Can you be a UX Designer after a 10-week course?

Tom Scott


May 17, 2019

The UX industry is torn on boot camps. I have clients who’ll not hire from bootcamps and some who rave and would take a bootcamp graduate over a university student.

The short answer to the title is, it depends on a few factors.

1. Background before the course

If you’re moving into UX from a design background, where you’ve been working with UX practitioners, understand some of the processes, what’s required etc, perfect. If you’ve been an industrial designer and used to working on research, iterating, prototyping etc. A previous career which gives you exposure to customers for me is a head start because you are in the mindset of “customer first”.

2. Your first UX job

You land your first UX job. Score.

You’re bound to be a little apprehensive regardless if you’re from a design background or something completely different. I believe you’ll be job-ready if you go into a company where you have a big team around you, mentorship whilst working on a small project and then growing your career from there.

Are you ever ready for your first role? Again it depends on the person and if they prefer being thrown in the deep end or start small and build from there.

As Guy Ligertwood said after his course “I got a job a short contract after my 3 months immersive with General Assembly and it felt like I was driving on the wrong side of the road with no power steering with one eye closed and two flat tyres”.

3. How much effort you put into your course

Your course is as good as you make it. If you’re putting more work in, going away doing extra work on areas you need to develop and working on side projects from what you’ve learned you can excel your career rapidly.

You can’t beat going to Hackathons, networking, looking into side projects and using design tasks to use for portfolio builders.

4. Course teacher

I’ve learned through my own education, the teacher can make or break your studies. I’d advise when searching for a course look into who’ll be teaching you, their background, have they taught before etc. A teacher should inspire you to be better.

I noticed on one course how students rave about a few teachers, and they seem to seem more confident about landing a job than a course I once spoke to who didn’t connect with their teacher.

My conclusion

Your studies don’t make you a UX Designer.
A 3-month course doesn’t make you a UX Designer, just like a 4-year degree doesn’t.

Boot camps are doing a fantastic job to let people make a career switch to have a more fulfilled life, do meaningful work and we need more of them in different industries because how you learn on these courses through experimental learning which you “learn through reflection by doing” with live projects is amazing.

I do feel they should be longer, for example, Flatiron which is over 24 weeks.

What makes you a UX Designer is your attitude to networking and approach to the job market to get your first role.

Sam Perryman explained what worked for him in his job search across the globe in Sydney “Get involved in the community. Go to meetups, hackathons, info nights etc and demonstrate your passion. In addition to mentors, reach out to great designers and company’s and learn what it takes to be one or be hired by one. I’ve learned so much by reaching out. Not everyone is receptive but many are more than happy to help.”

After travelling last year to different countries to explore what works to get your first role, it’s the same process everywhere.