Going to college to learn UX design might be futile because there are very few universities that offer the subject, none that offer an exclusive degree. It is here that the UX design bootcamp is gaining widespread adoption among user experience design aspirants.
A popular alternative to expensive and time-consuming degrees in the US, bootcamps are gaining ground in India for the same reasons. The bootcamp model is built on the lines of the gruelling training programs for military recruits. Just like a new recruit is prepared for military operations in a short span of time, a bootcamp makes you job-ready in a few months. In this blog post, let’s take a look at what is a UX bootcamp, how to choose one and will it get you a job.
UX Design Bootcamp: What is it?
A bootcamp is an intensive online program focusing on a specific skill set, completed within a shorter span of time, compared to traditional college degrees. The bootcamp model of learning is geared towards making you employable. The environment is more hands-on, offering considerable practical experience, than a traditional classroom.
Bootcamps combine the flexibility of an online program and the intensity of an offline bootcamp. This means that you can learn at your own time while maintaining the overall pace of the program to complete the course in time. A UX bootcamp is one that offers a comprehensive introduction to the field of UX design. It will cover aspects of UI/UX design, include portfolio projects and give you the skills you need to begin your UX design career.
What to Look for in a Bootcamp?
UX bootcamp is an effective, speedy and convenient way to learn UX design. It will quickly give you the practical skills you need to take advantage of the UX career opportunities that are rapidly opening up in India. But not all bootcamps are the same. It is important to be cautious while choosing your bootcamp to make sure that it is worth your time, money and ambition. A good UX design bootcamp will teach you the following.
#1 Theoretical foundations of UX design
There is a significant theoretical foundation that you need before beginning to practice UX design. A good UX bootcamp will make sure that you have a clear understanding of both sides of your work: The human component and the design component. It will cover:
- Frameworks to understand the user
- Differences between UI and UX design
- Basic UX design principles
- UX research
- Design thinking and business concepts
In fact, a good bootcamp can help you become a UX Designer in nine months or less.
#2 Problem-solving with design
Articulating and investigating a ‘problem’ — like users not engaging with the site content or too many elements being flagged — is the first step to finding solutions. A bootcamp will train you to examine data, frame questions and conduct the research that will help you understand where an application falls short of the user’s expectation.
After this, it will teach you to hypothesize potential solutions and test them to identify which one suits the problem best.
#3 Practice of UX design
Once you know the problem and have identified the solution, it’s time to put it into practice. A good UX design bootcamp will give you ample opportunities to do this.
- Workflow design
- High-fidelity mockups
It is here that a UX designer learns to use software tools such as Moqups, Figma, Axure, FluidUI, etc.
#4 Portfolio of projects
In a good UX bootcamp, you will not only work on practicing your skills but also build things. At the end of a bootcamp, a UX designer typically has 1-2 projects to add to their portfolio. Many build their projects around their target domain. For example, designing an app for online learning will better your chances in the education industry.
As an emerging field, UX design is not easy to navigate. Often learners have questions about what kind of projects to choose for their portfolio, what tools to get comfortable with, how to devise research to get the most useful answers, how to glean insights from research data etc.
Without a mentor to help answer these questions and clear obstacles in your journey, you might take longer to start your UX design career. A good bootcamp must connect you with seniors in the industry who can guide you through your path to success.
#6 Soft skills and career coaching
Consider this UX design lead role at Microsoft, for instance. Even though it requires skills in research, storyboarding, prototyping, etc., responsibilities also include collaboration, community engagement, persuasion and other soft skills.
Communicating empathetically is an underrated skill for any role — especially so for user-centric roles like UX design. A good bootcamp must also teach you to communicate clearly, present your ideas persuasively, take and give feedback, etc. It should also help you gain good storytelling skills, which will strengthen your portfolio — instead of showing what the result was, you can walk your reader through the user experience journey.
Remember that bootcamps are short-term courses, typically 6-9 months in length. All of the above might seem like too much to learn at that time. However, each of these six points are crucial for you to start a UX design career. If you’re serious about UX design, ensure that your bootcamp offers all of them.
Can a Bootcamp Get You a Job?
Yes, it can. A good bootcamp, which delivers on all of the above six points, will give you everything you need to find a job in the field of UX design. When you complete your bootcamp, you will have the skills, hands-on experience and project portfolio you need to get a job.
It is important to note that often having the skills don’t automatically get you a job. For instance, you might be a great UX designer, but not know how to make a CV that will attract recruiters. Or you might not know how to strategically apply for jobs that you’re most suitable for.
It is here that career coaching helps immensely. A good UX design bootcamp will also offer career coaching, helping you make the transition from education to a career seamlessly. It must help with:
- Defining your job search strategy
- Making a CV
- Creating a web presence
- Building networks and seeking referrals
- Preparing for interviews
- Salary negotiation. etc.
With this support, you will multiply your chances of finding a great UX design career at the end of your program. Springboard’s UI/ UX Design Career Track is built keeping all these factors in mind. It offers job-ready curriculum, 1:1 mentorship with industry leaders, unlimited career coaching and a job guarantee.