I'm evaluating several options for obtaining graphic/web design training and would love to get the opinions of those in the trade (pretty similar to
, but a bit more specific). In a perfect world I would love to get a (second) BA, but that's probably completely insane financially.
I discovered an unexpected interest in design over the past year, after my boss purchased InDesign for our org. and asked me to start using it to design ads and other things. Since then I have also begun learning Illustrator, subscribing to the web design track on Treehouse, and learning to draw. I have a lot of fun with this stuff, and even frequently regret having to leave work because I'm so absorbed in what I'm creating.
I would really like to pursue some type of education or training in this area such that I could actually have a design career someday. I've otherwise been on an administrative track because I've been really wishy-washy about a career to pursue and am incredibly indecisive (and also have had issues with depression which made me pretty lethargic about career stuff), so it feels really good to finally have discovered something that really excites me.
Of course, education costs a ton of money, which I don't have. And I already have a BA degree and a loan to payoff. My personal debt burden is not huge, relatively speaking (~$9,000), but my parents also have a loan in their name and I would assume I've maxed out all the Federal loan options for another Bachelor's degree.
I found this comment
in the thread I linked above pretty eye-opening. Basically, the commenter states that it is very, very difficult to have a successful design career without a BA in the field. After doing some Craigslist research, I see that most graphic design job posts do require a BA. Web design jobs seem to require it less, but I also see less ads for web design jobs (is the job market not great in that field?). Ideally I would want to develop skills in both areas in order to be more employable, and also a better web designer. I understand that the 'easy' stuff to learn is the software/coding, and that a design education would really be about developing a good eye and sense of design.
Anyway, I have been thinking about various paths and would love some feedback. I think a straight-up BA is probably out - I'm probably not going to be able to borrow money at a reasonable rate, and even if I could go in as a second-bachelor's candidate it's going to cost too much.
One thing I am considering is getting a certificate, like this one I discovered from UMass online, here
. It would cost about $9,000. My thought is that this would give a decent foundation and the chance to develop a portfolio. (But another thought is: is $9,000 a ridiculous amount to spend on a non-degree?). Then, I would hope to get accepted into a MA program, which I could finance with federal loans.
Any ideas on how this would be looked at by employers? When they list a BA in job ads, is it reasonable to assume that a certificate + MA would also be ok?
Another path I am considering is completing a certificate plus some type of web design course -- perhaps just working Treehouse really thoroughly, or doing this program from Bloc
(the Bloc program costs $3,000 - they do have a $1,500 diversity scholarship, which I applied for a couple days ago). With this path, I am assuming that it will be tough to really make a go of it as a graphic designer but that I might have a good foundation for web design.
I would so appreciate any thoughts you may have on these paths or any other suggestions you might have. I might have made some incorrect assumptions or might be really misunderstanding the options that are out there - if so, please correct me!