I am taking a class in CS3 and really, really love it. I have some questions about the job market. I understand there is fairly tight competition. Let's assume I build up a decent portfolio, does it hurt that I won't have a bachelor's in art? I went to college and grad school in an unrelated field but could continue with my courses and get a certificate in design. It's early so I could specialize in print or web design. Is it worth getting a certificate? In other words, without a degree, doesn't the portfolio mean nearly everything? Or does the certificate imply at least a degree of technical competence to match a strong portfolio? (assuming that I'd have a strong one ) Lastly if getting a certificate in design, is it worth paying extra to get grades or just get credit? I'm willing to do lots of pro bono work to build up my portfolio. Let's say I also design some fake posters and fliers, does it matter that the events aren't real to someone looking at them? What all my questions boil down to, is this: it seems like 10-15 years ago, someone who wasn't necessarily formally trained in design but who was really good with computers could teach themselves the programs and break in to the business. Now, with undergraduate programs, it might not be so easy for us old people to break in. (I'm 34) Is that an accurate outlook? That's a lot of questions. Thanks for any responses!