Landing a job in such a creative career field as graphic design may seem like a dream come true to many of us. Not only is it interesting work to do, but it also gives plenty of space for creativity and personal growth. And, what is more, such positions can also offer a pretty high salary. So, there is a whole spectrum of benefits.

But how can one start a career in this field? The most obvious way to enter the job market is to acquire a college degree or take a relevant course. This will give you the necessary education for becoming a good applicant in the eyes of any recruiter.

But what if we tell you that you can make recruiters want to employ you even without any courses or a degree?

To land a job, all you need is a good set of skills and a great resume that highlights them. On Skillhub you can find a complete list of skills along with lots of handy resume writing tips that will help you craft a job-winning resume that will engage recruiters and help you land an interview.

And, in this article, we are going to tell you about the 14 most sought-after skills for this profession that you can acquire and develop without taking any courses!

Creative Thinking

Creativity is the number one skill individuals need in order to succeed in the creation of art in any of its forms. Thus, one of the first requirements you will find in descriptions for graphic design occupations is creativity.

There is a belief that creativity is something that comes naturally. It’s true, but only to a certain extent. There are plenty of simple exercises that can help you boost your creativity levels every day. To do them, you don’t need to go to college or even leave the comfort of your own home.


In the 21st century, graphic designers have to be very tech-savvy and have a good command of various tools in order to stay competitive.

To secure a place in the graphic design field for yourself, you want to show employers that you are comfortable with popular design-related software like:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Flash
  • Quark

Don’t you need to take courses to master these tools? You might go this path. But, you don’t necessarily need to study somewhere to learn them because there are so many guides, tutorials, and other handy materials available on the web for free. That is, you can engage in self-learning and develop this ability without hassle.

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Design, Actually

Clearly, the most important hard skill you need to have to perform the duties in this role is graphic design itself. To master it, one needs to study a large amount of data and topics, which span color theory, composition, sketching, illustration, and much more.

Isn’t that something that courses should teach you? That’s right. Typically, future designers invest time in studying specifically to grasp all these basics, but it doesn’t mean that there is no alternative way.

Today, thanks to the internet, you can access a huge amount of helpful information and materials that will help you acquire this ability on your own. To begin with, you can grab a few good books and read them from cover to cover on your own. Here are a few options to give you a starting point:

  1. The Non-Designer’s Design Book, by Robin Williams.
  2. Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide to Designers, Writers, Editors & Students, by Ellen Lupton.
  3. Interaction of Color, by Josef Albers and Nicholas Fox Weber.
  4. How to Use Graphic Design to Sell Things, Explain Things, Make Things Look Better, Make People Laugh, Make People Cry and (Every Once in a While) Change the World, by Michael Bierut.

Of course, you shouldn’t only read. Don’t forget to practice and create some mockups. That is actually the way you can both learn how software works and apply the theory.

More Skills

The top three abilities we’ve already discussed can be easily acquired through self-learning and patience, but there is much more!

In professional graphic designers, employers are also looking for the following skills:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Accuracy
  • Attention to detail
  • Assertiveness
  • Negotiation
  • Communication
  • Networking
  • Planning
  • Time management
  • Teamwork
  • Independence

As you can guess, these all can be developed on your own as well.

The main reason you don’t need to take courses to acquire the skills from this list is that they are developed with experience. No one but you can actually teach you to be attentive to detail or work in a team. So, all these skills can be only acquired through practice and self-development.

The Bottom Line

If graphic design looks like a dream job to you, probably the biggest concern you will face on your path is how to ensure that your application matches the demands of potential employers. Going to college for a relevant degree might be the most obvious answer. However, that’s not the only possible solution.

Now, after reading this article, you know that you can apply for such jobs and get hired even having only a high school diploma and no additional training. 

Talent isn’t measured in degrees and certificates. And so isn’t the passion for doing what you love. Thus, in order to succeed, you don’t necessarily need to take courses. All you need is a bit of time, passion, and persistence to grow your skills and develop professionally!


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