Much better in color! I feel a difficult color shot is worth the extra effort. Sometimes B&W is often used as a way to avoid difficult color processing.
If you are motivated, curious, and talented, it probably makes more sense to invest in gear and time, rather than pay people to teach you things you can possibly learn on your own. Plus, gear is expensive on its own. And a few a la carte classes and workshops can go a long way to filling gaps in your experience. If you're in a big city, you can apply to crew for a photographer to learn lighting techniques.