Bachelors + Masters or Bachelors + Associates?

I’m at a community college and I’m almost done with the core requirements for a bachelors and also almost done with an associates in graphic design. I will finish the core this summer and there are only a few more classes I need to finish the associates in graphic design. I could finish the associates while starting the freshmen requirements for a bachelors in computer science, then transfer to a 4 year university to get a BS in CS with a minor in marketing. My other option would be do a BS in CS with a minor in marketing, then get a MA in graphic design instead of finishing the associates in graphic design. I’m going to talk to the design department at the college I plan to transfer to so I can ask them about the possibility of getting a bachelors (double major) or masters in graphic design instead of an associates. If I get an associates in graphic design, BS in CS, and minor in marketing, I could finish college in 3 more years. If I do a BS in CS and a bachelors or masters in graphic design, It will probably take me at least 4 years to finish. An MA in design might be better than an associates on my resume, but I have a few concerns about getting an MA in design instead of finishing my associates.

  1. I’m pretty sure it will take me at least 1 year longer to finish college if I do a masters or bachelors instead of an associates. It would probably also cost a little more tuition. Does it really make a difference to most employers if I have a bachelors + masters or bachelors + associates? Is the difference worth the extra time?

  2. Will it make me look overqualified for most jobs to go into the work industry with a masters degree and not much work experience?

I am interested in possibly doing some web/app development and some graphic design work to get experience. Eventually, I could combine the work experience in those fields to help me get a job as a UI designer.

Whichever route you take, make sure to be building up a stellar portfolio in the meantime! A degree will definitely be a big plus, but without the experience or portfolio it wouldn’t matter much. The IT industry, and more specifically Web Design/Development, is funny in that employers really care about a portfolio…more so if you are working for yourself. Of course, with a degree you’ll have a higher chance of landing a higher paying managerial position especially with a kickass portfolio.

If you have the time, do a little freelancing on the side. I just started an eLance profile yesterday (have been doing freelance locally) and I have already completed and been paid for a job. You could also start designing your own site. Blog about what you know every once in a while; this will show to your future employer that not only can you build/design a stellar website but you can teach others what you know as well!

Just remember that you won’t be the only one who graduates on Graduation Day!

Thanks! I decided to get an associates and bachelors instead of bachelors and associates because it would be faster and cheaper. I talked to my boss and the graphic design department faculty at the college I’m going to transfer to and that’s what they recommended too. They said it wouldn’t matter that much what kind of degree I had as long as I had a degree and a good portfolio. btw, I do already have a website I designed built for myself and some freelance clients. I’m going to do some more freelance stuff this summer.