UI design is widely considered to be one of the most exciting fields in tech—with even the most senior of product designers expected to have UI design skills in their arsenal.
Promising creativity, variety, and a lucrative salary to boot, a career in UI design offers tech hopefuls the opportunity to make a real impact on people’s lives. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that more and more people are turning to UI design as their next career move.
Where universities have failed to keep up with the demand for talented UI designers, bootcamps have risen to the challenge. Praised as being a “fast track” to well-paying design jobs—and with lower tuition costs, flexible learning, and a practical curriculum, bootcamps were created to increase access to an education in tech.
But are bootcamps really worth it? And with more and more bootcamp UI design courses cropping up, how do you go about choosing which one is right for you?
In this blog post, we’ll lift the lid on the world of UI design bootcamp courses, and how to tell the good from the mediocre. We’ll start off by looking at the field of UI design, before diving into the benefits of a bootcamp course—and how you can expect life to look upon graduating.
If you’re new to the world of design, you can try a free introductory UI short course first. This will give you a glimpse of what it’s like to take a UI course, and set you in good stead for choosing a more extensive bootcamp.
Here are the topics we’ll cover:
- What is a UI design bootcamp?
- What will I learn in a UI design bootcamp course?
- Are UI design bootcamp courses worth it?
- Do I need relevant experience before enrolling in a UI design bootcamp course?
- What will my day-to-day look like when doing a UI design bootcamp course?
- What kind of salary can I expect when I graduate?
- How do I choose the right UI design bootcamp for me?
- Who offers the best UI design bootcamp courses?
- Round up
Let’s get right to it!
1. What is a UI design bootcamp?
User interface design, more commonly known as UI design, refers to the visual design of a product’s user interface. It’s the process of creating interfaces—namely apps and websites—with a focus on look and style.
What do UI designers actually do?
UI designers are responsible for designing a product’s digital interface, as well as the visual elements—and their interactive properties—that facilitate interaction with the end-user.
To achieve this, they use things like patterns, spacing, text, and color to guide the user through the screens, all the while placing themselves in the user’s shoes and anticipating what the user will expect at each stage. While UI designer is an esteemed role in its own right, product designers, UX designers, and interaction designers are increasingly expected to have some proficiency in UI design.
How do UI design bootcamps work?
So what is a UI design bootcamp? A bootcamp is a condensed, immersive education program that aims to take aspiring UI designers to job-ready graduates in anything from a few months to a year.
By focusing on high-impact learning and practical, real-world projects, bootcamps fuse fundamental UI design theory with the industry skills that are in high demand. The result? A comprehensive, well-rounded learning experience that will take you from total design newbie to qualified UI designer.
Bootcamps were created in direct response to the growing demand for talent in disciplines like web and software development. As they swiftly rose to favor as the preferred entryway to a career in tech, they eventually grew to include vocations such as UI design, UX design, digital marketing, and data science.
While UI design programs are significantly under-represented in the bootcamp world compared to UX, many UX design bootcamps are recognizing the growing demand in UI design courses—and are increasingly offering UI design components to their courses.
Many online bootcamps are flexible and self-paced, meaning students can fit their studies around a full-time job. Some bootcamps offer virtual classrooms with fixed lessons that take place over video call or chat. On the other hand, in-person bootcamps take place in a set location, with fixed start dates and class times.
2. What will I learn in a UI design bootcamp course?
UI design bootcamp courses focus on teaching you both the technical skills that can see you walk straight into an entry-level UI design position upon graduation—and the soft skills that will see you excel in a team.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the skills you can expect to learn on a UI design bootcamp course:
- A UI design bootcamp course will see you master at least one of the poplar industry-standard tools, such as Sketch, Adobe XD, and prototyping tools like InVision. Proficiency in design tools is essential for any UI designer.
- Fundamental methods, theories, and practices will form the basis of any UI design course. You’ll get to grips with color theory, typography, and UI design patterns, as well as fundamental design approaches such as the Gestalt Principles that will help you to gain a deeper insight into how users perceive and interpret your work.
- Soft skills such as collaboration and communication are vital in UI design. UI designers have to handle a seamless hand-off from design to development, communicating the intricacies of their design elements with clarity. UI designers also tend to work closely with UX designers, as well as the wider stakeholders on any given project. An in-depth UI design course will take you through some best practices that will ensure you’ll be able to slot into a team in your first UI design role.
3. Are UI design bootcamp courses worth it?
While we’ve gone through the ins and outs of a UI design bootcamp course, you might still be wondering: do bootcamps actually work, and are they worth the investment of my hard-earned cash?
We know that we might come off a tad biased by simply saying, “yes, bootcamps do work!” So to prove our point, we’ll let the data do the talking.
According to bootcamp comparison site Course Report, respondents of a 2019 research study reported a $22,000 increase in median salary in their first job after attending a coding bootcamp.
That’s a salary increase of 51%. If that wasn’t convincing enough, the average coding bootcamp graduate earns $70,698—a considerable amount more than the average university graduate salary of $59,124 (course report, 2020).
According to UI design program graduate Amanda Chiu, it was her comprehensive, in-depth bootcamp education that proved to her future employer that she was right for her dream job:
“I was asked to break down my entire educational experience from CareerFoundry. She wanted to know just how thorough my education had been, and how well prepared I was for a job as a UI designer. She was highly impressed.”
Learning efficiently and logically with a structured course is the best way to make sure you’re covering all the fundamental concepts of UI design in plenty of detail, whilst skipping the irrelevant (or even incorrect) information that proliferates on the web.
4. Do I need relevant experience before enrolling in a UI design bootcamp course?
Many people believe that a design related degree or years of related work experience are necessary prerequisites for a career in UI design.
In reality, employers are far more interested in your portfolio—and whether you can demonstrate an understanding of core UI design principles—than your formal qualifications. UI design programs have been built to take you from beginner to job-ready, so all you really need is a laptop, and the motivation to transform your career!
Many of the world’s most successful UI designers have come from a range of diverse backgrounds—from marketing to graphic design. The joy of UI design bootcamps? Everyone is on an equal playing field, so your background won’t put you at a disadvantage.
5. What will my day-to-day look like when doing a UI design bootcamp course?
It’s a common misconception that bootcamps are a “quick fix”—and don’t require as much hard work or dedication as a university degree.
You might think you’ll be able to breeze through the syllabus, skim-reading the course material undetected, and, in the absence of a conventional exam system, emerge as a fully-qualified UI designer with minimal input.
While many UI design bootcamps offer flexible learning, you can expect to put as much hard work, dedication, and concentration into a bootcamp program as you would for a traditional degree. Fitting your studies around your schedule (or even a full-time job) requires a huge amount of organization and self-discipline.
If you’re opting for an online bootcamp program, you’ll also have to find time for regular video check-ins with your mentor, alongside your independent study. You’ll also be expected to take on independent projects, and immerse yourself in the field of UI design through networking events.
6. What kind of salary can I expect when I graduate?
An increase in salary is a key motivator behind any career change—and UI design is no exception. When considering a career in UI design, it’s natural to be curious about your earning potential.
To give you an idea of what your salary could look like as a UI designer, take a look at this snapshot of the average UI designer salaries in various parts of the world, using data provided by Glassdoor, Indeed, and PayScale. Note: your salary will vary depending on location, how much experience you have, and whether you work in-house or freelance.
- Australia: 83,348 AUD ($57,180)
- Canada: C$69,000 ($52,809)
- Germany: €77,076 ($85,645)
- India: Rs 1,108,000 ($15,567)
- UK: £44,155 ($57,618)
- USA: $76,115
To find out more about UI designer salaries, this blog post delves into the details of UI designer salaries around the world.
7. How do I choose the right UI design bootcamp for me?
So far, we’ve unpacked what a UI design bootcamp course is, and what you can expect as a UI design bootcamp student. Next up, let’s look at how to decipher which UI bootcamp course will align with your personal career goals.
While UX bootcamp courses are pretty well established, UI design bootcamp courses are still fairly up and coming. That doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to choose from! Every UI design bootcamp is unique, and it’s essential to take the time to consider which course best suits your needs. When making the choice, here’s what you need to consider:
Lay out your schedule
How many hours of study can you realistically commit to learning UI design per month? Do you plan on studying while maintaining a full-time job? If so, you’ll likely be better suited to a flexible, online bootcamp, which allows you to go at your own pace.
Analyze the curriculum
Is the curriculum curated from outside materials, or is it produced in-house by subject matter experts? How does the program break down what you learn within the world of UI design? Will you get to work on your own project(s)? Is the curriculum up to speed with the latest methods, tools, trends, and software?
The quality of the course content makes a huge difference to how qualified you’ll be in the field of UI design. Make sure the curriculum is comprehensive!
Does the course align with your career goals?
Troll through some entry-level UI design job descriptions, on sites like indeed or Glassdoor.
In what ways will your chosen bootcamp prepare you for these roles? Does the school offer in-house career specialists who can support you throughout your job searching process?
Does the bootcamp hold regular networking events, providing opportunities to broaden your horizons and seek out job opportunities? Is there a strong focus on ensuring you graduate with a robust portfolio that you can show to future employers and clients?
Make some alumni acquaintances
Find out what kind of roles and careers the students went on to do, and attend events that will allow you to connect with current students and alumni.
Hearing the stories of the people who studied on the course in question will help you to gauge whether it’s right for you. Try to connect with an alumnus who comes from a similar background as the field you’re currently in. Through them, you’ll get more of an insight into how your career path might look.
Look at what add-ons they offer
Many UI bootcamps offer additional “specialization courses” to further bolster your qualifications and broaden your skillset.
For example, in addition to UI design, you could do a specialization course in frontend development or voice user interface design. These additional skills will give you a competitive edge when it comes to the job market.
Crunch the numbers
A bootcamp course is no small investment, and while the evidence shows that they are more than worth the money, it’s still worth making sure you’re getting bang for your buck. What payment options do they offer? Is there a way for you to stagger the cost of tuition?
8. Who offers the best UI design bootcamp courses?
So, now that we’ve covered pretty much everything there is to know about UI design bootcamp courses, let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
Thinkful offers a “designer track” program, which combines both UI and UX design to give students a versatile and competitive skillset. Boasting a holistic approach to design, students get 360 support as they build their portfolio with 3-6 real-world projects throughout the program.
Learn.UI design is an online video course that takes a straightforward approach to teaching the fundamental tools, methods, and processes of UI design to tech hopefuls.
Students gain access to 41 video-based lessons that they can watch at their own pace, dozens of downloadable assignments, printable cheat-sheets, and an online slack community.
Similar to Bloc, Springboard offers a UX/UI design career track, which combines both disciplines into one course.
With a curriculum split into 35 units, you’ll work on substantial design projects and complete a real-world externship with an industry client. After nine months, you’ll graduate with a UI/UX design portfolio. As the course is billed monthly, students who finish early have the option of paying less for their tuition.
Flatiron offers both immersive on-campus and online programs in a number of locations across the world.
Their UX/UI design course aims to teach beginners the skills to get a job in as little as six months with a 24-week, innovative curriculum taught by industry experts. The course combines flexible online learning in the initial phases, with an immersive on-campus experience for the client and portfolio phases.
Our renowned UI Design Program is one of the few UI-specific programs currently on the scene. The program has been created to take you from total novice to talented professional, focusing on both UI design theory and practical application.
Broken down into six achievements, you can expect to get hands-on from the very beginning. Towards the end of the program, you’ll create an app from scratch—gathering user requirements, developing user stories, wireframing, and iterating through the design/critique loop until the project is finished to a professional standard.
Everything you work on throughout the course goes towards your professional portfolio, and you’ll be supported throughout your journey with your very own mentor, tutor, and career specialist to help you land a job within six months of graduating (or your money back).
Want to learn more about the program? Why not book in a chat with a Careers Advisor.
9. Final thoughts
So there we have it: everything you need to know about UI design bootcamp courses!
If you’re interested in gleaning some advice from someone who works in the field as a UI designer, check out this webinar we held:
To discover if a career in UI design is right for you, why not take a look at some of these articles on the blog: