Best UX Bootcamps: Reviewed & Updated for 2021
Demand for UX designers has been met with a proportionate supply of UX educational options: online UX courses to degree programs and yes – UX bootcamps.
UX Bootcamps attempt to offer students with no formal product design experience an immersive learning environment.
You’re probably considering a UX bootcamp to gain enough skills for (at least) an entry level UX design position. Most bootcamps worth their salt offer students mentorship, hands-on instruction and projects to build a UX portfolio.
Yet, not all UX bootcamps are the same. That’s why we wrote this guide to help you navigate your UX bootcamp options.
What we’ll cover today…
Everyone has their own learning style, and UX bootcamps are one of many learning options. If you’re a self starter, here’s our list of the best UX books and list of the best a-la-carte UX courses. For existing UX professionals, the Guide to UX Certifications is also worth checking out.
– Oz Chen, reviewer & founder of UXBeginner.com
Note: There are affiliate links to the recommendations on this page, meaning we make a commission when you click the links and make a purchase. This is at no cost to you and helps support our free site.
QUICK PICKS: TOP UX BOOTCAMPS
DesignLab does just one thing—design bootcamps, and it does it quite well. Its Academy has some of the most satisfied alum who claim that the instructors had tons of knowledge. It’s one of the lowest-cost immersive online bootcamps, with solid support even after completing the program.
Flatiron School offers a top Product Design (UX/UI) bootcamp designed for serious career changers who want to graduate with a UX portfolio. Top notch instruction and industry staff. They offer a live, 15-week immersive program, as well as a flex options over 20, 40, or 60 weeks.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: GREAT FOR OTHER REASONS
UX Bootcamp Reviews
Full time + part time
We named DesignLab as the Best Overall UX Bootcamp based on satisfaction rates after students have completed the programs. According to student reviews, UX Academy has excellent instructors, materials, and support.
DesignLab is known for its rigor, with 100+ hands on exercises, 12 group critiques and a dedicated mentor. It’s also one of the lowest-cost immersive online bootcamps, with solid support even after completing the program.
- Focused exclusively on design courses
- Reportedly the most rigorous online UX bootcamp
- They pretty much waive the fee for the prerequisite Design 101, which means you get a crash course in design for free. (Note: you can apply to skip this crash course).
- Might be more challenging than expected by UX beginners – for better or worse!
- Assumes a little bit of design knowledge
- Does not have an industry design project w/a real company, though class projects are quite challenging
$6649 for those who’ve completed the UX Foundations course, or $7,149 for complete beginners.
Compared to self-paced bootcamps, Flatiron School students enrolled in Live/Full-time programs are assigned a cohort and learn closely with their peers. This is an intense, high-accountability format of learning that is specifically designed to help career changers transition into UX design. Flatiron School is also well-regarded in their alumni and employer network.
- Different options to fit your schedule. The Live 15 week program is for serious career transitioners. Their Flex program of 20, 40 or 60 weeks offers more options but take more time to get through for busy professionals.
- High accountability through your cohort, teachers, mentors career coaches
- Large alumni network
- At the time of this writing, the program costs $16,900, so it’s priced on the premium side.
- Similar to other bootcamps, there is no job guarantee
IDF has been an online UX school since 2002, but just recently offered its new Get a New Job in UX Design Bootcamp. This is a unique 8 week program focused on job prep: build 2-3 portfolio projects, create a portfolio website, and finish your UX resume & cover letter.
This is a great option if you don’t have a UX project yet – you’ll get guidance on choosing up to 3 projects with your mentor. Also perfect for DIY learners or students from other programs looking for extra support to complete their portfolio in order to start their UX job search.
- 12+ rounds of portfolio critique from a UX mentor
- Unique benefit: recruiter call with Bamboo Crowd and or Creative Circle
- Mock interviews, resume & cover letter review for interview readiness
This is not a traditional full-length bootcamp for UX beginners. It’s geared towards designers with some UX knowledge and an idea of which projects they want to do. At only 2 months long, participants should be prepared to work heavily on their UX projects.
Full time + part time
Springboard is one of pioneers of the purely-online, mentor-assisted UX bootcamp. It’s curriculum is extensive, the program is well respected, and they compare well to other UX bootcamps like DesignLab and General Assembly.
What we like about them is that they have one of the best mentorship programs with weekly 1-on-1 calls with unlimited opportunities to speak with mentors. Students who can tough out the long curriculum have the opportunity to work on an industry design project with a real company.
It’s important to note that students must meet minimum job experience and/or degree requirements to join a cohort.
- Has an industry design project—if you make it through the extensive curriculum first
- Job guarantee
- Mentors, career coaches and large alumni network
- Some parts of the curriculum are a bit dated, though mentors can help fill that gap
- Lack of working with other students & teammates, e.g. no group critiques like DesignLab
- The UX/UI track is particularly long at 9 months
Treehouse’s UX Techdegree gets an honorable mention because it’s the most accessible in terms of price, time requirement and flexibility. At only $200/month (most students complete within 3 months), the UX Techdegree is great for DIY learners on a budget.
- Compared to other UX bootcamp curriculum that often links out to free resources (read this article, watch this video), all of Treehouse’s content is premium, and produced in-house
- Treehouse’s interactive exercises, quizzes and challenges are among the best
- Video lectures are very polished and professional, with great visuals that help illustrate UX concepts.
- No job guarantee
- No hands-on mentors and career coaches
- Newer program compared to DesignLab or Springboard
UX Techdegree costs $200/month and is flexible – most students finish within 3 months, making the total cost a very affordable $600.
You can also check out Treehouse’s individual UX courses before committing to the Techdegree. Their monthly subscription is $29.99/mo or only $14.99/month if you buy the annual plan (check out the pricing page). You get a 7 day free trial to binge-learn.
Why didn’t you include ____ Bootcamp?
2020 accelerated the move to fully remote learning. We previously recommended in-person bootcamps like General Assembly and BrainStation, known for their immersive, live instruction. They are still good options once the pandemic is over, but they’re also at much higher price tags (think $10K+). Fully online bootcamps have also closed the gap in their learning experience with 1-on-1 mentorship, active Slack groups and community resources.
We also didn’t want to increase cognitive load by commenting on every UX bootcamp under the sun—like in our UX Books post, we believe that the best bootcamp is the one you’re most likely the finish. We are confident that one of these UX bootcamps will lead to the highest completion & success rates.
Our methodology for reviewing UX bootcamps
Source 3: This is our secret sauce. Between Oz and Tara, who’ve both served as UX mentors and career coaches at several of the top UX bootcamps, and are able to give an in-depth and fair analysis of the elements that make the most impact to UX students and career changers.
Fill out our bootcamp survey
If you recently completed a UX bootcamp, here’s a 2021 UX Bootcamp Review survey – we can use your help. We’ll start formally collecting responses over the next few months and report a summary of updated boootcamp ratings.
What should I do next?
Like we mentioned at the top of this page, UX Bootcamps are great for the serious career transitioner willing to invest time, work and money.
For those just starting out, we at UXBeginner recommend UX courses and short classes first, since these are cheaper options that are easy to cancel or have free trial periods.