Photo by Faizur Rehman on Unsplash
Becoming a designer can be fulfilling, and as the industry peeks to $43.4 billion, it seems that many people agree with that statement. But once you decide to take classes in design topics, you may be confused as to what option you should take: a bachelor’s degree or bootcamp.
Grappling with this decision is tough, but through research, you can take the path that works best for you. In this article, we’ll help you decide whether to choose art school or a bootcamp.
Art & Design School: The Pros and Cons of a Degree
When considering their options for education, it’s common for people to consider getting a degree. It’s the most traditional path to success, but should you go to college or university?
Getting an Arts Degree: The Pros
Here are the pros of getting a professional art degree:
- Thorough Theoretical Base: While some bootcamps teach the “why” of design principles, more of them focus on the “how.” Degrees focus on both at once.
- Seen as More Credible: It’s often said that employees don’t need a degree; employers do. Employers are more likely to hire a designer if they have a bachelor’s degree.
- Going to Graduate School: With a degree, you have the option to go to graduate school. This can open up more doors for you in the design world, even if it’s an expensive option. Fortunately, you can take out low-interest loans for graduate school.
To get the most out of this option, pick a program that’s considered the “best” in the field. A degree from Sheridan College in Canada will hold a lot of esteem to future employers.
Getting an Arts Degree: The Cons
Here are the cons of getting a professional art degree:
- The High Upfront Cost: A design degree can be very expensive, as they’re typically designated to specialty schools. You’ll also need to go to a good school to get hired.
- Outdated Information: The internet can update information much quicker than schools could ever dream of. You’ll be opting into a significant time investment, but you won’t necessarily have the education you need. You may need to take online classes anyway.
- Lack of Practical Skills: While art school is fantastic at teaching theory, it isn’t as good at teaching practical skills. You’ll still learn these skills, but bootcamps do it better.
To reduce the number of cons for this option, we recommend getting an internship. That way, you’ll get enough experience to make up for any outdated information or a lack of skill set.
Online Bootcamps: The Pros and Cons of a Bootcamp
Getting a traditional education isn’t your only option. In fact, it may be the worst option depending on your situation. But is it actually worth it to sign up for an online bootcamp?
Signing Up for a Bootcamp: The Pros
Here are the pros of signing up for a bootcamp:
- Quick Turnaround Time: Online bootcamps are designed to get you a job. Many boot camps even have an “employability guarantee,” so you’ll get your money back if you don’t get placed. Depending on the bootcamp, you can find a job in less than a year.
- Flexible Learning Process: Bootcamps offer more flexibility than a traditional degree, which is great for students who are juggling multiple jobs or building a family.
- Up-to-Date Information: When you sign up for a quality online bootcamp, you’re guaranteed to learn the most up-to-date information surrounding design topics.
To get the most out of this option, look for a bootcamp that has an employability guarantee. Try to find an option that teaches you how to build a portfolio and get hired in the industry.
Signing Up for a Bootcamp: The Cons
Here are the cons of signing up for a bootcamp:
- Bootcamps are Intense: The whole point of a bootcamp is to make you hireable as quickly as possible. You’ll need a lot of stamina to get through a bootcamp program.
- Imposter Syndrome: Many students lose their confidence when working through a bootcamp because they don’t feel like “real designers.” It’s important to keep in mind that many employers will see your worth, but you have to learn to find it within yourself first!
- Solo and Online Learning: Not everyone works well by themselves or in an online school. If you prefer to study in a group, then a bootcamp may not be for you.
To reduce some of these cons, find a bootcamp that champions group learning. Make sure you have enough time to truly dedicate to the bootcamp and commit to seeing it through to the end.
Art & Design School vs. Online Bootcamps: Which Is Better?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a single right answer to this question. You’ll have to go through the pros and cons yourself to find a solution that works best for you. If you’re going the bootcamp route, make sure to research the school and its placement track record before signing up.