While some formal education is an important aspect of preparing for future careers, it’s not the path for everyone.

Many people working in the tech industry and creating/producing/making with tech tools are self-taught, relying on books, online resources, YouTube tutorial, free software, coding forums, and hands-on experience.

Shaquille Veldboom, a young black man who grew up in Amsterdam Southeast, a low-income, predominantly black community, was the recent subject of a PreparationTech interview. At the age of 9, he taught himself 3D design using SketchUp (free software) and YouTube tutorials.

He talked about the influence of his father and grandfather who were mechanics as well as dropping out of college three times because it didn’t fit with how he learned or his creative process.

Despite not having a college or university degree, Shaquille has become an in-demand 3D designer who works on on projects related to industrial design, game design, animation and music.

Watch more PreparationTech interviews.