I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

The argument about design and degrees.

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49 Replies - 4405 Views - Last Post: 14 May 2004 - 05:33 AM

#1 mandalyn   User is offline

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I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 03 May 2004 - 08:16 PM

I'm new here, but not to design. Since 8th grade, I've been designing, developing, and publishing websites. After spending some time with the web, I stopped scripting (although I still read web-based languages) and got myself more into just creating web graphics. But right now, the internet is new, and graphics on the web are extremely limited.

So I started creating desktops, started making graphics in 300DPI just for the hell of it. I still post them on the web, but not with the intent to actually use it on a site. I'd like to say that being self-taught allows for more creativity, allows for a more "well-rounded" education, as opposed to doing assignments and being confined to certain programs in the classroom, or certain operating systems. Most graphic design employers are looking for interns who are in a course about graphic design (which I have been) or people who have their AA/BA in graphic design/design/fine arts.

So locally, I'm nothing. On the internet, however, it's hard to tell if I'm a major or if I've spent two seconds in a classroom. You can see my Livejournal for my latest work (at the time my host is down, sorry). I also have an account @ deviantART, even though their new system is too tedious for me to even want to update it frequently.

If any of you are a part of the community "graphicdesign" in Livejournal, you'll know the debate is ever-lasting. Some say it's better to have just to have (especially in able to get in the door to begin with), and some say that if the employer is worth anything, they'll accept you based on your work, not your education.

What is the best way to go about showing an employer that you're just as good, if not better, than the guy who wasted his money (no offense to degree-holders here) when they probably won't even take a look at you if you can't prove your education? I've got a portfolio (binder/printed works/awards/etc.) and I've done various web portfolios (which are pointless). My age is also a factor. I just turned 18, and most people don't expect much of students.

Any tips?


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#2 skyhawk133   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 03 May 2004 - 08:35 PM

It's ALL about networking, tell everyone and anyone that will listen to you what you can do, how long you've done it, how stoked and excited you are about it. If you are enthusiastic and totally dig what you do... people will notice. Go to you parents company picknics, go to job fairs, go to any place where you can show off your stuff... user groups... conventions... ANYTHING.
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#3 supersloth   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 03 May 2004 - 09:02 PM

all i can say is go to skool for it if you its what you love. everything else will fall into place. i mean shit, your only 18 too, you gotta start from the bottom and work your way up no matter what field your in.
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#4 mandalyn   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 03 May 2004 - 10:02 PM

Well my financial situation is really what holds me back. I'd love to go to school for it -- but I want to make money now with what I'm doing, and spend my time in school learning to develop video games (I really plan on being a texure/model artist).
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#5 skyhawk133   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 03 May 2004 - 10:27 PM

Well, I had written a big long reply, then I horcked it up... bottom line was I'm 20, I just recently got a good job, but now i can't finish school anytime soon because I have to work... you've got 50 years of work ahead of you so get an internship or a crappy pixel pushing job at an ad agency, printer, web design house or some other place that does graphics and go to school. The other thing I said was... get a scholarship, the feds are just hungry to hand them out to kids with no cash.

You can read about the admins on our about us page and get a little idea about where we are in life. I've personally been designing and doing web development for close to 10 years.

http://home.dreamincode.net/?p=about
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#6 mandalyn   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 03 May 2004 - 11:33 PM

Thank you for your advice. I read your bio, and on a somewhat related note, I've thought about going into the military to do computer-related work, but I couldn't go very long without Photoshop. I talked to a recruiter once, a sargeant, who did a mock-interview with me. He told me he was extremely impressed by my work, and told me that I should go into the Army and help them make their video games (America's Army -- is it?), or try to find out who does their marketing/advertising.. even though they just completely revamped their strategy and design.

Anyhow, I thought maybe I should move to California and try to do an internship at the companies I want to work for, and then try to get a part-time job, and go to school. It sounds busy, but I'm sure it's the everyday story for most college students. Maybe I'm just lazy.

I applied for a scholarship dealing with vocational studies in Washington State, and somehow I lost.. And I'm currently filling out the FAFSA. I'm trying to find out any scholarships for digital artists/students wanting to go into related fields.. Women in technology or something. Blah.

I've been letting this post sit here for a few minutes now. So I'll submit it.

+ There should always be a woman on staff. Helps get things done ;)

This post has been edited by mandalyn: 03 May 2004 - 11:33 PM

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#7 pioSko   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 04 May 2004 - 12:50 AM

Hi. Adding my 2 cents.

I disagree with you that education at a university or college is a waste of time (sorry, you may not have said that but I'm getting THAT feeling from you). Majority of what I have learned I have taught myself. I agree with you there that that's an important part of one's education. It helps to develope your own style and the ability to learn new things with greater ease.

However, the experience that I got from higher education was NOT from the projects that I did, but from my lecturers. These people where either in the business and teaching part-time or once were in the business and teaching full-time. These people passed on things that helped me understand more of what I was doing and how to do it better. Showed new techniques and new ways of doing things. It was more about getting ready for the big-world than re-designing me. In one word, experience. Ok two words, experience and design community. Fine, three words.

And there's one more thing. Who said you have to be "employed" to earn money? I know sooooooo many freelance designers that survive just fine. And, although I work for a big company, I hate it! (but there's a specific reason to this ;) ) I'm not in a state to actually work freelance right now. I NEED that reqular pay cheque every month. But I'm slowly working my way towards becomeing a freelancer designer. I do a couple of projects here and there right now, but that doesn't count. I want to work for myself. Get my own clients. It's a stressful lifestyle, I know that for a fact. But it's creative freedom. *sigh* :) ...... creative freedom.

Not saying that you're wrong. Not saying that I'm right. Just passing on my thoughts. I too wasn't in a financial status to do higher education. My parents were in a worse situation than I so they couldn't help either. But I found a way. If money is the only thing from keeping you from college/uni then that's a poor excuse to trash it, I think. There's always a way.

yer, but that's what I think. :) You have talent... can see that. Some very nice work. Keep it up. :)

This post has been edited by Red|5: 04 May 2004 - 01:01 AM

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#8 skyhawk133   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 04 May 2004 - 06:18 AM

mandalyn, on May 4 2004, 12:33 AM, said:

Thank you for your advice. I read your bio, and on a somewhat related note, I've thought about going into the military to do computer-related work, but I couldn't go very long without Photoshop. I talked to a recruiter once, a sargeant, who did a mock-interview with me. He told me he was extremely impressed by my work, and told me that I should go into the Army and help them make their video games (America's Army -- is it?), or try to find out who does their marketing/advertising.. even though they just completely revamped their strategy and design.

Anyhow, I thought maybe I should move to California and try to do an internship at the companies I want to work for, and then try to get a part-time job, and go to school. It sounds busy, but I'm sure it's the everyday story for most college students. Maybe I'm just lazy.

I applied for a scholarship dealing with vocational studies in Washington State, and somehow I lost.. And I'm currently filling out the FAFSA. I'm trying to find out any scholarships for digital artists/students wanting to go into related fields.. Women in technology or something. Blah.

I've been letting this post sit here for a few minutes now. So I'll submit it.

+ There should always be a woman on staff. Helps get things done ;)

As a side note... I'm not actually IN the military, I provide solutions for the military :) I'm a contractor.

Difference being... contractors usually make more $$ than military, no boot camp, no uniform, etc. etc. :-) You don't get all the great benefits, and the job sometimes only lasts as long as the contract... but hey... you take what you can get, especially if you're like me and not a fan of playing soldier :)
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#9 jaredigital   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 04 May 2004 - 06:26 AM

you should definitely find a way to get a degree from a 4-year university. there are FAFSA grants for underfunded students, Pell grants, and a slew of interest-free student loan options. get some funds, don't do something stupid like buy a car with your grant money, and get thee to a school!

when i graduated from college waaaaaay back in '97 there were hardly any schools teaching web design and development. i got a degree in computer animation and, while i like doing it, i would have had to move across the country to find a job. so i learned web development on my own. i'm lucky to have a good design sense and a good grip on web technology, because that is what has landed me every design job i've had -- not my degree. but if i had the chance that you have today, i would go to school and get a batchelor's degree in web design. what i'm saying is, you have the opportunity whereas i didn't, so it would be foolish to just give up. look for a way, mang. there's always a way.
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#10 mandalyn   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 05 May 2004 - 11:21 PM

I'm trying to get a job at a place I did an internship at. This supposed "up and coming" web firm that needs a layout editor/Photoshopper. And if I can get that going, I'll at least go to the community college here or a technical school for Flash that they also have in the area (perhaps taking courses in server management, etc.). Thank you guys for all of your help.

Sidenote: Skyhawk - I could tell from what you noted that you weren't actually in the military, and I figured that even if I were to get involved with them, I probably wouldn't be able to do what I wanted to do at all, but rather what they wanted me to do. Blah.

So I thought about the Army. Dad said, "Son, you're !@#$ing high," - Ben Folds Five, "Army"

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#11 skyhawk133   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 06 May 2004 - 01:26 PM

So I just took the past hour or so looking through every picture, graphic, layout, background, and image on your site (the one linked in your profile) and not only was I floored at the creativity, but I was also impressed to see such beautiful girl behind it all.

You will go far in life.
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#12 pioSko   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 06 May 2004 - 02:07 PM

Quote

So I just took the past hour or so looking through every picture, graphic, layout, background, and image on your site (the one linked in your profile) and not only was I floored at the creativity, but I was also impressed to see such beautiful girl behind it all.

You will go far in life.


i'll second that.
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#13 supersloth   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 06 May 2004 - 03:14 PM

I knew chris would be the first to hit on her.
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#14 skyhawk133   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 06 May 2004 - 03:53 PM

supersloth, on May 6 2004, 04:14 PM, said:

I knew chris would be the first to hit on her.

wtf mang, I can't compliment someone without being accused of hitting on them?!

She's attractive, and she's hella talented. Not something you often find :)
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#15 cyberscribe   User is offline

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Re: I Screwed Myself Over Because I Taught Myself?

Posted 06 May 2004 - 04:50 PM

mandalyn, on May 3 2004, 08:16 PM, said:

Any tips?

Directory listings don't do your site justice. Put something in there.
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