I’m changing careers from engineering to interior design in the UK. Should I pursue a bachelor’s degree or start with a course and internships, considering I don’t have a portfolio yet?
This question was asked by Bhumika K. S to seek advice on transitioning from engineering to interior design in the UK. Bhumika is looking for guidance on whether to pursue a bachelor's degree or opt for a course and internships, considering the absence of a portfolio.
Firstly, you could pursue a bachelor’s degree in interior design. This typically requires 2 to 3 A levels or equivalent qualifications. Universities such as the University of the Arts London and De Montfort University offer comprehensive programs that cover the basics of color theory, lighting, patterns, materials, design, and furniture. These programs also often include practical experience through internships or apprenticeships, which can be invaluable for gaining on-the-job skills.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a shorter route, you could consider a foundation degree, higher national diploma, or a Level 3 Diploma. These qualifications usually require 1 or 2 A levels or equivalent. You could also consider an NDA Professional Diploma or an NVQ in a related subject. Another option is to complete an art foundation year at a college or university.
As for internships, it’s possible to begin one without a degree in interior design. You can acquire necessary skills like AutoCAD from online courses or YouTube videos. Interns typically assist in designing interiors, completing site visits and surveys, scheduling deliveries, and sourcing materials. They may also create outlines and models using programs like Photoshop and InDesign, prepare CAD drawings, and liaise between designers, architects, and clients.
Regarding your portfolio, while it’s an important tool for showcasing your work to potential employers, it’s not always mandatory. Many designers have managed to secure clients without a portfolio. However, building a portfolio as you gain experience and complete projects can be beneficial. It can include photographs of finished projects, design concepts, mood boards, renderings, layouts, and other documents that demonstrate your design process and final product.