Pretty regularly I am asked by someone looking to transition into design or begin a career in design, “what’s the best option for accreditation”.
Here’s my response. There’s a few obvious approaches nether all have benefits and limitations.
University. This is what I did. 3 years and $10,000 to get an education and of course, that all important degree. It worked for me right? Sort of. It definitely helped me get to where I am. But could I have taken another route? Most definitely. When I started my first job, most of what I had learnt seemed outdated, inefficient or impractical. Some aspects were good. The best thing I think I received from my degree? Great friends who are in the industry still today who I network with and continue to learn from. Ive also been able to progress down the academic path earning a graduate diploma and am now considering doing a Masters research degree.
TAFE. This is a great option in Australia. I haven’t studied at TAFE but I’ve had interns from TAFE and can say with confidence they have learnt good foundations. It’s a lot cheaper than University and seems to give the same level of folio quality as university. A lot of people seem to thing it is also more practical. Definitely an option.
Private College. I see a mix of students come out of private college. Some a really capable and others are completely incapable. Private college is very expensive and I know from experience can often have lecturers who are unqualified and not good at what they are teaching (the opposite is true in ’tis regard as well). Folios I see coming out of private colleges all look really good on a surface level but in all honestly I get the sense they are highly derivative of other designers work. This happens in university too and if I am honest, this is a subjective opinion.
Teach yourself. Hardly anyone does this but those who do are extremely motivated and can succeed in any capacity. I like to challenge potential students to take this path. Why. Noah Bradley some it up in his article very well. For $5000 you could Aquire more than enough resources to teach yourself design. Quite frankly, it’s not that hard and you learn best in this filed simply by having a go. I am currently in the process of training an intern to teach himself design and he is doing great.
So these are my basic observations. It’s been 20 years since I began my degree. If I had the option again, option 4 would definitely be my preferred choice.