We live in an age where whenever you need to accomplish something or learn a skill, you can find countless videos and information on how to do it.

You don’t have to spend years learning to play guitar if you just want to learn how to play your favorite song.

You don’t need to earn a design degree to create a website.

You don’t need to spend years learning software engineering to write code that gets the job done.

It’s the age of the Google expert. And we’re devaluing real skill, as a result.

Design is art. It is science. It is math. It is strategy. Great designers are hard to come by. Great designers think long term. They explore the goal before they even start the design. They ask questions. They understand the audience. Only after understanding what they are trying to accomplish do they start the on-screen design work.

Unfortunately, as design programs become easier to use, you get people who don’t understand it at all who think they can do design. They underestimate the discipline and don’t understand what they don’t know.

This is true of everything people are learning with an abbreviated online video.

Those learning to play a song on the guitar have no ability to make a song their own. They can’t improve on it. They can’t improvise. And they don’t appreciate all of the work that went into what became the final song.

I’ve worked with many people who learned to code by watching YouTube videos or asked questions in code forums when they needed to accomplish something quick.

But what you get when you work with coders like this is a short-term hack that you will inevitably have to spend twice as much time deconstructing and rebuilding when you want to tie it to greater or more long-term initiatives.

While I value the curiosity and drive of those who want to learn how everything is done, give me a professional with experience within the discipline over someone who watched a couple videos and stayed at a Holiday Inn last night.

Short cuts are just that. And they devalue the years of work and experience gathered by true professionals and craftsmen.