Got a job without finishing my graphic design degree?

I'm currently studying Graphic Design, and some of you might say or argue that "you don't need need a qualifcation to become a graphic designer".

Qualifcation in Graphic design is a debateable topic, if you want to work as a freelancer you don't need a qualification, if you want to work for a company, you will need one. But the reality is you NEED qualification in GD, as I have been doing research and most job advertisement wants applicants who has degree/diploma in GD, or currently studying GD at University.

So, please don't argue with me that "qualification in GD is uneccessary". I'm here to get advice, not to argue.

Okay, as I have been researching, I found out that someone without qualifcation will get pay less compare to those who has one as GD.

If I get a full-time job as GD, would my unfinish studies affect my career? Will it affect my pay to be lower as well? I mean, I have been doing alot and alot of GD work during my free time by speeding up my GD studies independently at home, rather than waiting semester by semester for the uni to teach me.

If the employer caught me lying to him that I "finished my degree", would he/she fire me?

Would it make any difference? I can study part-time, but I already know the topic it and what's the point the uni teaching me again?


8 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm not going to argue with you either. However, you are, by your own admission, a novice and a student. All the answers I've read here so far are from other students and novices.

    Let me give you some real world advice backed by over 32 years as a Graphic Artist and Designer, with 25 years at a top 50 US advertising agency.

    1) On the whole, people with a degree (or "qualification" to use your term) earn more over their lifetime than people without. On the whole, the higher degree (or qualification) you have, the more you will make over your lifetime. That is an undeniable fact.

    2) That notwithstanding, another undeniable FACT is, it is your portfolio that matters now and always. Equal to that is how well you a) listen, b) communicate creative ideas and c) take correction. There are lots of people with degrees flipping burgers because their talent (or skill) is limited or no one wants to work with them. Considering you seem hell bent that one MUST have a degree to succeed, I suggest you work on a and c. I'm not trying to insult you, but if my previous sentence made you mad, it proves my point.

    3) The way to get ahead in Graphic Design is to BE WILLING TO MOVE, to leave one job after 2 or 3 years for a better job. If you are in a small town, move to a bigger one for more opportunities. As you improve your skills, your portfolio will improve. Then use use your better portfolio to get a better job. The REALITY is, once you get a job, you will only typically see raises of 2%-5% a year. Even if you leave a company (on good terms) and come back, you will be able to command higher pay than if you stay there year in and year out.

    4) The REALITY is life is not fair. You will have more luck getting a job because you have the right connections than you will because of a degree or even a portfolio.However, once you have a job, it will be the portfolio and or/degree that lets you keep the job.

    5) DO NOT LIE to your employer. It is a symptom of bigger problems you have if you do. The REALITY, however, is if they want to get rid of you they will find an excuse. So ALWAYS keep your portfolio up to date and your CV/Resume ready to go.

    For the record, I have an Associate's Degree in Commercial Art and a Bachelor's degree in Art. I graduated with honors. I was one of only six finalists out of more than 1,500 qualified seniors for the university's President"s Medal award. HOWEVER, I had already been working in Advertising 7 full years before I went back to school to get my Bachelor's. After I graduated, I got an "attaboy" but no raise than I ever got before the degree. And after 25 years, almost to the day, I was finally downsized. Not because I didn't have a degree, or didn't have the skills or a great portfolio, but because the agency was sold and the new owner simply wanted to hire someone fresh out of school so he could pay less. Like I said, life is not fair, but I'm not whining about it. I just started a new career with another company as their Sr. Graphic Designer.

    Good luck.

    Source(s): 30+ years as a Graphic Designer, freelancing and with 25 years at a top 50 US Ad Agency
  • 8 years ago

    The best jobs will look at your portfolio, but there are a lot of excellent portfolios out there. If an employer catches you lying then yes, you probably will get fired. A lot of schools will be willing to negotiate credit for outside activities and so forth -- if you are talented and successful you look good in their promotional materials.

    It's kind of a tough call: if you are getting work now you must have an excellent portfolio. But you are up against some incredible portfolios period. And there ARE idiots out there who only look at GD diplomates, or diplomates in general when all you need to do is design well. If you're well-placed for now stay where you are and use your time to research and get the best deal you can for a degree is my advice, because in this career you can be up one day and down the next, and HR offices are mostly cruel idiots who shouldn't have ANY say about who gets hired for this.

  • 4 years ago

    Of course. In the design world, a great portfolio is much more important than a degree. Another thing more important than a degree is being able to work well with others and in a company. Designers have a tendency for being anti-social, so I would assume they base hiring someone on the following factors: 1. How they fit into the company 2. Their portfolio 3. Their degree.

  • 6 years ago

    If you get a job without completing the graphic design degree, it's great but don't lie that you have GD's degree. You can tell them that you are pursuing. What ultimately matters is your work and design skills. I have seen lots of GDs who have degrees but no talent at all. So, if you have talent then you don't need any degree in getting a job.

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  • Shansi
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    If you are caught lying, chances are, you'll get fired. And yes, having a degree may or may not get you a higher payscale. I suggest you not lie to your employer as to not have problems in the future.

    Also, THERE IS a requirement for graphic designers: their portfolio. I am also a student but I've gotten high profile jobs (my boss isn't a graduate of any degree either) without having a degree... portfolio and experience seems to get me these things.

    You get paid based on your work.

  • 8 years ago

    From one graphic designer student to another, even if you land a job before you graduate with your degree i think it will be advantageous for you to finish your degree. The reason I say this is because, if you lose your job it will be much easier for you to land a new one.

    You should never lie and say you have a degree when you do not, if you are caught in that lie you will most likely lose your job and hurt your reputation. If I owned a business and I found out a potential employee of and current employee lied and told me they had a degree when they did not they would not be hired or lose their job. I wouldn't deal with liars.

  • 8 years ago

    "If the employer caught me lying to him that I "finished my degree", would he/she fire me?"...duh! Don't ever lie about something so big like that.

    I graduated in december and had to job hunt....most of the jobs I came across required you to have some sort of bachelor's degree. However, jobs specifically tailored to graphic design, i'd say maybe only half required at least an associates, the other half required nothing.

    Also the point of finishing despite knowing stuff already is so you can have formal credibility. Instead of just saying "I know how to do this, trust me" now have a degree that says you know how to do it.

  • Tim D
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Yes you risk getting lower pay – at least until you gain a few year’s experience and a good body of work.

    If an employer caught you deliberately misleading them, you would be fired, you would also have an awkward time explaining that to your next employer if they decide to check your employment history (and would have no references).

    Speak to your university admissions department, ask them if you could complete the degree course at a later date on a part-time basis.

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