For many, the answer to the question, “Should I get (at a minimum) a Bachelor’s degree in my field of interest?” is a no-brainer: “Yes.” In many fields, like medicine and engineering, a degree is essential because the foundation of those studies generally stays the same even over decades. But what about when you’re interested in a field that changes so quickly, that by the time you receive that degree, everything you learned is slightly if not entirely outdated?

Thus the conundrum for someone like moi, who earnestly wants to prove not only current, but potential skills in the field of web development and design, but does NOT have that “Minimum Requirement: Bachelor’s Degree.” This last week, I spent whole days researching schools and programs that could advance my career, as my current circumstances allow me the time to do so. Yet, advice I’ve read from experts in the field seem to be fairly unanimous: web development is too fast-paced an industry for a degree in that major to prove any value. If one really wants a degree, go for Computer Science or IT, or even Business. What truly matters, though, is an impressive portfolio and experience.

I’ll admit, I’m on the fence. While it’s a relief to hear it’s unnecessary for me to spend thousands of dollars (and countless hours on unrelated subjects) on advancing my formal education, I can’t seem to rid myself of the nagging fear that not having that degree will result in missed opportunities. While many smaller companies seem to understand better the value of proven skill sets through portfolios, bigger companies seem unauthorized even to consider a candidate without the minimum level of education, even if that degree were in a completely unrelated field.

The best of both worlds would be to acquire a degree in Computer Science, IT, or Business, right? Possibly. I don’t deny that that option would open many more doors. But then, the question would be – would I really have the skillset to do what I truly want, web development and design? While attending school, I’d need to continue – on the side – learning coding and keep up with the ever-changing landscape of web development. If I ALSO had a job and/or was interning – that’s just a lot going on at once. I can only be stretched so much!

With a plethora of highly-reputable and free online courses to learn just about everything in this field, I’m leaning toward taking advantage of these before committing the next two years studying what won’t as directly improve my skill sets – and the next who-knows-how-many-years paying back student loans. If I find I don’t have the discipline to teach myself, I’ll quickly reconsider going back to school in the fall of 2017 (Fort Hays Bachelor of Science or Arts in Information Networking and Telecommunications with a Concentration in Web and Mobile Application Development – I’m looking at you!).

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts!