Career change with no experience


New Member
Hi all,

I would like to get into graphic design and was wondering where is the best place to start for someone who has no real experience?

I have been working as an assistant accountant so this would be a massive career change! I already have a degree in psychology so I don't really want to do another degree if I can help it! I'm thinking online courses might be best to start with but which ones are worth it? Also I'm aware I need to study design and learn the software, so would it be a good idea to do both a course in design and also the different software packages?

If I do this and build a portfolio would I have any chance of getting an entry level job? Or would the fact that I would be competing against graduates go too much against me? I have an a level in art and did a photography qualification a long time ago, that's the only relevant experience I have so far. Was also thinking maybe I could do a bit of voluntary work once I've learnt the basics? Any advice? Thanks :D


Staff member
I'm no expert here but I studied at college not Uni and to be honest, most of my skills I have I have taught myself.
Most of my education was in traditional techniques as it was the time when Mac's were coming along and our tutors thought they were a fad. :O
All of my Mac and software skills are self taught.

I think a lot depends on how focused and determined you are to get into Design.

There are on-line courses out there and I think the most well known is Shillington but it's not cheap at over £7,000 and I'm not sure how good it is.
I have heard on forums like this one that students often feel unsupported and a bit let down by on-line courses but again, I'm not sure as I haven't had experience.

My son would like to get into design and my advice to him would be to go and do a college course to learn the basics of design and then use his own time to back this up with learning from the web to focus on the areas that he likes. is great for learning all the software and first month is free but there are LOADS of free resources out there on YouTube and sites offering free tutorials.
That's where I go when I need to learn something new.
I find that following video tutorials is a great way to learn as you can stop/start/rewind them until you've got it unlike a tutor teaching twenty students.

There is just SO MUCH out there to learn from for free and at your finger tips and I honestly don't think a degree means what it did fifteen years ago.

Apart from first off I don't think I've ever been judged on my qualifications but more on my folio and what I can do.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that anyone with a PC and some dodgy copies of Adobe can be a Designer.
If you're going to self learn then you'll have to possess a lot of self discipline, determination and a love for what you're doing.


Staff member
I second - it's a great resource. And totally worth paying for learning if you are self-learning.

I've said before about "youtube" videos and "other" videos online - they just don't hold water, you don't know who the host is. And a lot of them actually teach extremely poor practice, and their knowledge of the print industry can appear to be zilch.

Yes, there's plenty of free tutorials (or stolen ones on YouTube etc) - but when it comes to real life application and learning how your designs will be actually physically printed, as it's a completely mechanical process and not everything visualised on screen can be printed.

Take time to learn printing processes - learn how to setup artwork correctly. It's a huge time and money saving.

When you're good at designing then all the tutorials in the wolrd will only teach you how to use the software - where things are located and how to use that tool.

In the meantime - you could approach printing/design places in your area and ask for any weekend work, or evening work to sit in as an intern or even part-time.

Stationery Direct

Staff member
Leaving accountancy for graphic design? None of the expensive large properties in my home town (except mine :LOL:) are owned by graphic designers, they are all owned by accountants!! Money isn't everything though I suppose.


Active Member
I’d become an accountant to earn some money and do learn design as a hobby. Once you have built up your skills you can start charging clients. Then when you are confident you can live off your design income give up being an accountant.

I’m not a designer, I’m more into coding and UI/UX but like the others have said, I’m self taught. I learnt by doing things not by watching a video or doing a course.

Are you artistic? Do you like sketching or draughting?