Can You Be A UX Designer Without A Degree?

CareerFoundry Marketing Content Editor Jaye Hannah

It’s a common misconception that technology-related qualifications—or at least a solid background in tech—are prerequisites for landing a job in the field. You might even be thinking that employers won’t give the time of day to a candidate without a relevant college degree.

The truth is, you don’t need a college degree to break into the world of tech. Bootcamps have risen to glory as a cost-effective alternative to get the real-world skills and training you need for a career in tech.

In a fraction of the time (and for a fraction of the price) of a college degree, motivated tech-hopefuls are taught the skills necessary to lead successful careers in UX design, UI design, analytics, web development, and more.

Don’t have a degree, and wondering how to get your foot in the door of tech? We’re here to shed some light. In this blog post, we’ll take you through the five main reasons why a bootcamp course can fast track your career.

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  1. Bootcamps provide you with real-world experience
  2. Bootcamps take less time than traditional degrees
  3. You’ll get a high return on your investment
  4. Bootcamps can quickly adapt to changes in the industry
  5. Bootcamps can offer you a career-focused education
  6. Final thoughts

Let’s jump straight in!

1. Bootcamps provide you with real-world experience

When it comes to choosing a candidate, employers look for a healthy balance of hard skills, which usually refers to technical knowledge and ability, and soft skills—such as creativity, adaptability, and teamwork. While the baseline level of technical skills are assessed during the screening phase, employers are also paying close attention to the soft skills that come with real-world experience.

Rather than focusing solely on theory, bootcamps are designed to give you a practical, well-rounded education that will see you excel in the current job market. If you opt for a more hands-on bootcamp, you’ll get stuck in with problem-solving and be given exercises to accompany the reading materials. Above all, you’ll get to immediately apply what you’ve learned to relevant, real-world projects that will form the foundation of your professional portfolio.

You’ll even work with a mentor and career specialist on honing those all-important soft skills that will quickly land you a fulfilling job in the field. You can learn more about the value of having a mentor (and how to make the most out of yours) in this article.

2. Bootcamps take less time than traditional degrees

Whether it’s parenting responsibilities, a complicated living situation, or the need to work full-time in order to pay for your tuition feesdevoting your life to your studies for four years simply isn’t a realistic option for everyone. Enter: bootcamps.

Boasting a lean, hands-on curriculum and a fast-paced learning environment, bootcamps can take between a few months and up to a year to complete.

The cherry on top? Bootcamps are set up to be flexible, and in many cases, mostly autonomous. Many bootcamps are even self-paced, making them an ideal fit for those who aren’t able to put their lives on hold for long-term commitments.

Taking a certified UX design course or bootcamp is just one of designer Maureen’s seven steps to become a professional UXer, as she explains in this video guide:

3. You’ll get a high return on your investment

The rising student debt has led many students to consider alternatives to traditional education. In many countries, bootcamps are significantly more affordable than a university degree, making it much more viable to finance your studies yourself. Without a hefty loan weighing you down, graduating debt-free is well within your grasp.

On top of this, a traditional degree has no guarantee of employment. While many university graduates face high unemployment rates and struggle for years to get themselves into a stable career path, most bootcamp graduates secure a job within three months of finishing the course. For that added security net, some bootcamp courses offer a job guarantee, meaning you’ll get a full or partial tuition refund if you haven’t found a job within a set amount of time after you graduate.

As bootcamp courses tend to be a lot more flexible, you’ll also have the option of sustaining a full-time job while studyingmeaning you can skip the penniless student ordeal that often comes as a cheery add-on to the student experience. Find out more about juggling an online bootcamp with a full-time job in this illuminating blog post.

4. Bootcamps can quickly adapt to changes in the industry

It’s no secret that the tech industry is quickly and consistently evolving. New software is continuously introduced, existing software is regularly updated, and emerging niche skills are always in high demand. Where a university cannot keep up with tech’s shape-shifting landscape, bootcamps are specifically designed to be adaptable.

Quality bootcamps offer rigorous, well-rounded syllabuses that have a strong focus on the current real-world skills that you’ll need as a UX designer in today’s job market—not yesterday’s. Bootcamps regularly update their course content to reflect current industry trends, meaning you can walk into a job with the confidence that you’re up to speed with the latest methods, tools, trends, and software.

5. Bootcamps can offer you a career-focused education

Created initially for career-changers, bootcamps operate with the specific goal of taking individuals from beginners to job-ready in a short amount of time. More rigorous bootcamps offer an optional job preparation course, where students work closely with career specialists to design their online presence, create an award-winning CV, and refine their interview skills. The career specialists are also the first port of call when it comes to seeking out new roles.

Networking is ubiquitously considered to be the key to career success. From connecting with your fellow students to your mentors, and even with previous alumni—expanding your network over the course of your studies will be infinitely valuable when it comes to your job search.

Some bootcamp courses hold regular networking events, offering opportunities to broaden your horizons and seek out job opportunities. Even if you start with joining your bootcamp’s Facebook community or Slack channelyou’ll graduate from your bootcamp with a strong network of professionals who can personally vouch for your talent.

Many bootcamps have a strong focus on ensuring you graduate with a robust portfolio that you can show to future employers and clients.  Your portfolio is a personal website that hosts a selection of your work and introduces you as a designer or web developer. You can learn more about how to create a killer UX design portfolio in this informative blog post.

6. Final thoughts

So there we have it: five ways a bootcamp can fast track your UX design career. If you’re experiencing a bout of impostor syndrome, or you’re grappling with the notion that you can’t be successful in tech without a university degree, bootcamps are a low-cost and low-risk solution—with a high return on investment.

Not only could the prospect of graduating sooner and with less debt than your university-educated peers give you a competitive edge in the job market, you’ll also graduate feeling motivated, empowered, and ready to take on your first role!

Before you dive right in, it’s important to note that not all bootcamps are created equal, and many different types of bootcamps cater to a diverse range of needs, schedules, and budgets. It’s essential to take the time to research in-depth which bootcamp course is right for you.

Want more information about the reality of studying with bootcamps? This blog post takes you through the expectations vs. reality of studying with an online UX bootcamp. And if you’re considering a UX design internship, check out this guide: UX Internship vs. UX Bootcamp: Which is better?

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