The field of user experience is still relatively new as a discipline, but technology has advanced in a direction that has caused it to explode. Along with that explosion of jobs has come an explosion of educational opportunities, especially if you are looking to make money by doing UI/UX Design in San Francisco, CA. So how do you know what type of program is right for you, and are these user experience design boot camps worth the money? The answer is, of course, it depends.
Your Background and Goals
If you have a degree in Human-Computer Interaction, User Experience, or some other design degree that is intended to turn you into a user experience specialist, you can probably safely skip the boot camp. Most of the programs have a curriculum that covers the general process and outputs required of a user interface designer. They will only cover the same topics you learned in your university coursework, but at a more superficial level. They are trying to cram your four years into a few days or weeks after all.
If your background is in a related discipline like psychology, library science, graphic design, or computer science, a design Bootcamp might be a good way to extend your skills and give you an idea of what skills you’ll need to land a job in the field.
According to an informal survey of General Assembly boot camp attendees reported in “Are UX Design Bootcamps Worth It?”, Nina Gannes reported that early career students benefit much more than later career students.
Gannes offers a few explanations for this, including that the population is not ideal for a truly comprehensive study. However, it does strongly imply that older workers who are transitioning careers may want to consider another educational path.
In “The UX of Learning UX is Broken” Dan Maccarone and Sarah Doody assert that using a design boot camp as a primary source of design education is not effective. The requirements of each job role, industry, and hiring manager very too much to gain a full education with even an intensive boot camp.
We agree. A design boot camp should not be your only education in the world of UX and UI, so if your goal is to take a boot camp and land a great job, you may want to rethink your plan.
A boot camp course could be helpful if you:
- Are exploring the field of UX/UI design and want to get a feel for the work.
- Want to round out your skills and already have a little experience or a related degree
- Are looking at a specialized program to gain a more in-depth view of a new tool, area of UX, or methodology. A Design Thinking, user research, or UX writing boot camp could be a great way to explore or specialize.
All boot camp programs are not created equal. Before you sign up for one. do a little research to make sure it meets your needs and goals. Key factors include:
- Curriculum – do the topics and exercises match your goals?
- Time Commitment – is this a full-time one-week course, a few hours a week over 6 or 8 weeks? Does that fit in with your current schedule
- Reputation – Is the boot camp being taught by reputable, experienced staff? Will the name on your resume mean anything to potential employers?
- End results – Is there a certificate or certification offered at the end of the course? Is there a test required?
To help you get started, here is a list of some of them:
- Flatiron School – San Francisco, CA
- SF Bootcamps
- General Assembly – UX Design Immersive SF
- Interaction Design Foundation