With the demand for tech talent ever rising, bootcamps have emerged as a cost-effective way to get the real-world skills and training you need for a successful career in tech. In a fraction of the time (and for a fraction of the price) of a college degree, UX design bootcamps can mold even the most tender footed of UX hopefuls into confident designers, ready to take the job market by storm.
However, as the demand for UX designers continues to grow, so does the number of high-quality bootcamps on the market. With so many options on offer, choosing the right bootcamp to invest in can feel like a daunting task. Luckily, we’re here to guide you.
In this blog post, we’ll take you through the most popular UX bootcamps currently on the scene—and provide you with a comprehensive roadmap of how to choose the right UX bootcamp for you. We’ll start off by defining the scope of the field of UX design and looking at what you can expect to learn from a UX design bootcamp. By the end of this blog post, you’ll be well on your way to kickstarting your career as a UX designer.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is a UX design bootcamp?
- What will I learn on a UX bootcamp?
- Do UX bootcamps really work?
- Do I need relevant experience before beginning a UX bootcamp?
- What will my day-to-day look like when I do a UX bootcamp?
- How do I choose the right UX bootcamp for me?
- What kind of salary can I expect on completion?
- What are the best UX design bootcamps?
- Round up
Let’s dive right in!
1. What is a UX design bootcamp?
To understand UX design bootcamps, let’s first establish what UX design actually is. User experience (UX) design refers to the way that a user interacts with a product or service. Taking into account the branding, design, usability, and function of the product, UX designers strive to create products that are enjoyable, relevant, and straightforward for the end-user.
As a discipline, UX design integrates a combination of methods and tools that allow designers to solve real problems. As new platforms, patterns, and software emerge almost every day, UX designers sit at the cutting edge of digital design. To learn more about the ins and outs of UX design, check out this comprehensive guide to UX design.
So now we know about UX design, what is a UX design bootcamp? Put simply, a UX bootcamp is an immersive education program that takes motivated individuals from beginner to job-ready in anything from 3 months to a year. By focusing on high-impact learning and real-world examples, UX bootcamps fuse fundamental UX theory with relevant industry skills to create a comprehensive, well-rounded learning experience. The result? Job-ready graduates!
Check out our video below, where we answer every burning question you had about studying with a UX bootcamp!
Bootcamps were born out of the growing demand for talent in disciplines like web and software development. As their popularity skyrocketed, they eventually grew to include vocations such as UX design, UI design, digital marketing, and data science.
There are two types of UX bootcamps: online bootcamps and in-person bootcamps. Some online bootcamps are flexible and self-paced, meaning you can choose your own study hours that fit around your schedule. Other online bootcamps offer set class times with virtual classrooms, taking place using video call or chat. On the other hand, in-person bootcamps are bootcamps that take place locally in a fixed location, with fixed start dates and class times.
2. What will I learn on a UX bootcamp?
Quality UX bootcamps have rigorous, comprehensive syllabuses that provide you with the skills you’ll need as a UX designer in today’s job market. Generally speaking, a good UX course will get you up to speed with the design thinking process, user testing techniques, and UX hygiene. You’ll also learn the ropes of industry-standard tools, such as Adobe XD, Sketch, and Balsamiq.
If you opt for a more hands-on UX bootcamp, you’ll be given exercises to accompany the reading materials, as well as a compilation of learning resources like videos and worksheets. You’ll create user personas, mental models and user flows, as well as your first wireframes and prototypes. You’ll even test the usability of your designs on real users.
The projects you work on during your course will form the basis of your professional portfolio. Your portfolio is a personal website that hosts a selection of your work, and introduces you as a designer. You can learn more about how to create a killer UX design portfolio in this informative blog post!
3. Do UX bootcamps really work?
Bootcamps may have risen to popularity, but there remain a few critics who doubt the feasibility of turning a complete newbie into a job-ready UX designer within such a short period. So, let’s crunch a few numbers.
According to Course Report, a popular comparison site for bootcamps, respondents of a 2018 research study reported a $21,000 increase in median salary in their first job after attending a coding bootcamp—that’s a salary increase of 49%! Alumni also report an average first salary of $64,525 and an average most recent salary of $72,354. 50% of 2018 bootcamp graduates in full-time employment earn more than $55,000 in their first job after bootcamp.
The majority of graduates of coding bootcamps are finding full-time employment, and 79.3% of graduates surveyed say they’ve been employed in a job requiring the technical skills learned at bootcamp.
While this data is specific to coding bootcamps, the same principle applies to UX bootcamps. Going from complete newbie to working in a company really happens, and often the turnaround time is under one year. Ultimately, a bootcamp will teach you in-demand tech skills, qualifying you for a whole host of well-paid careers.
Still dubious about whether bootcamps can really educate job-ready UX designers? Check out Raffaela Rein’s exploration of whether or not bootcamps can really educate job-ready UX designers.
4. Do I need relevant experience before beginning a UX bootcamp?
To enroll in a UX bootcamp, or even land a job in the field, you might think that you need design-related qualifications—or a solid background in tech. Many people feel that their current field is so dissimilar to UX design that the thought of becoming a UX designer from scratch with a bootcamp feels wildly far-fetched.
The truth is, all you really need to enroll in a UX bootcamp is a strong interest in UX design, and time to dedicate to the course. As previously mentioned, UX bootcamps are designed to take you from total novice to fully qualified UX designer—so a background in design is certainly not a prerequisite If you’ve got the motivation, UX bootcamps have got the means.
Many of the world’s most successful UX designers have come from a myriad of diverse backgrounds—from architecture to administration, to marketing and beyond. The joy of UX bootcamps? Not having a degree or experience in tech won’t put you at a disadvantage in a UX bootcamp; everyone is on an equal playing field.
Don’t have a degree? Check out our blog post exploring how a UX bootcamp can fast track your career.
5. What will my day-to-day look like when I do a UX bootcamp?
It’s a common misconception that UX bootcamps don’t require a sizeable dose of hard graft. You might expect that you’ll be able to skim read the course material, breeze through the syllabus, and, in the absence of a conventional exam system, graduate as a fully-fledged UX designer with minimal input.
While a UX bootcamp won’t exactly hijack your social life, it requires just as much hard work, dedication, and concentration as any other form of education. You’ll have to be extremely organized about your schedule, and ensure you can dedicate a minimum number of hours to your studies every week. If you’re opting for an online UX bootcamp, you’ll juggle regular Skype check-ins with your mentor with independent study. On top of your studies, you’ll also be expected to immerse yourself in UX design through networking and external projects.
Check out our blog post looking at common UX bootcamp expectations!
6. How do I choose the right UX bootcamp for me?
So far, we’ve got to grips with the anatomy of a UX bootcamp and looked at what you can expect as a UX bootcamp student. Now, let’s address the question on everyone’s lips: how do I choose the right bootcamp for me?
The truth is, tech is inundated with UX bootcamps, each with their own unique offering. Don’t be suckered in by a 5-star review; it’s essential to do your own research and take the time to consider which UX bootcamp best suits your needs. When choosing a UX bootcamp, here are the factors that need to be considered:
Be realistic about your schedule
When looking at UX bootcamps, reflect on how many hours of study you can realistically commit to per month. If you plan to study UX design while maintaining a full-time job, you’ll likely be better suited to an online, flexibly-paced bootcamp which allows you to choose your own hours.
If you’re looking to make the switch into UX design as quickly as possible, you might be more drawn to an intensive course that will enable you to become a fully-fledged UX designer within a matter of a few months.
Look at the quality of the curriculum
No two UX bootcamps are created equal: the quality of the course content makes a huge difference to how qualified you’ll be in the field of UX design. Is the curriculum curated from outside materials, or is it produced in-house by subject matter experts? How regularly is it updated? How does the program break down what you learn within the world of UX? Is the curriculum up to speed with the latest methods, tools, trends, and software? Dive deep into each school’s curriculum to ensure it meets your standards. Above all, make sure the course content excites you!
Will the course equip you for a job in the field?
Consider the current job market. In what ways will your chosen bootcamp prepare you for the job market? Does the school offer in-house career specialists who can support you throughout your job searching process? Does the bootcamp regularly update their course content to reflect current industry trends? Does the bootcamp hold regular networking events, offering 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?
Research alumni stories
The best way to gauge whether a UX bootcamp is right for you? Connect with alumni. Find out what kind of roles and careers the students went on to do, and attend events which will allow you to connect with current students and alumni. Hearing the stories of the people who studied with the UX bootcamp 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 UX bootcamps offer additional ‘specialization courses’ to further bolster your qualifications and broaden your skillset. For example, in addition to UX design, you could do a specialization course in UI design, front end development, and voice user interface design. These additional skills will give you a competitive edge when it comes to the job market.
Consider the cost
Of course, it’s essential to compare the prices of different UX bootcamps. UX bootcamps are a sizeable investment, and while the evidence shows that they are more than worth the money, it’s still worth making sure you’re getting the maximum amount of bang for your buck. Consider looking into taking out student loans, pulling from your savings, or seeing if programs offer ways to pay the tuition fee after you land a job. What payment options do they offer? Is there a way for you to stagger the cost of tuition? Consider your living expenses if you can’t work while doing the program.
7. What kind of job titles and salaries can I expect on completion?
When considering a permanent career change, it’s natural to be curious about what your earnings will look like as a beginner in the UX field, as well as what you can expect salary-wise throughout your career. If you’re planning to stay in the UX design industry for the long haul, it’s important to know that you’ve got a financially secure future ahead.
Salaries for user experience designers vary depending on the location, industry, and years of experience. According to Glassdoor’s salary data, you will likely earn about $50 - 70,000 a year as a Junior UX Designer in The States. Designers with roughly ten years of experience can earn close to $185,000 a year.
Australia: $51,283 per year
Canada: $45,768 per year
France: $42,812 per year
Germany: $56,798 per year
India: $11,790 per year
United Kingdom: $51,713 per year
United States: $90,697 per year
Want to learn more about how much you could earn as a UX designer? Check out this comprehensive UX designer salary guide.
8. What are the best UX design bootcamps?
So now you have an idea of how to go about choosing the best UX design bootcamp for you. Let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
Springboard offers self-paced UX design courses that can be completed in 2 to 4 months. Springboard also provides a part-time UX Career Track, which boasts one-on-one weekly mentor support. As the course is billed monthly, students who finish early have the option of paying less for their tuition.
As the first tech school to offer self-paced online tech bootcamps, online coding bootcamp Bloc has developed an apprenticeship approach to teaching UX design that is tailored to each student’s learning needs. Offering 1-on-1 mentorship throughout the course, students can work full-time or part-time, finishing the course in an average of 4–8 months.
Flatiron School offers both immersive on-campus and online programs in UX design across the United States. Their courses aim to launch students into fulfilling careers as UX designers through rigorous, market-aligned curricula, and the support of seasoned instructors and personal career coaches. Courses also include a real-life professional project, giving students client-facing experience and an industry-vetted portfolio.
Ironhack offers a nine-week full-time UX design course or a 24 week part-time UX design course. Career services include portfolio and resume building, job interview preparation, networking, and hiring fairs. Ironhack has set themselves apart by offering scholarships available for women and military vets who are interested in a tech career.
Focusing on the most relevant and in-demand skills in design, General Assembly offers a range of full-time, part-time, and self-paced courses, online and in-person, across 15 campuses in 4 continents. You’re guaranteed a high-quality education, with clients and hiring partners such as Google, Microsoft, and Visa. They also offer employer sponsorship and payment plans to help you finance the course. Students are also given a career coach and the opportunity to attend various networking events.
Offering both full-time and part-time online courses, DesignLab teaches in-demand UX/UI design skills through self-paced learning. DesignLab provides each student with a career coach who guides the student on the job search for up to six months after graduation. Courses consist primarily of hands-on projects and 1-on-1 mentorship from expert designers and top industry professionals.
There are few UX courses on the market that combine a comprehensive curriculum, personalized mentorship, and student-focused learning quite like CareerFoundry. Our online Certified UX Designer program takes you through 3 journeys—Fundamentals, Immersion, and your choice of Specialization. With 96% of our eligible alumni getting a tech job within 180 days of graduation at top companies including Google, Apple, and Amazon, CareerFoundry offers some of the highest quality course content on the scene.
Want to learn more about how CareerFoundry can take you from total novice to motivated, confident UX designer? Learn more about our Full UX Design Course here!
9. Round up
Changing your career is not easy. It involves significant risk-taking, willingness to start from square one again, and an ability to embrace change in radical ways. Bootcamps provide the ideal environment where ideas can flourish without boundaries, and UX hopefuls can learn, make mistakes, and discover a whole new world—free of judgment or pressure. In 3 months to a year, through intensive coursework paired with strong career support, UX hopefuls can learn user experience design inside out and front to back.
If you only remember one thing from this blog post, make it this: when it comes to UX bootcamps, you get out what you put in. No matter which bootcamp you eventually choose, you’ll have to push yourself to ensure you get as much out of the program as possible.
Keen to learn more? Check out our blog post that takes you through everything you need to know about becoming a certified UX designer.
What You Should Do Now
- If you’d like a step-by-step intro to find out if UX design is right for you - sign up here for our free 7-day UX short course.
- If you are interested in becoming a UX Designer check out our UX design course (you'll learn the essential skills employers need).
- Find out more about our graduates: their journeys, portfolio projects, and salary increases.
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