General Assembly bootcamp - worth it?


#1

I’m a website editor/ online marketing professional with many years of web experience. I’ve just realized that UX design is my ideal career and I want to transition into it. I have experience in many components. I’ve done usability and heuristic research and conducted end user testing. I’ve managed A/B testing. I’ve created some (crude) wireframes and prototypes for on page content. I’ve discovered that general assembly offers an immersive 10 week program in UX design that takes you through the whole ux process for an interactive product - research, wireframe/protypes/etc, final delivery. It’s expensive. I think it might be worth it simply for creating a portfolio and getting experience with all the tools. What I want to know is: would a hiring manager value the certification if they saw it on my resume? Would it be enough to get me hired somewhere, and how much of a boost would it give me?


General Assembly online course
#2

I was attracted to the General Assembly course myself based mostly on the excellent examples of student work posted on their site. However, the costs involved made that choice impossible. (GA has a less expensive online version too but I haven’t heard a lot of positive reviews about it yet, still very new) So I selected another online school. However, this is my feeling towards UX bootcamps…hiring managers probably don’t care all that much, what they only really care about is your real-world experience. This is supported by most everything I’ve ever read or heard on the subject.

ON THE OTHER HAND, I find a bootcamp type experience either online or off gives you a structured learning environment, access to fellow students (which for me is almost more important than the instructors or course materials) You are going to need to put together a design portfolio and doing a course gives you at least _some_thing to show but, as I said, real world stuff is always better. School is great but some are better than others and look for opportunities to do work outside the course, even if free or maybe even getting together will fellow students to launch a small project. Go above and beyond whatever you choose to do my friend!
Steve


#3

This. Yes. Hiring managers (generally) don’t care how or where you learn, they just want to see the results.

@robin8tor You might find this an interesting read. The UX of Learning UX is Broken.


#4

I am planning on taking GA’s UXDI course because I found that I personally need more structure and interaction with humans than can be provided by online courses, and I just want the have the time to dedicate to hands-on learning and building a portfolio. I recently went to info session at GA, which I would recommend you go to if you’re considering the course (check the course page on their website for dates). The instructor there said that they focus on the process and don’t spend time teaching you to use specific tools. Instead, for one project, they might tell you to use Axure, and you just have to figure it out. For the next project, they might have you use InVision instead. The reason for this is that are many tools, and new ones are popping up all the time. The fundamental process, though, should be the same.

In that article that @HAWK linked, the author basically bashes GA for suggesting to potential students that they will automatically become UX designers after taking the course and getting a certificate. At the info session, the instructor flat-out said that you will not be a designer after a 10 week course, and certificate will not magically make you a designer. It will help you get started, though. They also make no guarantees about getting hired, but they do say that something like 90% of graduates get opportunities within 3 months, and 99% within 6 months. Those opportunities might be a junior-level positions, internships that often lead to junior-level positions, or freelance work.


#5

That sounds very fair. Good on them.


#6

Hello! I was wondering if you have an update on GA’s UXDI course assuming that you are taking the course. Do you like the classes so far? Do you feel like you are learning/ improving?


#7

Hi everyone, as someone who has just finished the GA UXDI course in Sydney last month, I thought I’d share my two cents.

Personally, I think it’s a great way for career switchers who have relevant prior experience (be it psychology, marketing, visual design, web development, anthropology…or other related disciplines) who already know how to think critically quite well. 10 weeks is not enough to magically turn someone into a great problem solver, so you’d need to be a pretty good problem solver already in order to get the most out of the course, and to land a job quickly after the course.

General Assembly will teach you the VERY basics of most UX methods and tools, and give you an introduction to design thinking - JUST enough so that you can START a career in UX. And the people who have been able to start their UX careers quickly afterwards (from my class) have all been extremely hard working and resilient, putting in a lot of extra time to do stuff like refine their work, read up on technology trends, learning coding, etc.

The other wonderful thing about GA is the social environment - you make some terrific, life long friends; you get introduced to lots of people in the industry; and you get to showcase your work at a reverse job fair, and if you are good, you will usually land a few interviews from it.

If anyone wants to know more about the course, feel free to PM me :slight_smile:


#8

That is such great feedback @kacheekmonstar – I really appreciate you taking the time to report back.


#9

I was looking at the GA program too, and was very, very close to quitting my job and signing up. I freaked out, and didn’t go. However, a few weeks later, I went to a UX meetup, and the head of UX at a mega-apparel brand told me that she could spot a GA UXI grad immediately from their portfolio, and that wasn’t exactly a good thing. Then today, I read this in an article: “I can spot a UX candidate from GA from their portfolio or their LinkedIn,” says Fox. “That is not a good thing.” Seeing these sentiments over and over really keeps me from pursuing the program further.


#10

@benrenegar is a lead GA instructor. I’d be interested to hear your take on this Ben. What attracted you to work with them and what kind of success to GA graduates go on to achieve in your experience?


#11

In terms of UX there’s two main courses; UXD Immersive and UXD Part Time.

The immersive course is specifically designed for people wanting to launch a career in UX and may have had little to no exposure to any digital design or user-centred design activities in the past.
Students do go through the entire UX process designing and delivering a real digital product, the entire process is also used to create a very comprehensive portfolio. All of which results in a very high success rate for students in landing an entry level UX job. GA also provides advice and support on finding the right job and working with recruiters.

The part time course is more geared for people already working in a digital environment or who’ve had career experience already with design or digital delivery - it’s ideal to formalise existing knowledge, fill in gaps and get a comprehensive understanding of UX. Students also design a product end to end as part of the course but it is more lightweight and may not be substantial enough to launch a UX career for an individual with no other design experience.

Hope this clarifies! Check out the GA website, there are sample classes conducted (free) regularly which is a great way to get a feel for what the course is like and make a decision on which course would be right for you.


#12

Probably worth adding as mentioned by some above, ultimately it’s up to you as a student - those who put in extra effort outside of class and in terms of the project and their portfolio will get better outcomes. The course itself does only cover the basic concepts (you can’t become an expert in anything in just 10 weeks) so individual self-learning is necessary to really take things to the next level.


#13

@kacheekmonstar, I’m currently doing this GA course in Sydney and wanted to PM you to ask some questions and maybe pick your brain, would that be ok? =)


#14

Just seeing this thread for the first time, but I wanted to echo how true this statement is. +1000


#15

Can you tell me what you did after you finished the program that lead your first UX design job ?


#16

I took the online version of the GA course as I don’t live near a location that offers the in-person course. I am a graphic designer that has been working on learning UX in my current role and really just need a more formalized boost to make it all come together. I feel the course was structured well and gave me a good feel for the whole process - which is what I needed. For some this may not be enough. I don’t plan on listing this course on my resume as I am lucky enough to be working on projects in my current role that I should be able to just highlight what I’ve done and claim “research, mentoring and self-taught” for the UX education portion. As others have said i dont think the course being on your resume will wow anyone - but the knowledge itself and learning of the process really helped me. It’s one thing to just read about it and another to have a chance to practice it with a project.