Designlab's new UX Academy program



I’ve alerted the guys at Designlab to this thread so hopefully someone should be along shortly to enlighten you all. :slight_smile:


I just got my acceptance letter too for June. Wish I was in LA. I would love a study group @inca431


Hey all! Designlab co-founder here.

Sorry about any confusion around course dates and timings.

Like any early-stage product, we’re dealing with the inherent tension between development speed and product quality. Our general philosophy is to release early and iterate quickly as we observe results — with the goal of building the best experience in the world for career-related design training.

So far, we’ve had three cohorts of students start our UX Academy program, and we’re beginning to see great outcomes as students from Cohorts 1 and 2 finish up the course (we will begin to publish these shortly, stay tuned!).

Based on feedback and observed results, we’ve already added some essential elements into the course: stricter pacing, group Hangouts, self-directed Capstone projects, recruiter “checkpoints” for portfolio review at the end of the course, and more.

We want to make sure that every student that comes through the program has an incredible experience, so we’re taking the time to iterate on our course format and curriculum. Thanks for your patience and understanding :slight_smile:

As a result, we’ve postponed our mid-May course to June 13. We’ve updated our upcoming course dates and timelines here: You can refer to this link for the most up-to-date schedule at any point.

To submit an application, just visit our course page here and enter your information:

If you have any questions at all, email me — — or feel free to give me a call on my cell — 408.802.2008. We’re looking forward to seeing a lot of you in our upcoming courses!


Hi @harish ,

I enrolled in the March cohort and would like to know if the new essential elements you are talking about are already part of my course ?


Hi @afrench! Yep, we are continually rolling out updates to current students who are in the courses :slight_smile:


Wow. There’ve been a lot of comments on this. I guess had notifications turned off…

Anyway, I meant to share my experience with Designlab a long time ago after I completed the Design 101 course, but I totally forgot.

Personally, I found that Designlab’s model just wasn’t the best way for me to learn. That isn’t to say that it wouldn’t be good for others; it just wasn’t for me. Even though i had my mentor to provide good feedback on my projects, I still felt like I was doing everything in a vacuum. I think I would benefit much more from interacting collaborating with real live people.

To that end, I started looking at General Assembly again. I was going back and forth about whether to apply and couldn’t decide, so I asked my Designlab mentor for his opinion. He thought that it just wasn’t worth the price and that I could build a portfolio on my own by doing my own projects (it should be noted that he is self-taught, so he’s biased in that regard).

Since then I’ve been struggling to work on projects on my own:

  • I’m redesigning an awful web app that I have to use at work, but it has turned into a long, drawn-out process because of both my limited time and the difficulty of scheduling friends to test my prototypes.
  • At a local UX meetup recently I met someone from a non-profit who needed help redesigning their website, so I said I’d like to help to get some experience. However, after looking at the site and talking with the organization, I realized I’m in over my head, and I just don’t have the time needed to dedicate to it since I work full-time.
  • I’ve also been trying for weeks to get a meeting with friend’s church (I kept having to bug him because he kept forgetting to ask) to see if there was anything I could help them with on their website. I have a lunch meeting scheduled for tomorrow, but they already cancelled on me once, so we’ll see…

I was also recently inspired by this post on Medium, in which product designer Melissa Mandelbaum explains how she got an apprenticeship by cold emailing a designer she admired. Unfortunately, I really don’t know who I’d ask be an apprentice to, and formal apprenticeships seem to be non-existent. I have found internships, but they all seem to be looking for students in an HCI program. I’m curious to know if anyone else has participated in an apprenticeship, though.

Has anyone done a formal UX apprenticeship or internship?

vBulletin wasn’t very good at notifications. Discourse is MUCH better. It’s good to see you back. :slight_smile:

[quote=“chrisux, post:46, topic:606”]
I’m curious to know if anyone else has participated in an apprenticeship, though.
[/quote] Great topic. I’ve split it out into a new thread so it doesn’t get lost in the noise here.


Glad to be back.

[quote=“HAWK, post:47, topic:606, full:true”]Great topic. I’ve split it out into a new thread so it doesn’t get lost in the noise here.



I actually just made the decision to leave UX Academy a few weeks ago. I completely agree with your statement about them needing to do some more work on their curriculum. It definitely felt more theory vs. practice. I’m currently looking at CF’s UI Design program actually. Any feedback? Thoughts?


I haven’t mentored the UI program, just the UX. But I think in a way it
might better since it is more focused. The separation of UX and UI is
important and which one you take depends upon what skills you want to gain
and your background.

Hope that helps!


Thanks for the quick reply! How do you find CF’s curriculum better as opposed to DesignLab’s? Why would you recommend CF over DL?


UX Academy mushes UX and UI. I think it confuses students. Also, I do think
both actually have a lot of practice, but UX Academy still needs to
organize their content better. And their system. :slight_smile:

Hope that helps.


I’m not sure about the DesignLab’s UX program. I took their design101 and branding course. I like them. I also did Careerfoundry’s UX course. It was the best choice I could have made. The course material was thorough and well organized. My mentor was amazing. I am currently enrolled in Web Developer Course. I find the structure of the course to be good and the mentor knowledgeable and friendly.
So overall I am a huge fan of Careerfoundry.


Great to hear your thoughts @jdebari

How would you rate compared to Career Foundry?

Also, would you recommend the Designer Track or UX/UI Design Fundamentals from



Just wanted to giver everyone an update…I’m in week 4 of the DesignLab intensive and I LOVE it… My mentor is great, and I’m learning so much. It IS an online course, so you have to be disciplined, it’s 40 hours/week. I decided not to work while I’m taking it, and I’m glad, because I can take my time with each of the modules (if I was working, I think I’d feel like I had to rush to get through with everything). 40 hours/week is a pretty good estimate, some weeks were a few less, but none have been more (so far!), and you have a week to complete each mod., so that includes sat. and sunday. DL has been pretty responsive, if any of the students have concerns or questions, usually Harish will hop on the slack channel and get us answer within a few hours (and there’s always someone on the slack channel to run something straight to the top asap if we there’s problem). I’ve also had a few direct email conversations with Harish, and he’s quick to back to me. I can’t really compare it to any other programs since I’ve only take this and one other short class at DL, but I’m definitely happy with it…


Following…I’m interested in hearing what people have to say between (Designer Track) and Career Foundry (UX or UI track).

@anton_rose: I did attend the information session and they mentioned the Designer Tracker includes everything from the UX/UI Fundamentals course but goes more in detail and also includes front-end development (heavy emphasis on JavaScript).

I think the CareerFoundry UX track and the designlab UX Academy are very comparable (similar cost ~$3000, duration is the same, content looks similar). The DesignLab UX Academy is relatively new, so it’s hard to find reviews from current students.


@inca431 Glad to hear you’re liking the Design Lab UX Academy! It looks amazing - I’m debating between that and the CareerFoundry UX course. Do they teach you how to the use mainstream UX tools like Balsalmiq, Photoshop, Sketch, etc or do they expect you to know those? Any other thoughts would be helpful!


Thanks for the feedback @pchheda16

The thing I like about is that you complete 4-6 projects during the course. The best way to learn is by doing IMHO and you end up with a sweet looking portfolio. The one down side is it looks quite light on the UX material. Things missing in the course plan include:

User-Centered Design
Interaction Design & Heuristics of Usability
Develop SMART business goals and SMART user goals
Task Models & Customer Experience Maps
Information Architecture (Card Sorting)
UX Design Principles and best practice

CareerFoundry has all of these but you only do one project.


Good points regarding vs CareerFoundry…which is another reason I’m considering DesignLabs - they provide a couple more projects like

I have another thread I started yesterday regarding CareerFoundry - you can see what students are saying:


I wouldn’t just assume that more projects equals a better learning experience. Remember too that in the real world you are probably going to be working on the same projects for weeks or maybe months - constantly revising - doing more user testing, updating designs, more user testing etc etc. It takes time for the designer to learn the app they are designing themselves.

A design evolves, I don’t think you very often come up with a great design on the first couple of tries. So doing say, 5 different apps over the same time period means that the last few projects are going to be better than the first few you tried because you will have had more experience.

In theory, the CF approach - doing one project over the course of 3 to 6 months, has the potential to provide a more in-depth, more realistic, learning experience.