I have been watching youtube videos and all sort of guides and books. I have been watching pour-over method and wonder, does the equipment i have to buy to practice at home should be expensive? Im still in my 2nd year of college. What should i do to learn skills necessary to qualify to be a barista?
I am unsure if you are comjng from the perspective of someone who wants to become a barista or someone who is interested in making quality coffee at home.
In my opinion learning how to brew quality espresso, and the different factors that effect a quality espresso and espresso drinks is most challenging and also requires the most knowledge (how to prepare the grinds, the whole milk steaming/foaming process etc.) it also requires expensive equipment unfortunately. I think these skills would be good if you are looking for a barista job though.
For brewing at home i think you should master the french press which is a very inexpensive method to brew coffee (french press being like $20 for a good one) but is also my favorite coffee brewing method. It is also very simple to brew, you just have to make sure you get the correct ratio (using a scale is best) of water to coffee and grind the beans well (a burr grinder is best but can be kinda expensive. This would be a cost of any brewing method should you decide to grind your own beans).
Actually, all someone requires to make a pour over is; hot water, coffee grounds, a napkin and a glass. No special equipment is required. You may want to google cowboy coffee to see the basics of preparing coffee without special equipment.
Whenever you feel you require special equipment, you can invest in that equipment.
Coffee brewing is the cheapest process all over the world if you are not into one specific kind. You can even remove the filter (napkin) if you prefer Turkish brewing method.
To qualify being a barista you should work in a coffee shop. Because it's basically a job description. To become a home barista all one is to do is making coffee at home. Of course you can be a shitty home barista if you make shitty coffee at home. In order to become a good one, you should probably learn a few different brewing methods, of which Espresso is definitely not one. Not because it is not a good drink, but because with home equipment you can never quite reach the quality you can achieve with professional equipment. To buy quality professional grade home equipment you'll have to reach very deep into your pockets and spend probably something around 10k. It thus really doesn't make much sense to invest in espresso equipment at home in my opinion.
A good alternative is a stove top coffee maker, the most known brand is Bialetti and they make in my opinion the best products. It gives you a coffee in between filtered methods and espresso. It's quite thick in texture and has a lot of body. It's an easy preparation method and the initial investment is very low.
The way to go in my opinion though, as you have pointed out as well, is making pour-overs at home. You could get a Hario V60 plus the filters, which would set you back around 20 bucks. With that you can make filter coffee as good as any coffee shop, plus you can learn a lot about the main parameters that affect extraction and the taste of your coffee. The coffee stack exchange has a lot of information on that to get you started. Also most bigger specialty coffee shops have brewing guides on their websites and youtube. Just check them out and start experimenting. You will quickly get a feel for what you like and how to get there.