To understand what a UX design bootcamp is (and how it works), 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 three 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 this video, where we answer every burning question you had about studying with a UX design 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 analytics.
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 in a UX design 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 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 2020 research study reported a $25,000 increase in median salary in their first job after attending a coding bootcamp—that’s a salary increase of 56%! Alumni also report an average first salary of $69,079.
The majority of graduates of coding bootcamps are finding full-time employment, and 79% 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.
What’s 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 five-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, frontend development, and voice user interface design (VUI). 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 design 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. I
f 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.
To help give you an idea of what the UX design market looks like today, here’s a global snapshot of UX designer salaries in mid-2022 based on data provided by Glassdoor, Indeed, and PayScale.
Australia: $64,068 per year
Canada: $58,110 per year
France: $45,583 per year
Germany: $53,885 per year
India: $9,874 per year
New Zealand: $60,941 per year
South Africa: $26,019 per year
United Kingdom: $52,447 per year
United States: $90,737 per year
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