If you’re young, hip and happening, and like all things artsy, there is a good chance that you have played around with Photoshop and figured out that a career in design is the way to go! There is also a good chance that you have asked yourself if a degree in design is actually worth its salt, and if it’s rather just better to throw yourself in the deep end of the design industry and wing it with the skills you have already picked up with the help of online tutorials.

Well, that dilemma is exactly what this article is about – and just how a degree in design could help save your bacon.

Basic instinct

We know that tuition can be pricey, but the fact remains that a graphic design degree will start you off with a comprehensive understanding of the basics. Of course you need talent, but the basics will ensure that your talents fly. Amanda Bussio, designer at Artifact, has this to say: “knowing the history and theory behind advertising and design makes for better design. A degree doesn’t just equip you with design know-how, other courses that form your degree such as Popular Culture, Marketing Principles and Photography, also allow you to understand the basics of advertising and design and their purpose within society. All of this helps you, as the designer, to create something more relevant”.

Porti prep

Studying through a reputable institution will also equip you with something that all designers need when looking for a job; a portfolio. Granted, it may feel more like a ‘starter pack’, but considering that some institutions require you to build a portfolio from year one, you will know what should go into your portfolio for maximum effect and how to package it professionally long before the job hunt even begins. Because projects are often varied and different, your portfolio will also showcase a variety of skills and designs, thus marketing the range of your capabilities to potential employers.

Get ready for take off

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the employment of graphic designers is predicted to increase by a whopping 13% by 2020. With the design industry set to explode, you need to make sure that you are ahead of the crowd with something that sets you apart. According to graphicdesign.com, after analysing 28 000 graphic design job listings, specific academic credentials formed the highest demand that prospective employers looked for in potential candidates. Based on their findings, a bachelor’s degree qualified candidates for more than 11 000 graphic design jobs than an individual with no college or university degree. This essentially proves that a design degree most certainly works in your favour when looking for your first, or any, graphic design post.

Pocket more dough

Most of us know that a degree has the ability to boost your salary. The graphic design industry has proven to be no different in a study conducted by burningglass.com, whose data shows that a degree in design is capable of boosting your annual salary on average by almost 22%. Despite tuition being a costly affair, the long term investment of having a degree can clearly be noted in these findings and, with facts like these, earning yourself a degree in graphic design suddenly becomes a no-brainer.

The verdict

A degree in graphic design isn’t the end-all and be-all of being a successful designer; however the facts are clear that you are able to increase your attractiveness to potential employers the moment you are in possession of a certificate or degree. Bussio sums it up perfectly by saying “real life experience is more important than having a degree, but personally, having a graphic design degree definitely made it easier for me to get into the industry”. Plus, who wouldn’t be happier with some extra padding in their wallets!