

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    SitePoint Enthusiast revisitors's Avatar
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    i miss my school days, but i need to work hard for my little child,...


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