Poll Results: Does Your Degree Relate To Your Job?

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Chris Coyier on (Updated on )

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There is a bit of an idea in our little web design world that “nobody who works on the web went to school for it.” At least, I get that feeling. Especially from little stories like these:

I have a BS in Botany, but after designing my first website on the university servers, I was hooked. Did a couple of sites for friends while working in a plant lab, and now I’m a full time web programmer and designer.

So, we put it to the test. The results show that isn’t true. 37% of people reported that their degree is directly related to their current job. Now I guess they could be librarians with librarian degrees, but since they are reading this site lets assume the vast majority are web workers. Beyond that, and additional 23% say their degree is tangentially related to their current job.

I’d put myself with the 23%. I have a Bachelor of Arts and a I focused on graphic design and ceramics and of course took a bunch of art classes. We never once touched HTML or CSS, but I’d say I learned things there that are still important to me now: fundamental design concepts.

This means we have 60% of folks who’s degree is at least somewhat related to their job versus 40% of folks who’s degree does not. So not only is it not “nobody” who has a related degree, it’s actually “most.”

No 40% 40%
Yes, directly 37% 60%
Yes, only tangentially 23%

So there you have it. Plenty of folks getting their web learn on in school. Now whether or not it was “worth it” or how much people actually had to learn on their own is another story! I’ll leave you with a few more choice quotes from the opening of the poll:

Joe: One of the problems I see with technology improvements is that the market has become more saturated with designers and photographers who have a grasp of the technology but lack that design theory.

Joe Lifrieri: By the time I was about to graduate, I barely remembered what the hell I majored in. They called me up to receive my empty little diploma holder and said, “Joseph Lifrieri, Bachelor of Arts, English”. The exact words ringing through my head were, “Oh. Shit. English.”

Matt: PGA Golf Pro turned Website Designer. Gotta love that change.