In today’s tech world, product design skills are in high demand—and not only for product designers.
Whether mastering the art of design thinking to come up with new ideas or learning how to be more customer-centric in your day-to-day work, entrepreneurs, marketers, and business leaders all benefit.
Whatever your reasons for learning product design, online courses are a great way to do so. Explore free product design courses for an introduction, or consider a paid program for more comprehensive training.
We’ve compiled the best of both in this guide—check them out:
- Free product design courses
- Paid product design courses
- What’s the difference between a free and paid product design course?
- Key takeaways
- Product design courses: FAQ
Let’s dive right in with the free courses.
The best free product design courses
In this section, we’ll outline five of the best product design courses you can access for free.
Free courses are ideal for gaining an introduction to the field—and they can help you decide if you’d like to invest in further study.
1. CareerFoundry: Free Product Design Short Course
The CareerFoundry Product Design Short Course at a glance:
- Mode of study: Online, at your own pace
- Ideal for: Beginners who want to learn what product design is and what it’s like to work in the field
- Duration: About one week—the course comprises five daily tutorials and a final quiz
- Price: Free
If it’s an engaging, beginner-friendly introduction you’re after, look no further than CareerFoundry’s free product design short course.
Spanning five tutorials, the course covers key topics such as what product design is, what a product designer does, the most important product design tools (including the role of AI), and what it’s currently like to work in the industry.
The course contains a practical element, too. At the end of each tutorial, you’ll have the option to complete a short practical exercise—and a quiz to test your knowledge.
Check out CareerFoundry’s free product design short course.
2. User Experience Database: Product Design Course
The User Experience Database Product Design Course at a glance:
- Mode of study: Online, self-paced
- Ideal for: Beginners who want a theoretical introduction to product design
- Duration: Variable—we estimate that it would take between 1 and 2 months to read through all the resources in the course
- Price: Free
The Product Design Course by User Experience Database is best described as a curation of helpful resources rather than a structured course—but it’s a good introduction to the field nonetheless.
The content is divided into six blocks, starting with design basics before moving on to key steps in the product design process, such as research, ideation, designing, and prototyping.
Each block is broken down into subtopics, and each subtopic links to a useful third-party article. If you like reading and going down exploratory rabbit holes, this course is certainly worth bookmarking.
Check out UX Database’s free product design course.
3. Delft University of Technology: Product Design, The Delft Design Approach
Product Design: The Delft Design Approach at a glance:
- Mode of study: Online, at your own pace
- Ideal for: Anyone looking for a longer introductory course that covers both product and service design
- Duration: 7 weeks, 6-8 hours per week
- Price: Free (with a paid option available)
As free product design courses go, this is a pretty comprehensive offering.
As such, it’ll require more time and perseverance compared to other free courses—perhaps not the best option if you’re looking for something a bit more accessible and a little less demanding.
But, if you’ve got the time to spare, you can discover the so-called Delft approach to product design.
Offered by Delft University of Technology, this self-paced course comprises six steps. Each step introduces a crucial stage in the product design process, such as defining a design challenge, generating ideas, and testing with users.
Note that, if you opt for the free version (the Audit Track), you’ll have read-only access to the course. If you want to unlock graded assignments and your certificate of completion, you’ll need to upgrade to the Verified Track for $79.
Learn more about The Delft Design Approach.
4. University of Maryland (via Coursera): Creative Design, Prototyping, and Testing
The course at a glance:
- Mode of study: Online, flexibly paced
- Ideal for: Complete beginners who enjoy learning through both text and video content
- Duration: 11 hours
- Price: Free with a Coursera subscription (or with a 7-day free trial)
This product design course is provided by the University of Maryland via Coursera.
The course is part of the Product Design, Ideation, and Management Specialization (which you’ll automatically be enrolled in if you sign up for the course)—but you can also enjoy it as a standalone course.
The curriculum is divided into ten modules, with each module comprising a series of videos, reading materials, and a quiz.
You’ll start with an introduction to product design and development before exploring topics such as concept generation, product design and architecture, testing and troubleshooting, and project management.
Consider this a broad, high-level introduction to product design, a great place to dip your toe in and get familiar with some fundamental concepts and terminology.
If you already have a Coursera subscription, you can access the course for free. If not, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial—just make sure you complete the course within that trial period if you don’t want to pay to continue!
Learn more: Creative Design, Prototyping, and Testing.
5. Udacity: Product Design
The Udacity Product Design course at a glance:
- Mode of study: Online
- Ideal for: Entrepreneurs (or aspiring entrepreneurs) who are already familiar with the basics of product design
- Duration: Approximately 2 months
- Price: Free
If you’re an entrepreneur (or aspiring to be one) and want to discover the best practices and processes used in Silicon Valley, you’ll definitely want to sign up for this free product design course.
Taught by Amir Shevat and Chris Saden, the course features video interviews with successful entrepreneurs and founders, various thought exercises that you can share in the discussion thread, and instructional videos presented by the course instructors.
You’ll cover four key topics: Ideation & Validation, UX and UI, Google’s Design Sprint, and Key Metrics. Note that this is an intermediate-level course; you’ll need some prior knowledge of product design.
Learn more: Product Design course by Amir Shevat and Chris Saden.
The best paid product design courses
Once you’ve tried a free course, you may decide you’d like to invest in a paid product design program.
This is recommended if you want to become a certified product designer with practical, job-relevant skills.
Here are some of the best product design courses to help you do so.
6. CareerFoundry: Product Design Program
The CareerFoundry Product Design Program at a glance:
- Mode of study: Online, flexibly paced
- Ideal for: Aspiring product designers who want to train for a career in the field
- Duration: Four months full-time or seven months part-time
- Price: $6,900 (or $6,555 if you pay upfront)
CareerFoundry is an established online school with an impressive track record for helping career changers break into the tech industry—regardless of their background or qualifications.
The Product Design Program will teach you the most sought-after product design skills, with employment as the end goal.
You’ll learn flexibly online with a structured curriculum, practical portfolio projects, one-to-one mentorship from a product design expert, and you’ll receive job search support from a dedicated career coach.
Perhaps most reassuring: if you don’t land a job within six months of completing the program, you may be eligible for a full refund.
If you want a quality curriculum, flexibility coupled with expert guidance, and a professional certificate from a reputable institution, consider this your top choice.
Learn more about the CareerFoundry Product Design Program.
7. The New School: Product Design Certificate
The New School Product Design Certificate at a glance:
- Mode of study: Online
- Ideal for: Entrepreneurs and designers who want a step-by-step product design framework
- Duration: 9 weeks
- Price: $2,805
The Product Design Certificate offered by The New School is a nine-week program divided into three courses: Product Design Foundations, How to Prototype a New Product Idea, and How to Launch a New Product Idea.
The course provides students with a practical framework they can follow to design, prototype, and launch new product ideas—with a focus on sustainable physical products.
You’ll cover a range of niche topics such as sustainable materials and manufacturing methods, 3D printing, basic CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software demos, as well as product packaging and shipping.
This is a great option for those with existing product design knowledge who want to master the process of designing and launching physical products.
Learn more: The New School Product Design Certificate.
8. MIT xPRO: Designing and Building AI Products and Services
The MIT xPRO course at a glance:
- Mode of study: Online; a mixture of independent study, webinars, office hours, and group discussions
- Ideal for: Technical product managers, consultants, and UX/UI designers responsible for AI-based products
- Duration: 8 weeks, 6 hours per week
- Price: $2,950
This product design course is not for the uninitiated! But, if you’re an experienced product manager, consultant, or designer responsible for AI-based products, this is your opportunity to master a niche (but increasingly important) corner of product design.
Over the course of eight weeks, you’ll learn the four stages of AI product design, analyze the technical and operational requirements to build AI models, learn how to design AI products to solve organizational issues and learn to apply machine learning methods to practical problems.
This is heavy stuff: knowledge of calculus, linear algebra, statistics, and probabilities is beneficial, as is basic Python experience. Still, if that’s where you’re at, an exciting, highly practical, and cutting-edge program awaits!
Learn more about the course: Designing and Building AI Products and Services.
9. Pratt Institute: Digital Product Design
Digital Product Design by Pratt Institute at a glance:
- Mode of study: Interactive classes and real-time instruction (either in-person or on Zoom)
- Ideal for: Aspiring product designers who want to learn the end-to-end product design process
- Duration: Unknown
- Price: $3,500
If you want a collaborative approach to learning product design, consider the Pratt Institute’s Digital Product Design course.
You’ll learn through small, interactive classes and real-time lessons (either in-person or on Zoom)—and you’ll have access to designated campus labs. Note that campuses are located in New York, so this particular program may not be suitable for those outside of the United States.
As for the course content, you’ll learn all about designing for web and mobile apps. You’ll start with a creative brief and a user persona, following the design process to create user flows and wireframes, apply visual design concepts, and conduct usability tests.
The course also emphasizes the critical yet oft-ignored topics of accessible and inclusive design.
At the end of the course, you’ll turn your design process into a case study for your product design portfolio—and you’ll receive a certificate of completion.
Unfortunately, there’s no duration specified on the website, but we expect they’ll update the program page in due course.
You can learn more about the Digital Product Design course here.
10. MIT Sloan Executive Education: Mastering Design Thinking
The course at a glance:
- Mode of study: Online via video lectures, live teaching sessions, and group projects
- Ideal for: Marketing managers, designers, and C-suite executives—essentially anyone responsible for driving innovation, growth, and customer experience at their organization
- Duration: 3 months, 6-8 hours per week
- Price: $3,168
Design thinking is crucial if you want to develop innovative solutions and improve existing ones. As such, it’s closely intertwined with product design.
If you’re working in a role that requires you to innovate, drive growth, and optimize the customer experience, consider Mastering Design Thinking with MIT Sloan.
The course takes three months and requires between six and eight hours per week of dedicated study. The curriculum comprises ten key modules, spanning design thinking skills, identifying customer needs, prototyping, design for services, financial analysis, and more.
This business-focused course will equip you with principles and practices you can apply to your everyday work.
You’ll have access to over 140 video lectures, attend three live teaching sessions, and complete three group projects, ten assignments, and a capstone project. As you can tell, it’s a hands-on program!
If you want a proven framework to help you innovate and improve the customer experience, consider this course for yourself or your team.
What’s the difference between a free product design course and a paid program?
When comparing free product design courses and paid programs, it’s important to recognize that they generally serve different purposes.
Most free product design courses aim to give a brief introduction to the field. You can expect to cover some foundational topics in limited detail or to zoom in on one particular concept.
You typically won’t get an in-depth exploration of the entire product design process within the scope of a free course.
As you might expect, free product design courses tend to be short and flexible, and they usually require independent learning. Some free courses feature practical elements such as exercises or quizzes, but most will focus on theory.
Paid programs, on the other hand, are much more comprehensive in scope and depth. Whether you’re learning product design from scratch or looking to advance your existing skills, a credible paid program should give you a thorough and practical education in your chosen topic.
They usually offer more support and hands-on instruction, too—but it can really vary from one course provider to the next, so it’s important to do your research.
Ultimately, a free product design course offers a lightweight, low-stakes entry point. It won’t equip you for a job in the field, but you will gain valuable insight into what product design is and the kinds of tasks and tools it entails.
This is incredibly useful when deciding if you want to pursue a career as a product designer.
A paid program should provide a thorough exploration of your chosen topic, ideally with support from industry experts and a focus on practical learning.
After the program, you should have the confidence to apply what you’ve learned to real-world projects and scenarios.
Product design courses offer a flexible, accessible way to explore the field and acquire sought-after practical skills.
With free courses, you can dip your toe in and get a feel for the topic—potentially laying the foundation for further study.
With paid programs, you can expect a more comprehensive education with a focus on practical skills. This is necessary if you want to work as a product designer.
We hope you found some courses of interest on our list! If you’ve got a few frontrunners in mind, be sure to research each course thoroughly before you invest.
Not quite ready for a course? Continue your exploration of product design with these resources:
- What is Product Design?
- How To Become a Product Designer: An Actionable Step-by-Step Guide
- A Day in the Life of a Product Designer (video) with CareerFoundry graduate Florian Bölter
Product design courses: FAQ
1. Can I learn product design on my own?
You can learn about the basics of product design on your own with free courses, blog articles, and YouTube videos. If you want to train to get a job as a product designer, you will need a more structured, practical education—ideally with expert instruction and support.
2. How do you become a certified product designer?
To become a certified product designer, you’ll need to complete a relevant degree or a product design certification program, like the CareerFoundry Product Design Program. You’ll also need to build a portfolio and gain practical experience, but this should be included in your chosen course.
3. Is product design a hard career?
Product design can be challenging! It requires a broad and diverse skill set spanning creativity, technical skills, and strategic or business smarts. But, if you’re committed to learning the necessary skills, you’ll find that product design is a highly varied, rewarding, and impactful career path.
4. Do product designers make a lot of money?
Product designer salaries vary depending on location, industry, and experience. In the United States, the average product designer salary is around $120,000 (Indeed). This is significantly higher than the national average salary of $59,428 across the US. For a more in-depth exploration, refer to our product designer salary guide.