What non-degree education do employers prefer or is portfolio king?

I keep bouncing between a bootcamp from well known universities to bootcamps from institutions like Springboard and Ironhack. I just don’t know if the industry has been disrupted enough to think that employers would say “Yeah, I’d rather have this person with his Ironhack bootcamp education vs the person with the Georgia Tech bootcamp education.”

This has been a burning wonder in my head since bootcamps from both types of institutions can come in very close in price. Bootcamps from both sides having similar material but the main difference I am noticing is being that some schools have more classroom hours than others.

I think portfolio, ability to tell a story, explain your processes and being someone people would like to share their working day with is more important for good companies.

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Hi, @Flybye Welcome to UX Mastery!

I hear you on the certifications and bootcamps and courses. As someone who’s learned (and is continuing to learn) on the job, I’ll admit I may be a bit biased. When I stumbled into the industry, UX design was fairly new. And I felt like perhaps I’d made a mistake. I have often wished that I had a formal degree or certification to fall back on and give me some confidence. Over the years, I have made peace with my lack of “qualifications” and treat my lack of design-jargon confidence as a super-power. It motivates me to research a lot more and be open to ideas, while also helping me communicate more plainly – especially with business stakeholders.

I agree with @rachelreveley - the industry still prefers experience and portfolio over any formal degrees. I’d recommend this article: Here’s what hiring managers look for in UX Design candidates that kind of validates our opinions here.

Best wishes for your UX journey!

PS: If you are keen to take a Bootcamp, perhaps you can also consider the Interaction Design Foundation’s Bootcamps that would be much lighter on the wallet and includes 1:1 mentor sessions :slight_smile:

Thank you both for the replies! I have actually decided to go for a bachelor’s (higher education degree in the US) in ux/ui design. And here is why:

I currently only hold what is known in the US as an associates degree. Basically it is just a junior level of higher education. I have been wanting to make a career change for some time, and I have been obsessed with reading about UI/UX design for the past several months. At first, the logical thing to do seemed to dive into a bootcamp. Instant compressed knowledge. Then my head exploded with the sheer number of bootcamps available. As I continued to fall into this rabbit hole I realized not all bootcamps are the same. I began to discover free mini bootcamps, bootcamps from no name institutions, small paid bootcamps from industry professionals, bootcamps from respected technology schools local and global, bootcamps from regular universities, and bootcamps from universities rated in the top 50 in the US.

And then the worst was realized: Large universities do not even teach their own bootcamps. They hire the services of these online educational institutions called HackerU and Trilogy and lord only knows what else. I was ecstatic to attempt a bootcamp from a well known university. It has always been a dream to get a higher education from one of those schools. And even though the bootcamp is handled by the above mentioned companies, one would still get a certificate of completion from the university itself.

Further readings of the UI/UX world confirmed exactly what the both of you have mentioned: The industry prefers experience and a great portfolio…but to a certain point. I started peddling through hundreds of job postings for a UI/UX designer. What I discovered is the junior positions typically post: Educational Requirement: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Fair enough. I’ll be able to survive with a bootcamp training and some training somewhere. But then I noticed something with the senior UI/UX job postings. They required a minimum of a Bachelor’s AND experience. This was critical to me because I have been denied higher paid employment for a lack of proper education in the past.

I understand portfolio may be king, but I do not want to miss the opportunity of a higher tier position just because I lack the education. So my roadmaps originally looked like this.

  1. Do a bootcamp, get experience, find a job.
  2. Do a bootcamp, get experience, find a job, get more experience, complete bachelor’s.

But now my roadmap looks like this:
3) Complete bachelor’s, do a bootcamp or 2 in between, get a experience, get a job.

At first I was worried about the time frame with getting a degree, but everywhere I read that this field is not going away anytime soon. It is a field far from being saturated with growth opportunities for decades to come. And the more I dive into uxmaster, the more I realize there is amazing content to go through! Kasturika, thank you for the links. I will be sure to go through them this weekend. :grinning: