BY Tara Knight
The demand for UX designers, worldwide, continues to grow at a tremendous rate, and it’s to meet this demand that Google has recently developed and launched a new UX Design Certificate. This exciting program has been built from the ground up to help anyone, no matter their existing proficiency, acquire the real-world skills needed to find a competitively paid job in this fast-growing field. Naturally, Adobe XD is one of the tools taught during this program, and we’re excited at the new opportunities this program will unlock for the next generation of designers.
The affordable entry-level program covers the foundations of UX design, including empathizing with users, defining their pain points, ideating solutions, building wireframes, and prototypes with digital design tools such as XD, and conducting research to test the designs. It costs $39 per month by subscription on Coursera (Google takes no revenue and has made need-based financial assistance available).
The program doesn’t require a college degree or any previous experience in UX design. The commitment is fewer than 10 hours of study a week, and the training is 100% online – this approach removes many of the barriers to entry too typical in UX design. It’s an especially important development at a time when many stay-at-home measures are still in place around the world and the pandemic has made employment more challenging.
“People are looking for opportunities to find jobs and build careers in fields that are projected to grow over time,” says Catherine Courage, Google’s VP of Consumer User Experience and executive sponsor of Google’s UX Design Certificate. “UX design is one of those high-growth fields – there are 113,700 job openings in UX design across the U.S., with an average entry-level salary of $58,600. But even though these jobs are available, there aren’t enough qualified candidates to fill them.”
Get on the fast track to in-demand jobs
The aim of the Google Career Certificate program — which also includes project management, Android development, data analytics, and IT support — is to provide people with in-demand skills they need to land jobs in growing fields. UX design is an important part of this offering, and it has the opportunity to unlock many opportunities for aspiring designers.
The Google UX Design Certificate teaches common job responsibilities of entry-level UX designers and other teams with whom they might work. Certificate graduates then have the opportunity to connect with an employer consortium – a group of more than 150 high-profile companies across multiple sectors, such as Deloitte, Huge, Munchkin, and Google that are looking to fill their open positions.
“We wanted our program to feel really approachable,” Courage explains. It’s designed for anyone who wants to get on the path to a career in UX design. “Even for current UX design professionals or freelancers, the program is a great way to increase their skills and earn a credential from Google. The training builds on the skills people already have – like the ability to problem solve and work with a team.”
“This program has honestly revolutionized the way I think about design. It taught me a framework and provided the tools to consistently execute on my work.” – Ravi S.
Built for the workplace: Explore the design process from beginning to end
The Google UX Design Certificate is the product of a massive global collaboration effort across the company, all to create a program that is comprehensive, rigorous, and prepares people for jobs in UX. Spanning a wide range of educational backgrounds and work experiences, more than 35 senior Google employees working in UX – including interaction,visual, and motion design, UX research, management, accessibility, and equity engineering – designed and built the course content and assessments. They also teach it: All of the course instructors are Google employees.
“It was crucial to us that we provide a pathway to jobs in the field,” Courage points out. “So we worked backwards from real job listings and consulted with subject-matter experts at Google and in the industry to ensure we were designing content that teaches job-ready skills people need to succeed in entry-level UX design roles.”
The training is deliberately rigorous: The Google UX Design Certificate consists of seven practical courses, totalling 200 hours of instruction, plus over 250 hands-on activities and interactive assessments to prove proficiency. Learners develop concrete skills (including developing personas and user journey maps, conducting usability studies, and testing and iterating on designs) and by the time they graduate, they’ll have designed a professional UX portfolio that they can share with potential employers to showcase the skills they developed.
Try Adobe XD for free and learn responsive web design
One of the seven courses in the program is dedicated to Adobe XD and how to use it to create a responsive website. Along with building a mobile app and a cross-platform experience, it’s one of three end-to-end projects that make up the UX portfolio that learners create.
“The tool is great for foundational learning and beyond,” Courage explains. “Learners use it to share their low and high-fidelity prototypes at various points throughout the course. At the end, learners will have a new design project to include in their UX portfolio.”
To better support the learner’s journey through the certificate program, Adobe committed to granting complimentary access to the single app version of Adobe XD for nine months to all learners who have completed Course 1. This allows them to use XD to its fullest potential, without limitations on collaboration or sharing prototype links – a key feature that supports the peer review process for multiple assignment submissions. Coursera and Google worked closely with Adobe to seamlessly integrate the offer into the learning experience and went out of their way to ensure that all enrollees are aware of this special offer.
“Being able to share my work through peer feedback and really see my product come together as the courses progressed was encouraging. I could directly see my skills improve and my toolkit expand.” – Daijah R.
Connect with peers and improve interview techniques
Google wanted to meet learners where they’re at and focused on making the program as flexible as possible. People can learn on their own time and at their own pace, balancing working in their current jobs with upleveling their skills. At a suggested pace of 5-10 hours of study per week, it’s possible to complete the program in approximately six months.
“Though the program is self-paced, we also wanted to incorporate peer learning into our training,” Courage explains. “Peer reviews on assignments are a big part of that effort, as is our discussion forum, where learners can connect with each other, ask questions about course material, and share helpful tips. It’s been great to have a lively forum that empowers learners to say, ‘Hey, I need help with this,’ and get the support they need.”
The Google UX Design Certificate also includes free career resources (such as interview tips, mock interviews, resume workshops, and career coaching sessions) that program graduates can use during their job search.
To ensure the program works for remote learners now and in the future, the team also incorporated feedback from beta testers who worked through the program from their homes.
Prepare for a career in a high-growth field
Thousands of people at Google work in UX – across design, research, content strategy and writing, and engineering. As the field continues to grow, it has made perfect sense for the company to invest further in the design practice, standards and values by teaching people the skills they need to fill the many open roles waiting for qualified talent.
“Today, UX design is seen as a critical part of a successful business,” Courage points out. “A huge part of acquiring and retaining users is ensuring their experiences with products are seamless and delightful. We need more people with design backgrounds in leadership roles to infuse products with empathy and a user-first approach. And we are seeing these roles emerge with more CEOs and executives coming from the design world. It’s an exciting time for the field, and there are plenty of opportunities for people to grow in this career.”
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