Is University Really Worth It? - Part 1

Is University Really Worth It? - Part 1

As young teenagers, we’re given the world before we’re even ready for it. As soon as we step out of the doors of high school, we’re expected to understand taxes, how to save money, pay bills and live as an adult. To most, this is a scary prospect! But somehow, even though we’re pushed into the deep end, we still make it out the other side - even though we might have a bunch of crippling debt!

Welcome to a three part series that provides a look into how some of the team at Kuvio transitioned from school, to university, and then to their job at Kuvio. We’ll look at people who felt university was unnecessary and at others who definitely it needed to help grow them as a person.

In most countries, there is a mentality that university is the definite next step after high school. We’re made to think that if we don’t go to university, we’ll never experience success because we don’t have the qualifications behind us.

Margaret, one of our developers, said that she never considered not going to university or college, as it was expected that everyone went.

“I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career, but I started out at university as a biology major.”

Once she graduated, she took an administrative position at a new coding bootcamp that she had volunteered at previously. This position made her realise her potential as a developer as she enjoyed coding so much. Kuvio is her first job as a developer after graduating from the bootcamp.

When it comes to Margaret’s opinion on university as a whole, she feels that it doesn’t really prepare you for a job at all. But she was still glad she went because it helped her transition to adulthood and taught her how to juggle responsibilities and develop a work ethic. To Margaret, the other option of self-teaching would be great, but she believes you’d need a lot of willpower to not give up!

Kieran, our Director of Design, however, feels that even though university is beneficial, there is a lot of information that you learn and pay for that can be unnecessary.

Kieran started out by gaining a National Diploma in graphic design, but was recommended to continue on to university to obtain his Bachelor's degree in graphic design.

“I was hesitant at first, but after being told I won’t be able to ever get a job in design without one, I decided to apply for university and was swiftly accepted.”

After applying for design jobs, he quickly came to the conclusion that nobody was asking if he had a Bachelor’s degree. Which got him thinking if university was really necessary?

One of the problems Kieran encountered at university was that since they have to cater to all students in the course, it spreads the course wide and thin, which meant whatever they taught lacked any real depth. This meant that when applying for jobs, every design agency was looking for someone specialised in say “web design”, “brand design” or “print design”.

“I knew a little of all of these, and got myself an interview, but it was not enough to get the job. My constant feedback was ‘Get an apprenticeship so you can focus on one area of design’...

I was promised university would get me (and my entire class) ‘hire ready.’ Either they lied to me, or misguided me. Either way, I felt that for me, university could have been more efficient.”

Before coming to Kuvio, Kieran was a freelancer and stumbled across a post on Reddit about us. He contacted us and over some conversations, stepped up and over time became our Director of Design.

If Kieran could go back, he feels that as long as he had the passion and discipline to commit to six hours every single weekday for three years, he could have been self-taught and would have been a better designer by that time.

When he started meeting with designers and creative directors in his area, he realised that all of them said (in various ways) they didn’t care about a degree. As long as his portfolio was good, they couldn’t care less.

“As long as I had taught myself and had done good work, the Bachelor’s that cost me three years and £30,000, was pretty much worthless.”

Kieran’s advice for other people considering university for jobs and professions that do not require a diploma, is that:

“If you have the drive, discipline and focus to work your butt off for three to five years, you may do better without university. You can focus on what you are interested in, work towards your own individual goal and probably get there a whole lot faster and not to mention save yourself a heap of money…

If you are thinking about university, make sure you know yourself first. Because it isn’t necessarily the only answer.”

However, Kieran also believes that even though self-teaching would have been more efficient for him, he knows that university was the right choice, due to his lack of discipline during his early twenties.

How did you find your transition from high school to adulthood? Did you want to study? Did you end up going to university? Or did you self-teach and land yourself your dream job? Discuss with us on our socials @kuviocreative and come back next week to see the next Kuvio team members discussing their study story.