Do You Need A College Degree to Blog?

When people ask what I do (in the offline world) and I say “Blog” the person often looks confused, but once in a while someone will say, “Did you go to school for that?”  Sometimes other writers will ask this same question on forums. The answer is no. I sure didn’t go to college for blogging.

Yeah, it’d be cool if there was a blogging major, but so far as I know, there’s not. As noted previously, I may not have started blogging had I not gone to college, but in general, blogging, and most writing in general, is free from the whole college degree issue.

I’ve written everything; magazine articles, web copy, proposals, business brochures, company handbooks, resumes, blogs, and more, and not once has a client asked, “Hey, do you have a degree?”

What do you need to blog?:

Of course you’ll need to like writing, or you’ll be miserable, but that’s sort of a given. Besides the basics that you need at any job – i.e. stuff like ethics, people skills, and time management skills, I think it all boils down to two main qualities; experience and personality. By experience, I mean experience in your topic. If your experience comes from college, fine. But your experience also may come from life, an employment experience, or a challenge you faced at some point. Personality is not a total requirement, but you’ll be a better blogger if you have a unique outlook on your topic.

You may disagree, but why I read a blog, is almost always for one of the above reasons – the blogger is smart about their topic, or has a unique personality, or both. I rarely keep reading blogs by blogger that don’t meet both.

In my case, I think that college did help me a bit in terms of being a better blogger. For example, I write a pregnancy blog, and the fact that I went to school for nursing helps. I know all that fancy science gibberish, and can rattle off meds and procedures. In other ways college was a total waste of time; considering what I do now. My minor was in technical professional writing, plus I have a degree in math, but I don’t feel that either have helped my blogging career. Trust me, no client will ever ask you jack about math. I keep waiting…

Life, volunteer, and job experiences have landed me far more blogging gigs than my college experience probably ever will.

What about you? What’s landed you more blogging work – college or life? Or maybe you think bloggers should have some sort of writing degree – if so let me know in the comments.

Comments

  1. My degree is in comparative literature (or, as I like to call it, “advanced waitressing”). Now, I write about food allergies and restricted diets — a niche I got into because I was diagnosed with a lifelong food intolerance not long before I graduated college. I wrote a lot in college and had some professors who were rigorous about their expectations for students, especially since most of my classes were mixed undergraduate/graduate. That, and getting used to having a heavy writing load on a regular basis (I had editorial and writing jobs on the side through school too), has certainly helped me. But as far as training in my niche, I didn’t get a whole lot of that in school (although I’m thinking of getting a related graduate degree).

  2. I think there are pros and cons to both. Personally, I do not have a degree, but I have always wished that I had managed to do it. It has not (thankfully!) inhibited my writing career.

    When I hire others though, I do like to see the degree. To my mind, it shows the blogger’s specialty, and I know that they have more than a passing background in their chosen topic. I am open to both degreed and non-degreed writers, but I am always more impressed with the ones who had the persistence to get their degree.

    One caveat – English majors in particular seem to have a difficult time writing for the web at first. They have spent so long dotting every I and crossing every T that all their work reads like they were turning it in to their professor.

    While you do want clean copy, you also need that personality. A stiff article filled with 100 different six syllable words does not translate well for the average reader.

  3. My major in college was Operations Management (business), and I was a corporate buyer for about 10 years, but I don’t know if I could stand blogging about business every day. I’ve thought about it but, I’m afraid I’d bore myself and my readers within a week, ZZZZzzz. I like blogging about the fun stuff in life:)

  4. @Victoria You’re funny. Having an issue, like a food allergy, or other health problem, or a family member with one, seems to be an in to blogging for a lot of people I know. I agree about getting used to a heavy writing load, I guess college did help me with that.

    @Connie I almost never assume a degree means someone knows their niche well. I’ve known way too many flaky college students. It’s not that hard to get a degree, even if you have no clue. Plus I’ve known so many people who are so smart about a topic, simply because they have a ton of real life experience. I agree about the English majors – it’s tough for some I’ve read to transfer to web (a whole different game in writing).

    @Linette wow, OM doesn’t seem like you at all. You’re such an earthy, personal, fun blogger. Not that business can’t be fun; but it’s so opposite of how I think of you. Interesting surprise.

  5. Hmm. I was an English major and had no problems writing web copy. I think having been in the advertising world helped me to pervert my “English major writing skills” enough so that I had no problems adjusting to blogging too.

    One thing that bugs me that I do think English professors are to blame for is that some bloggers still double space after periods. I got over that long ago since I worked at a newspaper after school during high school.

    One day the English professors will give up that whole double space issue, and publishers, proofreaders and blog readers everywhere will celebrate!

    My other major was psychology, so with two vague degrees it’s no wonder I ended up blogging. I also think it would be sad if colleges offered blogging degrees. Blogging has that spirit of self-adventure that shouldn’t be taken away by theories and textbooks.

  6. @Peggy, we all know how clever you are though, of course you have no blogging issues. The advertising issue likely helped you a bunch. I hate that period issue too, except my English professors didn’t push that; maybe because I was science and tech writing, not lit writing.

    Also, are you saying we won’t be starting a blog college? Just kidding. They do have web writing courses in college, so it’s a little blogging. I don’t think I knew about the psych major though; I hope you’re not always analyzing rant driven me ;)

  7. Jennifer, you’re right it so wasn’t me! I did enjoy working with other people, but I hated the stress, drama, and pressure every day. That’s why I’m not there any more:)

    It took me a while to stop double spacing after periods too. I had a very tough editor at one of the companies I wrote for. I got very good at going back and checking to make sure I didn’t leave any double spaces in my writing.

  8. Ah, you said I’m clever…

    I started out as an English major and then added a social work major my junior year. I had some bad experiences with the field portion of that and changed it to psychology since the classes overlapped anyway. But you can’t make money with psy without an advanced degree and I could never commit to it enough for that.

    I don’t analyze you too much : )

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