Education vs. Experience

Education vs. Experience

I’ve always wanted to open up a post by presenting a stat so here goes: The average debt that a student will graduate with next year in Canada (assuming of course that he/she has depended on loans) will be $29,000. Now if that figure wasn’t large enough for you, consider the fact that it does not include expenses such as the cost for books, supplies, on-campus accommodation, etc. It only gets worse when you realize that compound interest would inflate that figure further.

When is it worth it? Granted that education is one of the best investments that you can make in your life, you have to ask yourself, is it really necessary to make towards a profession you seek? If you’re becoming a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer for example, then the answer is yes. When it comes to these types of professions, there’s a definitive route that one must take in order to be identified as such.

In the creative field, based on experience, one can argue that such lengthy education isn’t necessary. Creative individuals that hold titles such as Web Designers, Production Artists, Graphic Designers and Videographers don’t need a degree. This is the beauty of our industry. Your passion for producing great work and a strong portfolio will take you on a fruitful journey. Along the path you’ll come across individuals in the industry who’ll value your experience over education any day. To keep up with the ever changing technology you can take part time courses which show your continuous enthusiasm for learning. The more you can familiarize yourself with multiple creative tools of the trade, the more opportunities will open up for you. Combine that with the whole “practice makes perfect” mantra and you’ll find that the need for a 4 year degree just doesn’t make sense anymore.

Remember that educational institutes will always have their doors open for you but also keep in mind that it would be in your best interest to question your motives in trying to figure out why you’re wanting to attend school and what you hope to get out of it at the end.



  1. Peter

    Good article Umer. I still think there is value in core programs that teach theory and history of design/typography/programming on a very high level but when it come to the technology I’m a big fan of courses vs. programs. Things are changing so fast it’s hard to commit to a year or two if it’s just about what shortcuts to learn in Adobe etc. If you are a self-starter, there are so many online resources that are relevant and current to what’s happening it would be tough to gamble on a local teacher in these areas. Regardless of what you decide to do re education, I would highly recommend talking to a few people you respect who are in the industry before opening your wallet.

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