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🎓 Academic vs Self-Taught
Structured learning curriculum or flexible self-determined priorities or both? What type of education do you prefer?
Recently, I had an interesting conversation with a person who is considering switching careers and going into UX. One of the questions we discussed was about getting some kind of education in design and if it brings enough value.
I know many successful UX designers who are self-taught. On the other hand, I know a lot of folks who completed a program and feel that there wasn't much value for them. As usual, it depends. I decided to capture the main pros and cons for both paths.
Structured learning from experienced teachers.
Access to resources, software, design tools, and industry connections.
Credibility in the eyes of potential employers.
Expensive, with tuition and fees costing potentially thousands of dollars.
Time-consuming, with some programs taking up to two years to complete.
Lack of flexibility in the curriculum.
Flexibility to choose which areas of UX design to focus on.
Learn at your own pace.
Many free and low-cost resources are available online.
(Possibly) Lack of credibility in the eyes of potential employers without an official degree or certification.
Requires discipline and motivation, as there is no structured curriculum or experienced teacher to guide you.
Limited access to resources, software, and industry connections.
Each person should decide for themselves, but important to keep in mind, that neither option guarantees to get a job right away. You will still have to do a lot of work even to stand out, even if you've got a paper from an educational institution. From my experience, in most cases, your real skills (that you can and should illustrate in your portfolio) are much more important than your diploma.
And in both cases, you can't stop learning, so I don't think you can avoid self-education completely, even if you decide to start without it.
❤️ My favourite things
🛒 Stuff: After our move to Luxembourg, I needed to buy a new tire compressor for the car. What I found was this very cool thick iPod from Xiaomi =) Loved the design, the size, and the fact that it has built-in batteries. Buy on Amazon.
🔗 Cool finds
What makes candidates stand out (Twitter)
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