Are UX bootcamps worth it?
What is a UX bootcamp?
A UX bootcamp is a short-term training program that provides you with the skills you need to become a UX designer. Bootcamps are named after the recruitment training you see in most armies.
“Recruit training, more commonly known as basic training or regularly boot camp, refers to the initial instruction of new military personnel. Recruit training is a physically and psychologically intensive process, which resocializes its subjects for the demands of military employment.” – Wikipedia
Sounds tough, right? That’s because it is. You will pay a lot of money to learn a lot in a short time (ranging from a few days to a few months).
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Is a UX bootcamp worth it?
UX bootcamps are worth it depending on what you want to achieve by following a UX bootcamp. You have to consider your current experience and level of skills as well. I will explain to you what I mean by that in just a second.
Does any of the following apply to you? If that is the case, a UX bootcamp can be a good fit for you.
- You have (UX) design experience and want to improve as a UX professional by working on a case together with other designers. Most UX bootcamps provide you with a case you can put in your portfolio afterward. This brings me to the next point.
- You want to build a portfolio. Maybe you’ve read many books on UX and followed a few courses to increase your theoretical knowledge of UX, but you lack real-world experience.
- You have recently decided that you want to become a UX designer. Regardless of if you just came out of school or if you have years of experience in a different field.
Something to keep in mind
In some cases, a UX bootcamp might not be your best option just yet. If you are just starting a UX bootcamp might be too intense. In addition to that, most companies will see on in your portfolio that you only have a case from the bootcamp. In that case, the bootcamp is a nice-to-have, not a must-have.
Selecting a good UX bootcamp
Okay, so you have made your choice. You’re going to join a UX bootcamp. Your first challenge is to find the right one. That can be difficult since there are so many to choose from. When selecting a bootcamp, make sure your bootcamp has the following:
- Up-to-date content. UX is ever-evolving. The bootcamp you want to follow needs to be up-to-date on subjects like usability, building your portfolio, and design trends. Just to name a few.
- Networking. Bootcamps need to provide opportunities for you to network with other designers at the camp. One way some bootcamps facilitate this is by opening Facebook or Whatsapp groups. The bootcamp I attended back in 2019 was at a hotel where we all stayed. After class, we had a drink to network and discuss design.
- Work on a (semi-)real case. Bootcamps should provide either real-world cases or a case that mimics a real company. Your instructors can acts out stakeholder roles and help you get real experience working a case.
- Receive feedback. Feedback is important to learn and grow as a designer. The bootcamp you will attend needs to focus on facilitating moments of feedback for you to give and receive.
Let’s be honest. UX bootcamps can be very expensive. That posts like this exists means that it is not a given that UX bootcamps are worth the investment. I get that. There are many cheaper alternatives that most likely will provide you with similar or sometimes even results that are a better fit for you at this moment. Other options are reading UX books or following UX design courses.
Have you completed your first UX bootcamp? Congratulations! You’ve taken your next step in becoming a UX designer. Now that you have momentum going for you I’d suggest you continue like this. Here are a few more suggestions for you to undertake.
- Read your next UX book to further increase your theoretical understanding of UX.
- Build your portfolio by adding the case from your UX bootcamp or any other projects you’ve recently finished. You can even come up with projects to further fill up your portfolio.
- Join a Facebook group with other designers to network.
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