Thank you so much!! I’ll look at those, I didn’t realize Coursera had mentors.
@wendypei: Thank you so much for your feedback and thoughts! I really appreciate it! The DesignLab UX Academy does look great - curriculum, mentors, price and job placement within 6 months all looks so good…but since it is a relatively new program, there haven’t been too many reviews yet. I’m glad to hear you had a wonderful experience and more importantly, and you were able to find a position afterwards.
Great answer from @SteveCrow about the advantages and drawbacks of CF. Allow me to offer my two cents as a CF dropout (more on that later).
As Steve mentioned, the course structure is not very well organized and I have thought “Well, why am I supposed to do that now?” more than once. Creating digital prototypes and then going back to paper prototypes is one example of that.
The course is organized as 9 chapters which have 6 to 11 tasks within. Each task comes with a written course content (Supported by images and videos) that describes a subject. Quite frequently, the course content is irrelevant to the task. For example, during the prototyping chapter, the tasks ask you to prototype different features of the tool you’re designing while the course content deals with usability in detail.
Another issue is that, as far as I can see the mentors don’t go through a detailed training about CF and the course structure. I’ve worked with two mentors during my course (I had to change midways), they had different views about the content and actually were discovering the process with me On one hand, this is a turn-off. On the other, (depending on the mentor’s experience and attitude) this allows you to work closely with a professional and overcome some process-related challenges, which is something you’ll do on a daily basis in the industry.
Generally, what I loved about the CF has been the ability to work closely with mentors and the community. The course content worked as a starting point for me and I read (+ watched) every source online I could get my hands on.
About me & CF: I started the UX course on CF in November 2015, hoping to finish in May 2016. I had already 8 years of experience in digital ad agencies and was working full time as a Creative Group Head. My experiences and job included UX design as well but I wanted to switch to a job where UX design would be my main concern. Because of working full time I wasn’t able to finish the course on time (I was only halfway through it when I ran out of time). However, at that time I had already found a new job (In the IoT project of a large home appliance company) and with that I had reached my initial goal. With the new job, I knew I wouldn’t be able to dedicate enough time to CF and the longer I continued, the bigger the dent would be in my budget So I dropped out. But still reading and learning as much as I can about UX design.
Good luck @pchheda16, hope this helps!
Well obviously I agree with the comments made by Berk ( @bssenol ) Yes the written content sometimes seems superfluous to the actual assignment. That, and because of the strange almost random order, makes retaining the information that much harder.
I am nearly certain there is no specific training (or very little) that the mentor’s receive - the mentoring side of their program needs more attention
Yes, @SteveCrow is correct, the mentors at CF receive no training. They do get access to the course early and are supposed to familiarize themselves with the content before mentoring students. The same is true with DesignLab and UX Academy.
Bloc.io doesn’t offer training per se, but they do make sure their mentors have at least 10+ years of experience in the field and have a mentor advisor to help with questions.
Springboard also doesn’t offer any training to their mentors either.
Hi Steve, Sorry that I ask this here, but I have wondered about your CareerFoundly Job Guaranty experience. As like you I have worked in video production for long time. And now I am considering UI Course of CareerFoundly to be a UI designer. So I’d like to hear your experience of the guaranty program and portfolio preparation there. Thank you.
@HAWK - Maybe you can move this question and my response to a thread more directed at UX UI courses?
@wonpyofan Won Pyo Hong - I will be happy to share my experiences but remember this is just my own opinion. I didn’t take the UI course, instead I took the UX (User Experience Design course) but I did have the opportunity to interact daily with UI students on the Slack channels, asked them questions about the course, reviewed some of their work and I downloaded the UI Course Plan document too and reviewed it several times.
In the UX course you graduate with one major responsive web app or project for your portfolio and it’s the same one for everyone unless your mentor gives you permission to work on something else you’d rather work on.
I think the UI course is more structured so that you have more small samples to show for your portfolio. The very last instructional chapter says you will be creating an “entire app from top to bottom” but I hardly see how that’s possible to accomplish in such a short amount of time - so it will probably be more like an early first draft of an app, not something very polished or thought out - that kind of work takes time.
The one major issue I have with the CF UI course is that they hardly touch on at all how to design UI’s for specific platforms like Apple ios or Android/Google Material Design. Instead they talk very very briefly about it in the course and then direct you to some resources on the Web and basically say “now go learn this stuff in detail yourself.” But to my mind, this is such fundamental information to have that it should be the FOCUS of the entire course, after all the course is called UI Design but I really see it more as course in Visual Design principles.
It would be like teaching a course on cooking egg omelettes but hardly discussing eggs!
I’ve talked this over with some folks in the UI course currently and they seem to very much agree with my feelings.
BTW - that’s one thing you WILL get, access to a fantastic student community where the culture is very much for everyone to help each other get through the course with the best possible outcome.
A UI designer that only is able to think in terms of visual design esthetics would make for a poor UI designer in my opinion - the UI course does touch on bigger issues to give the students context but it seems to be a minor part of the training and relies too much on external material. Frankly, I see it in the UI materials I’ve reviewed from the CF UI students, the designs LOOK great but I can’t tell WHY anything was done.
For me I found that I needed to create several other design samples to put in my portfolio that I worked on on my own after graduation or shortly before. You really should aim for 3 good design samples to show in your portfolio at the minimum. Like I said, the UX gave me the material for one major project to show.
You asked about the Job Guarantee. I graduated about a month ago and I have received some support in finding a job, mostly advice on my LinkedIn profile, portfolio and resume. They’ve also submitted my information to recruiters for specific job opportunities in my area but frankly don’t think they will find a job FOR you - you have to do the majority of that work yourself, there are just too many students so it’s quite understandable.
I don’t every actually endorse or recommend the CareerFoundry training programs unless the person I am talking to knows exactly what they will and what they most likely will NOT be getting. Also you have to be willing to go above and beyond the way the course is structured to teach yourself the necessary information. The lessons in the UX and Web Development courses are often confusing and poorly structured and written so that even the CF Mentors don’t seem to understand it well - you will often be going Huh? What do they mean by that? or WHAT do they want me to do?
Will you find a job “you love” within 6 months of graduating? I don’t know but it seems you would have little to lose by trying.
Wow, I never expected such a long feedback with details. I appreciate you for taking time and effort to write it. I was thinking the course would not be like their advertisement, but it is disappointing little more than my expectation. I didn’t decided yet if I will enroll into the course or not because most of offered courses are UX, and it seems there is no replaceable UI course. However now I got to know what I can practically expect with the course. Your feedback was really helpful for me and I think it will be same for others looking for a UI course like me.
If I can ask one more, I’d like to know what you think with finding a job at a late age. I am 48 years old. Do you think it would be an issue eventually?
And you said to move my question and your response. However I don’t know how to do because maybe I am new here. Could you let me know how to move? Then I will move them.
Thank you Steve. I hope you to find a good position soon.
I’ve left a note for one of the UXMastery.com moderators, Sarah Hawk, to move this discussion, I don’t think it’s something either you or I can do for ourselves but I haven’t looked into it.
Once again I have to emphasize this is only my opinion but it is based on some 5 weeks plus out there in the trenches trying to find work and before that on another 4+ years seeking work in the video production field. It is also based on many discussions I’ve had with very talented people in the UX/UI field who are older than the typical 24 year old seeking their first design opportunity.
Unfortunately I don’t have good news for you in regards to age and starting a career in UI or UX. Now I am speaking here of hiring practices in the United States and to some extent Europe - it could be different in other areas of the world with different cultural attitudes and I invite you to consider that factor. Age discrimination is very much a factor after 45 years of age, I’m 55 and can assure you this is a fact here in the United States and in particular in “Silicon Valley.” The wealth of additional experience you could bring to an employer is not valued.
For legal reasons employers will use terms like “over qualified” “concerns over cultural fit” or “team dynamics” but these are just code words for something much more basic; discrimination. It’s not impossible to find a position if you are both older AND have little direct experience in the field but it is much much harder, just know that going in.
But why not try it anyways? A formal education in UI with a graduation certificate at the end iis not the only way to learn the necessary skills, you can easily piece together your own educational path by taking cheap, short courses, studying materials on the web, talking to UI pros, reading and more reading, volunteering or seeking internships and through online educational sites like udemy, learning tree, Lynda.com, Youtube etc etc. Nothing will beat time spent doing hands-on work even if that means creating your own projects on your own or with friends.
In the end, what I have been told is that hiring managers at the working level in this field only care if you can do the work - the job postings seem to indicate the opposite with so many asking for advanced degrees but I believe those are being written by HR people and recruiters will little actual knowledge of the field and not by the real department managers. It is well known that the UX and UI field tends to attract people from all sorts of unusual backgrounds and that’s a good thing.
So the CF graduation certificate is not the only thing you will need to find a job in most cases and actually it may be the LEAST important factor.
The key, I believe, is to create your own opportunities and not to expect the normal hiring channels are going to welcome your application with open arms. Use networking to get around those closed doors or consider freelancing, remote work or starting your own small business to gain experience and work samples. Make sure you have a supportive group of friends and try to keep a positive and hopeful attitude despite the odds being stacked more against you than in your favor. For myself I try to remember that courage in anything doesn’t mean you don’t feel fear or uncertainty - it means that you do but you proceed anyway,
Thank you once again for your opinion and thoughtful advise. Yes you are right. For now I should see my plan more practically admitting my disadvantages and deliberate if i will still go for UI even if I end up to be a freelancer. But anyway “hiring managers only care if I can do the work” is a bit positive to me. Thank you so much.
UI is a great area of specialization and should make for an exciting career too as it can lead to so many areas of specialization. I prefer UX because it’s the “bigger picture” on which the UI is eventually based but frankly many many hiring managers don’t know the difference between the two or they actually want both skills in one person and sometimes even more than that.
Unlike video production, there are many openings in the UI UX field to apply to. BUT the hiring managers complain they “can’t find anybody” while the people seeking opportunities can’t get a start since so many job openings ask for 3-5 or even more years of experience. Older workers are rarely considered it seems but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t or can’t happen, it’s just a much tougher road.
Best of luck to you!
I wrote a review about my experiences with the Designlab UX courses (the UX Research & Strategy and the Interaction Design course). You can read it here: https://firstname.lastname@example.org/designlab-course-review-ux-research-strategy-interaction-design-5035ff5e1247#.1nldneiuo
Feel free to ask any questions about my Designlab-experience, I would gladly help!
First and foremost i’d like to thank anyone thus far who has contributed to this thread. It is extremely resourceful for someone brand new to the field and looking for feedback on all the different courses out there.
I was wondering if anyone has any experience with the job guarantees CF and some of the other courses offer?
This is a attractive offering found for myself as I am looking to switch careers into UX hopefully in the next 6mo -1year. It’s always nice having thorough career prep and guidance when coming freshly out of a program.
Hi all future UX/UI designers!
I’m the founder of CareerFoundry and would happily answer any questions you have about our courses here or on email@example.com
95% of our grads to date have found a job in the field within 6 months of graduating. The market for UX/UI design is booming and you will be in demand!
Thanks for taking the time out to respond to the post and answer, really means a lot to a prospective student. Keep an eye out, i’ll probably shoot you an email with more questions
Thanks for your insightful review of your time at UX Academy.
I was wondering, did you feel your design background really helped you? I have no design background.
Also, do you feel you would have had time to do course in 3 months?
Thanks for the great feedback on DesignLab, I signed up for the Design 101 course in January and will follow with the UX Academy if accepted. Good to know of a positive experience from someone whose gone through it.
I’m Laura and I’m a Community Manager at CareerFoundry. Thanks to everyone who shared their experiences - we’ve been working hard on releasing a brand new UX design course, which addresses some of the concerns that are raised here:
The content of the new course was written with leading UXers and curated by our in-house learning experts (who are graduates of Harvard and Berkeley). We researched what skills employers were looking for, and it’s been developed to provide those skills to graduates, so you will be completely prepared for your first role as a UX designer.
Our Mentors have at least 8 years’ experience in UX design, and they’ve been specifically selected for the course based on previous successes in mentoring. You can read more about some of them here. And we’re pleased to say that our mentors are getting wonderful reviews over on Course Report. Something we’ve also added is that students can schedule as many Mentor Skype calls as they need throughout their course, so their Mentor really is with them every step of the way. As well as getting to work with their expert Mentor, CareerFoundry students now also get assigned a Tutor too - someone who has at least 5 years experience in their field (and in many cases, who have also taken an online course, too!)
We know the importance of having a fantastic portfolio, so we’ve put a special focus on portfolio building in this new course. Students will complete at least three projects, putting together a portfolio of work that highlights the design thought process - something employers are specifically looking for. You can also choose your projects, based on the areas you are most interested in.
As Martin mentions above, we have a job guarantee for all of our graduates. This isn’t a placement service, and does require work on the graduate’s part, but we guarantee that you’ll have the skills, portfolio, confidence and connections from our employer network to land a job within 6 months - or we’ll give you a full refund. We currently have UX grads working for great companies like PayPal, Zalando, AT&T, Detutsche Telekom, Starbucks, Wallgreens, HubSpot and N26.
I would be more than happy to discuss any of this in more detail, or point you in the direction of some mentors/graduates who would also be happy to help too- just let me know