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If you’re ready to shift your career and move into designing software, user experience bootcamps may be a viable alternative to investing the time and money for another degree. As it is in the development community, UX bootcamp programs are springing up and attracting a lot of first time students and career changers.

From my work in the design community and conversations with designers who have done these bootcamps, I’ve come across three noteworthy programs. Which is the best for you? The answer depends on the following categories into which you fall: 1. I am ready to drop everything to change my life and career, 2. I have time and flexibility for a summer intensive, or 3. I am able to take courses at night or online to up my skill set.

Option 1: Commit full time to a User Experience Bootcamp.

AC4D (Austin Center for Design)

Tuition: One Year Program costs $15,000 and 10-day Interaction Design Intensive is $10,000

Based in Austin, Texas, this Social Entrepreneurship course was created by UX designers for UX designers. AC4D offers two different length courses, either ten days or one year. These courses are broken down into different segments, so that you can best decide what kind of learning works for you.

For the ten day courses, designers have the options to choose three different certificates; Disruptive Innovation, Innovation and Public Policy, and Interaction Design.

The year-long course is four semesters with two or three areas of focus. It takes you through the process of design from the beginning to understanding user experience. If you’re making a complete shift, this would be a great way to start your design education.

AC4D has built a great community of alumni. I’ve worked with a few recent graduates who completed this program with solid portfolios and clear understanding of the UX process. They are now at Frog and IBM. Jon Kolko, the founder from SCAD, is active in the Austin design community.

Option 2: Flexibility over the Summer to dive into one or four intensives.

SVA (School for Visual Arts NYC)

Tuition: $1,100 per course

They offer night classes for 5 to 6 weeks in NYC over the Summer.
The core concepts of the courses focus in Interaction with specializations in Mobile, Research Methods, Visual Information. You can take one or all of the courses if your budget allows.

A friend of mine took all of the courses two summers ago. She said the key is figure out your remote schedule if you’re coming from another city. The course work is a little intense during the shortened summer session but completely doable. You just have to remember to budget your time for work, class time, homework and NYC fun time.

General Assembly

Tuition: Full time is $11,500 and part time is $4,000

General Assembly has campuses all over the country. Their 10-week UX designer immersive course, covers what designers need to know about the User Experience. The Instructors are working professionals in the field. While the price can be high for some, the time with the instructors is invaluable and the convenience of multiple campuses as well as online courses are a plus.

I know a few people who are taking these courses to broaden their skill set. The Austin campus is located downtown in the WeWork space, and is super easy to walk to from our downtown tech hub.

There’s a lot of attention around educating designers for the UX industry. With a tech hub there are bootcamps not far behind. Do your own research. Are any of these options viable from a financial or time commitment? Talk to people who have tried and/or completed any of these programs. What kind of jobs are they getting?

If you’re completely new to UX and looking to dip your toes into the subject, check out my post on online resources and classes.

Matt Eng

Matt Eng

DesignOps Manager. Based in Austin,TX. Worked with clients such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ogilvy, RBC, Deloitte, Whirlpool, Polycom, Symantec, and Pebble. Matt teaches, mentors, and speaks about design, creativity, and fostering stronger connections within teams.