You don’t need degree to be a Professional Designer

A Professional Designer

I have never been to a design school! But Professionally as a designer I had worked with tech giants like Yahoo, Forbes, MSN, and more.

Even when I started to work as an independent freelancer, I was hardly asked about my qualification.

So does having a Design Degree do really matters?

In a nutshell NO! but there are some companies that strictly hire designers who have a design degree. There are tons of other companies that hire based on skills.

Having a Design degree does add value to you but it’s not necessary to have a design degree to be a designer.

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If you afford to go to a Design school and get a degree it’s great. Do it. But if you don’t afford to go to design school, It’s okay! Doors are not closed for you.

The goal of this article is to share resources that will help you to be a designer without going to any design school.

Will it be a tough journey? Yes learning a skill by your own is tough and challenging but rewards are guaranteed. If you are ready for this journey then I am here to help you.

1. Find a Mentor

This is an important part! Find a senior person from the industry who is willing to help you. Ask questions to them, clear your doubts. Leverage their experience. Don’t go alone on this journey. Have a guiding hand around you and the journey will be smooth and beautiful.

I know a lot of people shy of asking for guidance. But trust me people are kind and are more than happy to guide you. This is from my personal experience I had mentored people and I enjoy sharing my experience with them so they don’t do the same mistakes I did. so Take the first step.

2. Design Fundamentals

Get your Design Fundamentals right. Focus on them, spend most of your time on fundamentals.

A lot of young designers think knowing more Softwares will make things smooth, or knowing new software will help me to get that job. That’s partially true. Don’t focus much on Softwares. Softwares are important but they are nothing without you! Truth is You add value to the software, not the other way.

I know some amazing designers who are not good with Softwares but are amazing at their job. The software comes and goes but fundamentals last forever.

3. Attend Meetups

The world is online nowadays. Connect with other designers on all the social platforms. Join Design forums, Talk to other designers, Compliment their work. Don’t stop here! Lookup for nearby design meetups and attend them. Don’t sit in the corner during the event. Go and talk with people.

All these things will help you to be visible in the design community.

4. Stay Inspired

As Designers we all need inspirations. Either you are in your entry-level of your career or senior level. Look upon other designers, Understand their mindset. Think about why they made those design decisions. Reverse engineer their work.

For inspirations, you can visit the following sites

  1. Awwwards
  2. The Best Designs
  3. Pinterest
  4. Vimeo
  5. Behance
  6. Dribbble

5. Online Courses

Leverage online courses. They are usually cheap, You can learn them anywhere in your comfort of time. Some courses are thought by the industry’s best minds. Like you can literally learn from the best from any corner of the world.

I will suggest don’t focus on software-oriented courses.

Like don’t go for – Master Photoshop in two weeks

Go for – Learn to solve design problems in the most creative ways

Above mentioned are just examples, not actual courses.

by the above examples, I am saying focus on the Design thinking part, not on Softwares.

You can learn software for free from YouTube or other free courses available. but still, if you feel there is a requirement to learn it from a paid source. Feel free to go for it.

Here are some online courses sites

  1. Hack Design
  2. Khan Academy
  3. Interaction Design Foundation
  4. Coursera
  5. Udemy
  6. Skill share
  7. Linkedin Learning

6. Create and Show

Don’t quit! Keep creating! No matter how tough it gets keep creating some sort of work. Either be Concept projects or Real projects keep creating and keep yourself busy with the craft.

Done with the work? Don’t be shy, Post-it online! Let the world see it. Don’t focus on the number of likes or followers you have! Ignore them. Stay busy with work. Learn from your mistakes and improve them but don’t stop the cycle.

7. Look out for Opportunities

Don’t wait for opportunities, create them.

If you had followed the above steps successfully, it’s time to let the industry know that you are open to opportunities.

Let your mentors and other design friends know you are looking for an opportunity.

Update your Resume! Add the line “Open for Opportunites” on all your professional platforms like Linkedin.

Note: I am not saying Quit your degrees and do this! This is for the ones who can’t afford to get a degree in design or have a degree from other fields like engineering and now wish to pursue designing as a profession. I will recommend completing your degree it’s okay if it’s not design-related. A degree will help as a lot of companies prefer graduates over non-graduates.

I wish you success on your new journey to be a designer.

Here are some other resources for you which will be handy when you become a designer.

Free Stock Pictures- 10 Sites to get Best Free stock photos

I hope this article was helpful! Share with your friends or bookmark so you can easily refer back to it.