My UX/UI Design Bootcamp Experience
This last year was a tough one for all of us. The uncertainties that came from a global pandemic, the rising number of unemployment and the increasingly low number of opportunities, and the overall stress and anxiety for our health and future had us all scared for what was to come.
I was one of many who lost their job due to the covid-19 pandemic, and for a while, I didn't know what my next steps were going to be. Before the pandemic, I was an account manager for a specialty coffee and tea distribution company, but I was wanting to find a way to pivot my career in a more creative field where I could still utilize my skills I had obtained from my experience.
Then along came my discovery of UX design. A job where I can finally take advantage of my creative side while also utilizing my communication and collaboration skills, as well as my empathetic nature? Wow - it was my match made in heaven!
As I was figuring out the best path to learn more about this industry, I decided to go with the bootcamp route. I knew I wanted a more organized and structured learning system and needed something to hold me accountable to continue learning and pushing myself. Not to mention, the opportunity to immerse myself in the design community through a structured learning program was attractive to me.
I decided to enroll in CareerFoundry's UX immersion program and specialize in UI, and I'm so happy I made this decision. Learning the basic framework of UX and UI design gave me the knowledge and skills to feel confident in this new industry. Having access to mentors and tutors was also a great way to learn from experts in the field and have guidance throughout the course. The relationships I built through this program were some of the most valuable components of this bootcamp.
I had a great experience with my design bootcamp, however, I believe the reason I did is because of the efforts I put into my come-up outside of my course work. I wanted to share some tips for those who are either currently in a bootcamp or considering enrolling on how you can make the most of your experience.
1. Build a relationship with your mentor and/or tutor
If your bootcamp doesn't assign you a mentor or tutor, I would highly recommend finding a mentor yourself. My mentors gave me such great insights into the industry that I didn't receive from the course. Building a relationship with your mentor and having insightful conversations are great ways to get realistic expectations of a UX career that you wouldn't otherwise get from your coursework. This is also a great way to start to build your design network and immerse yourself in the community.
2. Do extra work outside of your course
Join design challenges, hackathons, or create a design challenge with classmates! The more work you do, the more you will grow your skills and have valuable pieces for your portfolio. Collaboration is such a huge part of design, so having multiple case studies in your portfolio that show you can collaborate with others is huge!
3. Join webinars and other educational conversations related to design
Continue to educate yourself outside of your coursework. There is so much to learn in this industry, so you won't even come close to learning everything from your bootcamp. CareerFoundry does a nice job of offering webinars through their program, but you can find many others on different sites such as MeetUp or LinkedIn!
4. Network early
You really can't start networking too early. Set up informational interviews early and often! Build your network before you graduate, then by the time you're finished with your program, you already have a community of designers that you can go back to and let them know you're graduated and ready to start your first design job. You never know where and how you'll find that first opportunity in the design world.
Bootcamps aren't for everyone, and I completely understand that. For me, it was the perfect route, so I wanted to share my experience with others who might feel uncertain if they want to embark on a program or not.
If you want to know more about my experience, please don't hesitate to reach out!