Learn what makes a great UX design bootcamp—and how to choose the right one for your career journey in 2023.
Whether you’re considering a career in UX for the first time or are already employed in a related field, a career in UX design can be exciting, rewarding, and even lucrative! However, finding the best route into UX design, or the best UX training program or bootcamp, can sometimes seem daunting if you haven’t investigated it before and aren’t sure which option is the best for you.
The internet is full of UX training bootcamps, however not all of them are created equal, and not every bootcamp will be right for you. Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on not just the academic rigor of the course, but also your personal circumstances. This will include your desired career path, allocated budget, and the time you have available to study around other commitments.
Here we’ll explain what a UX bootcamp is, before we explore what makes a good UX training program and identify some of the best UX bootcamps available for 2023.
A UX bootcamp is an in-depth, immersive, and often intensive training program for anyone looking to start a career in UX design.
A UX bootcamp will normally take students through a comprehensive syllabus of learning to support them in becoming ready for a career in UX design. Typically, a quality UX bootcamp will be career-focused and cover everything from the basics of UX design and the tools used by UX designers through to creating a professional portfolio and applying for jobs.
Criteria: What Makes a Good UX Bootcamp?
There are a plethora of UX bootcamps on offer, which can make it confusing when trying to assess which UX training program is ‘the best’ (or at least the best for you). The truth is each UX bootcamp has its own unique offering, all with their own merits. Reviews, academic rigor, and the industry connections associated with a UX bootcamp are incredibly important—however most people will benefit from selecting a UX bootcamp that also works best for their learning preferences and current situation.
What this looks like for you will depend on a number of different variables, such as your level of experience, how much time you have available to study, and the career path you’re looking to pursue. However, there are many factors that you’ll want to consider before committing to studying in a UX bootcamp, including:
Course Reputation & Reliability
Unique UX Design Portfolios
Scope of Learning
Course Reputation & Reliability
If you’re looking to study to gain work in UX design, rather than for personal interest, you may want to pay particular attention to the course content of each UX training program. Studying the wrong elements of UX design, or opting for a course that misses out on key elements, may make you less qualified for some jobs. To avoid making the wrong decision, research the quality of any UX bootcamps you’re interested in enrolling on.
Here are some questions to ask:
Was the course content created by UX experts?
Is the syllabus up-to-date and does it cover all of the latest methods, trends, tools, and software typically used by UX designers?
How well respected is it in the industry?
Where have alumni from the course found work, and what are their opinions of their learning experience?
Depending on which bootcamp you're considering, the online format might look a little bit different. Some emphasize a course format with a single instructor, where you're expected to attend the sessions live (similar to how traditional universities run their remote classes). Others offer pre-recorded lessons that you can consume on your own time.
The best UX design bootcamps offer a mixture of live and pre-recorded (or pre-written) course material to help you truly master the material, no matter what your learning style or daily schedule demands are.
Speaking of daily schedule demands … UX design bootcamps can vary when it comes to minimum required study time. Many courses offer part-time and full-time options, however some are more intense than others.
Be realistic about how much time you have to study around work and other commitments, as well as your current level of knowledge against the intensity and rigor of the course. Because of the intense nature of the bootcamp format, you will likely face tight turnaround deadlines at some point that require focus and marathon-level commitment.
As a designer, your portfolio is your best job search marketing tool. It's a visual resume that not only helps you land your first job in the field of UX/UI design, but also grow and uplevel your career trajectory.
A UX portfolio is something that you’ll want to build on throughout your career and can be useful for securing better positions and even freelance work. However, it can be especially important when you’re first starting out and have little direct UX experience, as it will be one of your main tools for communicating your ability to potential employers.
Some bootcamps offer a static list of portfolio projects that you can choose from, which means that all graduates walk away with similar, generic portfolios.
However, prospective employers don't just look at the aesthetics of your portfolio. They also consider the types of projects that you've chosen to include, which means that your portfolio should be uniquely created for the career path that you want to pursue.
To ensure you’re going to come out of the UX bootcamp with the type of portfolio you’re looking for, it’s best to take a look at the portfolios of graduates coming out of the program before you enroll. Make sure to check they’re different from each other, and tell an individual story!
Scope of Learning
It’s not uncommon for students to find that their interests and career ambitions may change slightly as they learn more about UX. There are many different positions in UX design, as well as lots of crossover with other areas, such as UI design. While a shorter, more limited course may suit some, a more comprehensive program will often cover a greater depth and breadth of topics, often presenting better post-graduation employment opportunities.
Make sure that the UX design bootcamp you choose offers learning across the full UX process, including topics like UX research, information architecture, interaction design, UI design, prototyping, testing, and handoff.
One of the most popular aspects of choosing a UX design bootcamp for your learning journey is that the cost of investment tends to be far less than a more traditional university path.
(And, unlike universities, bootcamp instructors are usually working designers that teach practical, implementable skills rather than theoretical concepts that don't hold in a real workplace setting.)
While a career in UX can be lucrative, the financial commitment represents a significant investment for many. To maximize your investment, there are a few things to keep in mind throughout your research process:
Going for the cheapest course may not always be the best option if it doesn’t offer the best return on investment in terms of the program’s content, reputation, mentorship, support, and potential employment prospects. It’s usually best to consider cost in relation to the rigor and quality of the course itself, rather than in isolation.
It’s also worth mentioning that many UX providers, including Designlab, offer scholarship programs. Entry requirements and the amount covered by any scholarship fund is usually different depending on the provider.
Some employers sponsor or reimburse ongoing learning expenses that you can take advantage of to pay for part (or all) of your bootcamp experience.
In all cases, make sure to double check the timeline of financial commitment, so you know exactly what you're expected to pay and when.
If learning on your own with no (or minimal) feedback was ideal, then we could all become UX designers simply by watching YouTube videos and practicing design challenges online.
However, receiving personalized feedback on your work from a professional design mentor is one of the most powerful ways to grow as a new UX designer.
When looking at a bootcamp, find out whether they offer mentorship (individual or group) as a part of the program ... and how involved your mentor will be with your coursework and questions along the way.
How to Find UX Design Bootcamp Reviews From Students
Throughout this article, we've done our best to present an unbiased, factual summary of what the best UX design bootcamps are—and what they do or do not offer to students.
However, it can also be helpful to look through student reviews to get a more nuanced look into the program experience.
Here we’ve identified the top ten most popular, high-quality, rigorous, employer-friendly, and well-respected UX bootcamps that are currently live and accepting new students in 2023:
Duration: 30 weeks (20 hrs/week part time) or 15 weeks (40 hrs/week full time)
UX Academy is an intensive online program that equips you with the UX/UI design skills you need to land your first product design role.
Designlab is one of the leading UX/UI training providers, with a focus on mentor-led quality learning and rigorous, career-focused curriculum. Through a part-time or full-time track, our UX bootcamp teaches in-demand UX/UI design skills and is designed for those looking to transition into a career in UX design.
Through over 480 hours of study, students complete 100+ hands-on exercises and build a valuable professional portfolio with four in-depth portfolio projects, with the help of mentorship from top designers. UX Academy covers everything from the fundamental UX topics through Design Thinking, interaction design considerations, and more—all to ensure you get a thorough understanding across the full UX design process.
There’s also a huge focus on community, such as with weekly Group Crits, lively and engaged Slack communities, and a Student Life Committee that runs empower hours, meet and greets, and virtual field trips.
As a prerequisite to UX Academy, Designlab offers a short introductory course UX Academy Foundations, which is ideal for those new to the field of UX design. Lasting 4 to 8 weeks, the course covers visual and UI design and ends in a final project you can use in your UX Academy application—as well as a $500 discount off your UX Academy tuition.
Pros and cons: UX Academy is widely recognized as being comprehensive, with perhaps the most rigorous curriculum of any UX bootcamp out there, and therefore some of the highest quality graduate portfolios. However, the course does assume some prior UX design knowledge, which makes completing the UX Academy Foundations course necessary in most cases.
2. UX Design Institute
Duration: 6 months (5 hours/week)
The UX Design Institute offers online training in user experience design, and is accredited in association with Glasgow Caledonian University, The UX Design Institute aims to provide professionals and employers with a tangible, straightforward and objective measure by which to assess and prove UX skills and knowledge.
The course is conducted fully online through videos, webinars and a Slack channel where students can ask questions, share tips and resources. Throughout the online program, students focus on course materials that cover the essential pieces of the UX design process.
Pros and cons: Students report that the course material is insightful and comprehensive, but may lack practical relevance with real-life scenarios. Despite the active support and online community, students also do not receive personalized feedback on course projects, which can make it challenging to know where they're doing well, and where they may need to grow.
Duration: 6-10 months
CareerFoundry’s UX Design program is an online bootcamp which features comprehensive modules for students looking to switch careers into UX/UI design, web development, or data analytics. Based in Berlin, Germany, CareerFoundry offers courses to students all around the world. Lasting under 10 months, their course is flexible, allowing students to learn around other commitments.
Taking a human-centric approach to learning, the course includes access to a tutor, mentor, and detailed written and video feedback. Their program covers the main skills that employers look for, including the tools most commonly used by those working in UX design. The CareerFoundry UX bootcamp has two core modules, Intro to UX Design and UX Immersion, as well as the option to choose a specialism in UI for Designers, Voice User Interface Design, or Frontend Development for Designers.
Pros and cons: In reviews, CareerFoundry’s UX offering is often praised for being well structured, and set at a good pace. Their helpful mentors are also popular, although some have highlighted a little less support with help to find a job once the course has concluded, as well as fewer portfolio projects than other options.
4. Flatiron School
Duration: 15 weeks
Format: Online & In Person
In addition to courses in software engineering, data science, and cybersecurity, Flatiron School provides a 15-week Product Design Bootcamp. Also available for part time study (over 20, 40, or 60 weeks), the course is provided predominantly online, although prior to the pandemic some on-campus study could be completed in key US cities, including New York, Chicago, and Austin. Core modules include the UX and UI process. This is complemented by hands-on learning and tutorials on compiling a professional portfolio.
Pros and cons: Flatiron School’s offering is perhaps one of the most inclusive study options, as well as one of the most flexible to study. However, compared to some other UX bootcamps it is a little more pricey and does not offer a job guarantee.
5. General Assembly
Duration: 12 - 24 weeks
Format: Online & In Person
With 15 campuses over four continents, General Assembly offers several tech courses that are available to study either remotely or on-campus in multiple US cities and international hubs such as New York, London, Paris, and Toronto. Their User Experience Design Immersive bootcamp, available for study full-time or part-time covers the fundamentals of UX and UI, as well as Design Iteration and Development. There are also other units including on how to plan your career and work with product teams.
Pros and cons: General Assembly’s bootcamp is comprehensive, fun to learn, and has one of the best alumni networks. While the course offers some mentorship it’s not as well developed as some similar courses and the pace of study can also be less flexible for those wanting to study around other commitments—there’s also a pretty large price tag.
6. Interaction Design Foundation
Cost: $16/month membership (paid annually)
Duration: 12 weeks/course
Format: Online & In Person
Interaction Design Foundation offers a few different UX bootcamps, including UX Fundamentals (for beginners), UX Portfolio & Career (for those with prior working knowledge of UX), and bootcamps focusing on User Research and User Interface Design. The courses are all remote learning, part-time (8-10 hours for 12 weeks) and have a focus on real-world learning and preparing students for the job market.
Pros & Cons: Interaction Design Foundation’s offering is one of the most affordable and offers lots of support including critique on portfolios and mock interviews. It’s also very focused on UX specifically, meaning that related principles and learning can be missed, and some students have reported that their bootcamps are more suited to people who need to upgrade their existing UX portfolio, rather than learn the craft from scratch.
Duration: 9 weeks (full time) or 24 weeks (part time)
Format: Online & In Person
Ironhack’s UX/UI bootcamp is designed around helping students get a job in tech and covers fundamental UX elements including user experience, research, Figma, design thinking, and user interface. The course can be studied full-time in 9 weeks, or part-time in 24 weeks, and is suitable for beginners. It’s possible to study the course remotely, as well as in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Lisbon, Madrid, Mexico City, Miami, Paris, and Sao Paulo.
Pros and cons: Often voted the most ‘beginner friendly’, Ironhack’s UX/UI bootcamp is also one of the best rated. The course can be completed in a relatively short amount of time, however it offers relatively limited self-directed learning for those who prefer more independent study.
8. Learn.UI design
Cost: $995–$2,495 USD
Duration: Self-paced (22 hours of video material + exercises)
Although Learn.UI design leads with its UI course, this provider also offers a very practical, comprehensive UX online bootcamp. Video-based, the course includes 31 lessons and covers the fundamentals of UX design, including the tools needed to work as a UX designer and the common methods and processes used in the field.
The videos are broken down into six key areas on the syllabus, including the fundamentals of interaction design, design patterns and best practices, user research and testing, and communicating design. The bootcamp aims to bring beginners up to a professional standard, and comes with downloadable exercises, checklists, and a community chat function which allows students to connect with each other.
Pros and cons: The Learn.UI design UX/UI offering is well established and has a reputation for providing great practical skills. This also means that it is less theoretical in nature and not as heavily focused as some other bootcamps on aspects such as design thinking. It also lacks mentorship or career coaching.
Cost: $11,900 USD
Duration: 6-9 months
With a range of online courses across different tech disciplines, Springboard also has online design-led bootcamps, including Introduction to Design, a 4-week mentor-led course which provides a comprehensive overview of design fundamentals. For those looking for in-depth and career-focused study, Springboard also has a 6-month UX Career Track bootcamp, as well as a 9-month UI/UX Design Career Track course which also includes study on UI design. Requiring around 15-20 hours of study a week to complete, their courses are flexible with a focus on mentorship, access to thought leaders and learning practical skills.
Pros and cons: This is one of the highest rated UX bootcamps out there. It has many benefits including a job guarantee, good mentorship, and the course also includes an industry design project which can be great to show employers. Some reviews have highlighted that parts of the offering are a little dated, and that a lot of the material is sourced from external resources rather than produced in-house.
Cost: $14,823 USD
Duration: 6-9 months
Thinkful offers a remote learning UX/UI design bootcamp, with flexible payment options and support from industry professionals and mentors. The bootcamp takes around 5-6 months to complete, depending on the option you go for, with some courses also available to study part-time.
The UX/UI Bootcamp, which matches students with career coaches, provides a comprehensive run down of the key fundamentals in UX/UI design—with modules including UX/UI Design Fundamentals and Visual Design. The bootcamp also includes modules which guide students in designing their first product, how to build a professional portfolio, and how to start a job search after graduation.
Pros and cons: Thinkful’s bootcamp offers good front-end fundamentals and is one of the best for career coaching options. It’s also reasonably priced, however the course does take longer (at least 5 months) than many others to complete.
If you're serious about making a career switch into the field of UX and product design, there are many great UX design bootcamps available to help you gain the skills you need.
As you research your options, focus on the details of what you'll learn, how you'll learn, and whether personalized support (like mentorship or career coaching) is available along the way.
Make sure you fully understand the time commitment associated with the bootcamp of your choice, since these programs tend to be fairly rigorous.
If you’re interested in exploring our UX Academy program as one of your UX bootcamp options, you can book a call with an Admissions Rep to learn more. We’d also recommend checking out the prerequisite course, UX Academy Foundations.