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I took a low-key approach and attended a community college. I don’t regret my college experience one bit. I feel it was completely worth the investment of time and money. However, I felt that none of the classes I attended were completely worth it. I could have attended the first few sessions and carried on learning the rest myself after gaining some sort of foundation. What I felt was more worthwhile was my ability to network with peers with similar interests and to learn how to collaborate with others on projects and communicate effectively. Those are skills that employers frequently value more than talent.
The part I value most about my years in school were the opportunities I took. I was hired on as a tutor for the school which allowed me to help other students with assignments in classes that I was attending or had attended. It was a lot like the forums here on css-tricks where someone comes in with a problem, you help them out, and you learn something along the way.
During my second year, I was hired for an internship through my school in their marketing department. There I learned way more than what I had in any of my classes. It’s a lot easier to search high and low for a solution to a problem or learn new techniques when you have an employer expecting it of you. I learned everything I needed to know about responsive design during this internship before my coursework even introduced those concepts.
Overall, the opportunities were a good way to make some scratch while I lived away from home and I generated a great network of valuable references and peers. In conjunction with all that, my degree landed me a job as an in-house web designer within a successful corporation with some great people. Now I’m the first in the marketing department to telecommute based on being indispensable as an employee now that I’ve moved away in search of bigger opportunities.
Attending college is a lot like attending conferences. You pay to get access to people speaking about stuff you may know all or at least something about but in an environment with spectacular networking opportunities and the facilities to turn it into something truly worthwhile. Employers generally do care about what type of degree you have, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to get an interview anyway and show them why more credentials doesn’t make a better employee.