Self-taught designer – good or bad?
I believe that I have achieved a lot for a person without a special diploma: I have professional awards, I have won tenders from large clients, I have good work in my portfolio that I tried on myself or with a team, as well as a lot of positive reviews and loyal customers to me …
It would seem that I am proof that you can achieve serious performance and even success through self-study. But nevertheless, there are those who claim the opposite. I consider the cult of the diploma unjustified. You can sit in a university for 5 years, but still not master the profession. They do not become a professional simply by gaining knowledge, they still need to be applied and honed – this is called practice and the experience path.
Even if you look not at my example, but at other designers whom I recruited, both for my business and for the agency where I worked. I have never looked at a diploma; at the first stage, only the portfolio was important for me. Then the person was tested in battle. Designers from a well-known British woman often came to me, who were wiped off their noses by self-taught from distant cities. Speed, responsibility, understanding of the task, attention to detail – these are the qualities that I paid attention to when a person passed the probationary period. So the “cool portfolio” was often an illusion that attracted attention.
Do you understand what I’m talking about? Yes, they are greeted by their clothes, but they are escorted by their minds. Therefore, the presence or absence of a diploma does not mean anything and does not guarantee anything.
And now a little about the term “self-taught” itself – it is not only getting information on your own, it is constant self-education, striving for excellence, studying the best practices, analyzing the best works, reading the best books – this is the principle of life. Do not sit and wait for everything to be explained to you and teach you everything, but to reach everything yourself, to look for solutions to any problems yourself. Never stop. Even if you are now studying in your specialty, get additional skills, start an internship, otherwise after graduation you will understand that you need to start from scratch.
Therefore, the opinion that you first need to learn and then practice, I think it is wrong. Build your bumps, make mistakes, and learn faster. Do not be afraid of criticism, I am also criticized, even Lebedev is criticized).
Author: Igor Kosovsky, self-taught designer