How To Learn User Interface Design And Become A UI Designer

CareerFoundry Blog contributor Eric Bieller

Are you in the market for a career change? Have you considered UI design but aren’t sure if a UI design course is right for you? Well, good news! Today I’m going to dig into how UI design compares to other tech areas such as programming, and how an online UI Design course stacks up to other learning methods.

With the proliferation of modern technology, career paths that were once expensive or inaccessible no longer are. There are now affordable and accessible options available to anyone with a laptop, an internet connection, and a desire to make big changes in their lives. This means that it’s possible for anyone, anywhere, to become a programmer or a designer. So, which one should you choose?

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Programming vs. UI design

One of the biggest questions facing would-be students here at CareerFoundry is deciding whether they should pursue programming or design. How do you know which is right for you?

The first thing to consider is the difference between the two fields. Programming is naturally more analytical and mathematical. That being said, you don’t have to be a mathematician to break into this field. You do, however, have to have a passion for looking under the hood and learning how things work so that you can create them yourself. If that sounds like you – then a programming course could be right up your alley!

UI design isn’t exactly the opposite, but it’s certainly a bit different to programming. While being a UI designer requires thinking analytically and critically about interfaces and how users interact with them, it’s also a creative field. After all, they don’t call it “design” for nothing!

UI design requires an eye for aesthetics and for how elements of an interface interact with each other. Do you ever recognize that two fonts just don’t work well together? Or maybe you’ve noticed when colors in an interface just clash with each other. If so, then a UI design course might be right for you!

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How do I learn UI design?

UI design is a hugely popular field that’s growing at a rapid rate year over year. There are tons of great companies out there in need of fresh, modern UI designs and there just aren’t enough designers out there to go around. That’s great news for aspiring UI designers!

But how do you go about learning UI design?

Well, there are many different ways to go about it. You could:

  • Teach yourself by reading online tutorials and forums
  • Read books on UI design
  • Pursue a college degree in the field
  • Take an online course

That last one is the one I want to talk about today: Taking an online course. But how do you know if an online course is the right path for you and your new career as a UI designer? Well there are quite a few things to consider before answering this question. First off, what are the specific advantages of taking an online course?

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Why take a UI design course?

In the grand scheme of things, online courses are still relatively young. People are still trying to decide if an online course can truly replace a college course as a means of education.

Nowadays, modern online courses can actually be pretty sophisticated and provide a very well-rounded understanding of the subject matter. They are also much more focused since they don’t typically bother with general education topics.

Here are the main reasons why an online UI design course is better than the other options:

1. Online courses are usually cheaper

The beauty of online courses is that they usually require much less overhead than college courses, mainly because they are done entirely online and are much more focused. This makes them a lot cheaper!

But not all courses are created equal and they do vary in price. A 6 month, online course could vary from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the institution. Price isn’t always indicative of the quality of the education, but it can certainly be related. That’s why it’s so important to read as much as possible about what a course offers before you decide to sign up. You want to be completely certain of what you’re getting for your money before you commit.

2. Online courses are much quicker

The nature of online courses is they are job-focused. They typically don’t bother teaching you anything other than what you need in order to perform well in your new career. This means that most courses can be completed in 3 to 6 months.

This is hugely important because it makes becoming a UI designer much more realistic for the average person. Most people can’t just commit to a two year course, but they could potentially commit to 3 or 6 months!

3. Online courses fit into your work schedule

Since these courses are all done online, they are much easier to work into your busy schedule and, in turn, a much more realistic option for most working people.

Here at CareerFoundry, many of our students have full-time day jobs while working on the course in the evening and on the weekends. This really helps de-risk making the choice to pursue a new career since you don’t have to interrupt your day job!

4. Online courses are more focused

As I touched on earlier, online courses are focused on what you need in order to be valuable in your new field. This means you don’t have to waste time on general education classes which, while general knowledge is great to have, it isn’t necessarily always applicable in a technical profession.

I actually think this is the most important advantage of an online course. It’s where all the other advantages stem from. Because the course is more focused, you can complete it sooner, better fit it into your schedule, and pay a lot less for it!

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How do I know if an online UI Design course is right for me?

Here at CareerFoundry, we believe wholeheartedly in the efficacy of online courses. After all, we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t! But that being said, an online course might not be right for everyone. Here are some of the cons to consider before jumping into an online course:

  • It’s not a “complete” education: The very nature of an online course is that it’s focused on one specific subject. This means that you aren’t going to be taking general education classes and there’s no concept of a major and a minor. This may be a bad thing if you’re personally in the market for a more well-rounded, college level education.
  • You’ve got to be self-motivated: When taking an online course, there’s no one physically there to keep you accountable except yourself! Your tutor, mentor and fellow students will be there when you need them, but you’ll have to make the initial push each day to log on and stay connected. Because of this, online courses are for people who are serious about making a big change in their lives and aren’t going to stop for anyone. If that doesn’t sound like you, then you might have a hard time sticking to an online course.

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What makes an online course good?

There are a ton of different things you should be looking for before signing up for an online course in UI design. I realize that different things matter to different people, so here’s a general list of the things you should be on the lookout for to decide if a course is good:

  • The course provides you with a mentor: The best online courses are the ones which provide you with a personal mentor. This is someone who reviews your work and answers any questions you have about the material and the job market. Without a mentor, it’s just too easy to get lost and stuck. So make sure a course has a mentor so you don’t feel like you’re in this thing alone!
  • The course has positive reviews: Before signing up for a course, make sure you read its reviews thoroughly. And don’t just stick to the reviews on their own site as these could easily be biased! Instead try googling the company and searching for reviews on third party websites to get an objective perspective.
  • They offer a money back guarantee: That’s why here at CareerFoundry, we offer a Job You Love Guarantee. This kind of guarantee gives peace of mind that in case things don’t work out, you can at least recoup your education expenses!
  • The course is battle tested: The best online courses are the ones that have already seen at least a handful of students. This usually means that the company offering the course has had time to fix the kinks and to tweak the courseware and make it more solid.

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I certainly understand that the decision to go down a new career path isn’t one that’s made lightly, nor should it be! There are many things to consider before committing to one learning method over the other. I hope this post has helped you uncover some of the differences between the various options and helped you get closer to determining if a UI design course might be the right path for you and your career.

If you’re feeling like an online course might be the path for you, check out our online UI Design Course here at CareerFoundry. We offer flexible course schedules, low prices, and a personal mentor to help you navigate the course and job world. And, best of all, the full money back guarantee!

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