First of all, I’ve encountered too many people who have “learned” the theory behind something, but fail to perform even the basics of what they learned in practice.
Hell, I’m one of those people!
I learned a lot in film class and I’ve watched a lot of tutorials on how to make YouTube videos, but I suck at both.
Meanwhile, people with no formal “film” education whatsoever are making masterpieces just because they picked up a camera at home when they were 15 and never put it down.
So, like, there you go!

But even more prevelant is the point that if you learn by doing, you’ll end up with a portfolio, and that shit might actually help you get hired.

The whole world right now (#capitalism) is set up in a way where you need to:

  1. Have experience with the job before you get hired
  2. Have a way to prove your experience

And the trouble here, now, is that while a degree was more than enough to handle Item 2 in the past, it doesn’t anymore.
All the job listings I see require both a degree and experience, and if it comes down to an either-or – everyone will take the experience over the degree1.

And guess what? Getting that “experience” usually requires unpaid labor. Unpaid labor is fucking trash.
But, if you’re going to be doing unpaid labor anyway, why not combine building a portfolio with learning? Like, why pay for a degree and do unpaid labor, if you could put that unpaid labor into making the thing, and then walk away with both having learned how to do a thing and proof that you know how to do the thing and proof that you’ve actually done the thing and, if you get hired, will be ready to do the thing at least at the same level as the thing in your portfolio if not better, because now you’ll (probably) be working with a team of equally qualified people and have access to slightly better resources inside your corporate job?

And if after learning the thing you decide not to go the coporate route?
Once again, your portfolio will speak for itself and help you get your first freelance gig.
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that nobody on fiver or gives a flying fuck whether your degree came from some night school or Harvard.
Hell, nobody gives a shit if you have a degree at all!
But put a few good examples of your past work in your profile and you’ll be ready to bid on tasks and start earning income with the new skills you developed.

I still think that the best-best-bestest way is to learn while you’re on the job.
If you find a way to make money while also having your job pay (or give you paid time to) learn a new skill — go for it!
This also includes applyinng for jobs you feel you might be underqualified for.
Because NEWS FLASH – if you fit all the requirements in a job description, it means you’re overqualified for the job.

  1. With some notable exceptions, obviously (doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects) ↩︎