Are you thinking about a career in UI/UX design? This guide will help you choose the right bootcamp for you.
Continuing your UI/UX design learning journey after the initial excitement without help or direction can be an uphill task. Thankfully, the internet presents several options to guide beginners and mid-level designers, including YouTube videos, e-learning platforms, and, in recent years, UI/UX design bootcamps.
While an intensive design bootcamp is incredibly helpful, selecting one to attend is difficult for a novice. Currently, numerous programs are available for designers, and it’s easy to get swamped without experience. But we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to choosing UI/UX design bootcamps, including a list of the best ones, so keep reading.
A UI/UX design bootcamp is a practical-intensive program that offers in-depth training on the necessary skills for professional UI/UX design. It differs from regular courses by introducing you to real-world applications of theories and guiding you through problem-solving design processes.
Depending on the curriculum depth and content, these bootcamps last anywhere from three months to a year. But, most train you towards being job-ready at completion, irrespective of the program’s duration.
UI/UX bootcamps aren’t an absolute necessity; you can become a pro UI/UX designer without attending one. But, if you want expedited proficiency, they’ll go a long way in helping you achieve your goal. Now, let’s explore why bootcamps are a great step for your design career and what you’ll gain from them.
Some people are fast-paced, but many find self-learning a slow process. You may sometimes lack motivation and slack off with your courses, especially if you’re not in a community. Without a monitored learning structure, many beginners lose focus and become negligent as the journey gets more difficult. This directly affects your speed and how fast you can master your skill.
Bootcamps give you experienced mentors to direct you and monitor your progress. Using their experience, they streamline your learning and push you to achieve your goal within a timeframe. Some bootcamps even award benefits for dedication and performance, which motivates people to achieve more in less time.
UI/UX design courses and books are great but mostly teach you theories and principles. Unfortunately, you'll struggle to compete in the job market without properly understanding their application in solving design-related issues.
Design bootcamps augment these classroom principles with several realistic problems and tasks, including educational projects in their curricula. This gives you better insight into the details of your profession and equips you with the necessary skills to stand out and deliver quality work.
While self-learning, there’s a chance you’ll grope in the dark, focus on trivial or outdated techniques, and miss crucial fundamentals. Sorting through the maze of information online without direction leaves you open to mistakes that can restrict or confuse you.
On the other hand, a pro designer knows what skills are relevant and will increase your value in the industry. Although no information is wasteful, an experienced designer helps you finetune and focus solely on what you need to excel. You can expand and acquire more secondary knowledge as you gain mastery and aptitude.
The saying, “Your network is your net worth,” applies to every walk of life, and UI/UX design is no different. Bootcamps provide an amazing opportunity to connect with your fellow designers and gain important contacts for your future. Most include group projects in their curriculum, and you can form long-lasting alliances by working with your teammates.
In addition, many bootcamp mentors continue to offer advice and assistance to upcoming designers long after the training’s conclusion. So, using strategic networking tips, you can develop interpersonal relationships that constantly point you in the right direction.
Some reputable bootcamps partner with established companies that are in search of skilled UI/UX designers. At the end of the training period, the best students usually get employment offers or benefits from these affiliate firms.
Bootcamps without such affiliates also send you off with glowing recommendations and other important requirements for starting a UI/UX career. These could include classes that teach you the key elements of designing a portfolio, social media branding tutorials, and more.
Knowing what to look for when selecting bootcamps can help you streamline your options and pick what’s right for you. In this section, we’ll cover some important factors that should influence your choice of a design bootcamp.
No two bootcamps have the exact curriculum content, no matter how similar they appear. Moreover, there are several branches of UI/UX design. Hence, you must ensure the curriculum in your bootcamp matches the design aspect that interests you.
Before signing up, ask yourself what you want out of the bootcamp. For example, a beginner will need more introductory classes and basic assignments. Conversely, a mid-level designer may be looking to specialize or finetune an area of UI/UX design. Understand your design needs first, then ensure your curriculum meets those needs.
Secondly, check that a renowned designer is responsible for the curriculum content in your area of interest. To confirm, peruse the socials or portfolios of the mentors, and always ask questions.
It won’t do to have a wonderful curriculum and amazing mentors but never attend classes because you can’t meet up. Your schedule must suit your chosen bootcamp and give you enough flexibility to pay attention to your other activities.
Decide how many hours you can commit to learning per week and find a bootcamp to accommodate this. Also, remember they can be physical, remote, or hybrid, so choose what works for you
Remember, the accompanying career support is one of the biggest advantages of UI/UX design bootcamps over self-learning. So, ensure you know how much career help you’ll get during and after the training.
Hash out details like mentorship involvement, portfolio tutorials, community support, and employment opportunities. Each of these aspects is tremendously helpful to your career growth and should be in your bootcamp’s package.
It’s easier to trust something with visible positive results, and this also applies when you’re choosing design bootcamps. Before committing to any, get firsthand details of the training experience from previous students. Also, find out how beneficial the training was to their careers and their level of expertise.
Most bootcamps have reviews on their websites, and you can do a deep dive on social media to see more about the participants. To investigate, politely message whoever you’re interested in, but ensure you don’t badger them.
Cost is the most important factor because your chosen bootcamp shouldn't exceed your budget. Carefully consider how much you’re willing to part with to invest in your career while staying within reasonable limits.
Also note that while this isn’t always the case, the cost of bootcamps increases with quality. While you may find some affordable or free gems, the best bootcamps are usually pricier.
Now that you know what to search for, let’s understudy some of the best UI/UX design bootcamps and what they offer.
This is one of the most remarkable bootcamps, with trusted reviews and a fully packed curriculum. Designed and frequently updated by industry experts, each course is formulated to refine and boost your abilities.
Besides its intro and mid-level courses, CareerFoundry offers specialization courses in Voice User Interface Design, UI for UX Designers, and Frontend Development for Designers. You also get free access to top UI/UX tools like Sketch and Figma, support from a qualified career specialist, and a six-month job guarantee.
This bootcamp costs $7900 with a 5% discount on one-time payments. Of course, you can also opt for friendlier payment plans.
DesignLab’s UX Academy is famous for its individualized mentorship program and flexible but rigorous curriculum. The individual weekly video calls with mentors and targeted feedback on your assignments will surely enhance your abilities.
Additionally, DesignLab gives you the option of part-time or full-time participation. This way, you can choose a convenient learning arrangement that suits your schedule. The project-based curriculum also ensures you graduate with a professional, robust portfolio.
However, you’ll need a little design experience, as this bootcamp requires that you submit a portfolio during application. It costs $7,649 with a $400-course deposit.
The previous bootcamps are pricey despite their proficiency and may be over your budget. So, if you’re looking for something more affordable with similar results, this is your answer.
This institute offers globally recognized diplomas in professional UX and content design. To broaden your knowledge, there’s a software development course that helps you collaborate better and understand the developer's perspective. This is one of the many benefits of coding as a UI designer.
Its UX design program is flexible and accommodating, demanding only five hours a week for six months and online. You’re also guaranteed additional benefits like mentor support and an engaging community. Courses cost between $1,150 and $3,750, depending on your preference.
Ironhack is another reputable design bootcamp with a curriculum consisting of three packed modules that’ll make you job-ready in no time. The bootcamp also preaches beginner-friendly, fun, and interactive online and offline sessions.
Other perks include part-time or full-time participation, financing options for easier payment, and a global, diverse community of mentors and students.
General Assembly (GA), which boasts over 11,000 hires, 30 campuses, and 20,000 expert instructors, is undoubtedly world-class. If you prefer a classroom experience and physical interaction with your mentors, this is the one for you.
Besides the top-notch curriculum, this program will teach you how to work in a full tech team. Mastery of your UI/UX skill will get you a job, but understanding how to collaborate with your teammates enhances the quality of your delivery.
Lastly, GA, as it’s popularly known, has students employed in over 19,000 of the world’s top companies, including IBM, CocaCola, and Google.
Attending a bootcamp will significantly impact your UI/UX career and bolster your design prowess. UI/UX is quite a broad field involving many technical skills, and you’ll need all the help you can get to gain mastery of them. In the meantime, never stop growing, keep self-learning, and always practice.
Joshua is a staff writer at MUO who’s been passionate about technology since 2018. Starting in 2021, he’s been sharing his expertise on career navigation in the tech industry through his writing. Joshua previously worked as a social media manager but has since pivoted to freelance writing, intending to also build a career in UX writing. In his free time, you can catch Joshua diving into random topics or experimenting with new recipes.
Are you thinking about a career in UI/UX design? This guide will help you choose the right bootcamp for you.