1. The baseline
Generally, to have a good career in web design and web development, you can never stop learning. At the end of your four years of torture in university, there is the tendency to think that “I’ve learned all there is to learn”… only to come out into the real world and realize, “I’ve been learning outdated technology!”
Actually “a lot of the languages (PHP, MySQL, jQuery, MongDB etc) can be learned without needing a college degree,” writes Jake. Anything that has to do with building for the Web in terms of practical use cannot be tied down with a syllabus or taught to you by a teacher. It’s not like medicine or law – human anatomy doesn’t change overnight, and technically, lawyers (or senators) make their own laws, and they seem to be taking their time.
2. The Curriculum
Web design and trends evolve through shorter shelf-lives due to tons of competition online but when it comes to universities, you may find that they don’t even “offer you what you want to learn about, just a combination of a few computer-related (on the surface) topics,” writes Thoriq. “When you DIY on your own education, you get to pick the niche and specialisations you see a future in,” he adds. Nancy writes, “the Internet provides tons of information an any topic you need, so you can learn everything from home.” Basically, you learn on your own time and your own dime.
3. So You’re Saying I Can Skip University?
Well, not quite. For starters, you would miss out on a lot of things. Not all universities are created equal but they all mold you to multitask, build social skills, provide you with great networking circles for future opportunities, and basically churn out a more organized you. To add to that, Alvaris writes, “university is just a place to master your self-learning ability”. If you want to take the self-taught route, you need to know which direction you are aiming for, but the good thing about self-learning is “you can move at your own pace and study the things you really care to learn.”
Having a degree is no shortcut to success (in fact, there isn’t really a shortcut of any sort to success – diploma mills be damned) but it serves as a yardstick of your capabilities. Even Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates didn’t drop out from just any university, it was Harvard (how easy was it to get into Harvard?). And Steve Jobs never really fully dropped out of school (the fees were too much of a burden for his parents.) He still attended classes that interested him, a calligraphy course to be exact. If you love that beautiful font you see on your computer right now, that’s a result from Jobs’ love of beautiful typography.