Hello everyone, i am currently doing my graphics design degree and am wondering if its worth it. As i hear many people say employers don't care about your degree and are only interested in seeing a great portfolio.
thanks for the posts, I'm currently in the middle of my degree and am planning to quit. if people and employers don't value it, they why go for it? The other reason is because most designers eventually go down the freelance path anyway after couple of years where its completely about how good your portfolio is.
I have learnt a lot while in uni but almost half of it was just a waste of time. There are many self taught graphic designers who are employed , but would a half completed degree and a great portfolio give you an edge over them?
A degree is FAR from worthless. You just have to make the course work for yourself, and not just sit there hoping that finishing a course will gain you any sort of super powers.
I know for a fact that if I was to hire a designer from the university I graduated from (UNSW COFA), they would have a solid foundation in design fundamentals. To me, that matters. I would also know that they had to go through the wars to get that degree. Also another quality trait I'm looking for (IE: not someone who just gives up).
I understand you point 'justinfox', i have gained all the fundamentals, design principles, colour theory, design process etc at uni which i find very useful and can build on. But i don't understand how learning aboriginal arts, art history, greek philosophy is going to help me in real life or as you mentioned make it work for myself.
I hear all this horrible stories of people graduating, and finding it hard to get a job in this crowded industry and having to go back to tafe to learn the technical skills while already in a huge debt. in this case quitting doesn't really mean giving up but smart thinking, i believe i can achieve much more leaving now and working on my portfolio as well keeping up with the latest technical requirements of the industry.
If you're doing a university degree purely for future employers, then I agree that learning from your own work or doing a TAFE degree would be better value and you should definitely quit.
University is about stretching your skills, and opening your eyes to different perspectives. Some of that results in the practical application of design fundamentals, but it also comes about in the application of theory and exploring different disciplines.
Design doesn't act in a vaccum, and it rarely works purely for the puposes of other designers. To be a good designer you need to be able to think outside the box and see things from different perspectives. New ideas come from putting two previously unrelated things together; but you need to be aware of those things and be able to analyse their meaning before you can play with how they interrelate.
Uni isn't there to teach you how to do, it's there to teach you how to think. The value comes not in being taught its value, but in thinking about what value there is in something for you.
What qualifications are you going to put in your cv? What are you going to say to employers about why you quit your design degree?
::most designers eventually go down the freelance path anyway after couple of years::
And what percentage of those are successful at freelancing? Two years is nothing. There's a LOT more to it than just your portfolio. Some of your comments make me think you're a bit naive about what it takes and is going on in the real world.
::I hear all this horrible stories of people graduating, and finding it hard to get a job in this crowded industry and having to go back to tafe to learn the technical skills while already in a huge debt.::
That's because they didn't put the work in outside of merely "passing" their course. Or they simply are not very talented designers. It happens.
::employers don't care about your degree and are only interested in seeing a great portfolio.::
Completely incorrect. The issue is with degree qualified designers who have not taken it upon themselves to do anything outside of their course. Just as equal an issue are those "designers" (I use the term loosely for a reason) who are expert at Photoshop/Illustrator et al, but have no idea of basic design theory & principles that underpin ALL of the high quality design work.
::But i don't understand how learning aboriginal arts, art history, greek philosophy is going to help me in real life or as you mentioned make it work for myself.::
There are examples of very good self taught designers. But there are far, FAR more examples of very good designers with a solid education in all those areas that you want to dismiss as not being relevant to "real life".
To become a very good - maybe even great, if you're talented enough - designer requires a very thorough understanding of design theory/principles/practices, which have all come from design history. And learning these takes time, some can learn all this themselves because they are highly driven and voracious readers and consumers of all relevant information they come across. Others gain from the structure and length of time that a degree affords, as it gives them a guiding hand on where to start acquiring certain information.
There are reasons to choose a non-degree pathway to a variety of careers, however I'm not entirely convinced that you are doing so for the right reasons. I would at the very least seek out some experienced design professionals you respect and talk with them about your thoughts in this area. Good design is about far more than "pushing pixels". Don't aim to be a run of the mill designer, there are way too many of those around (and hence why there's a supposed surplus of designers).