It used to be that your resume meant everything. Where you went to school, the grades you got, the sorority or fraternity you pledged, your years of experience in the industry. While that’s still true for certain industries, it’s not for mine.
In the design industry, even high-school dropouts (like me) can still get hired and be successful as a designer. It’s not about your resume. It’s entirely about your portfolio.
You might have 10 years of experience as a designer but with a poor portfolio that doesn’t reflect it. Or you might have 2 years of experience with a terrific portfolio that gets you hired at a top company right away.
In this way, you can cheat the system. Create a compelling portfolio with excellent case studies and nobody will ever know, or care, whether you have a design degree. You’ll be ten steps ahead of the person with a master's in graphic design and five years of experience – because they either haven’t updated their portfolio, or they have and it’s not good.
Thanks to the internet, you can be working in your parents’ basement in your underwear running an “internationally recognized design studio” of one. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what age you are, where you’re located or how many jobs are on your LinkedIn page. It’s entirely about the work.
Your portfolio is the biggest investment you can make in your career. Doing your best work makes your portfolio better. Making your portfolio better leads to more great work. And the circle continues.