Become a Designer Without a Degree

Always dreamed of starting a creative career but just haven’t taken that first step? Chances are, there is something holding you back.

Many aspiring creatives can’t afford to go to traditional art school or simply don’t have the time. Others struggle with feelings of self-doubt, thinking they started too late or the market is too competitive. However, now more than ever, people are proving all of these roadblocks are just myths by pursuing their creative passions in unconventional ways.

Dylan Mierzwinski Skillshare Teacher

We caught up with Designer and top Skillshare teacher, Dylan Mierzwinski, whose creative career didn’t begin in the classroom.

Dylan started a traditional education path at a University, but after bouncing from major to major, she realized that college wasn’t right for her. Her love for art had always been a constant in her life, so she opted to enter a one-year certificate program that focused on the basics of web design, graphic design, and video production. The certificate program redefined how Dylan viewed education, inspiring her to pursue her creative interests independent of school.


“If I learned anything there, it was simply that I could learn something new, and enjoyed it! After that year I spent countless hours on Skillshare, YouTube, and in art books and the Adobe programs trying to learn and understand more.”

As she sharpened her skills through online classes and continual practice, she went on to teach what she knew in person and then eventually became a published Skillshare teacher. Despite feelings of self-doubt, Dylan didn’t allow her lack of formal education hinder her pursuit of design and illustration.

I used to feel really ashamed that I never finished my degree; that it was a dark secret that would keep me from being a real designer.

“I know what I’ve taught on Skillshare is valuable, and that what I’ve learned on Skillshare is valuable, so who cares where I learned it or in what order? The education is what counts, not the schooling.”

Teaching (and learning) on Skillshare has given Dylan the ability to practice what she calls the cycle of art: learn, do, share. By sharing her self-taught skills, she hopes to empower students to take risks and try new things. Income earned through Skillshare has also allowed her to focus on projects that she’s most passionate about.

“Financially Skillshare has made it possible for me to move towards my real dream life as an artist...I mean...did you read that? I get to make my dreams a reality. (Cue cheesy 80’s family sitcom music). I no longer have a 9-to-5 traditional design job that drains my creative energy with no payoff.”

Dylan’s tips for launching a creative career or side hustle? “Just start; My tried and true motto that gets me going on the regular. Just start somewhere, and follow the path it leads you down. Maybe you’ll start with a specific tool in a program, or maybe with color theory, or a designer whose work you like. It’s all connected, so just get going. And don’t use papyrus or comic sans if you can help it.”