2021 UX/UI Bootcamps Guide

When a website works, you don’t even notice it. You’ll probably take for granted the dozens of seamless experiences you’ll have today across websites and mobile applications. However, this process doesn’t happen by magic. For the visual look and feel of the web, we have to thank UX and UI designers. 

User Experience (UX) designers take a human-first approach in developing the quality of interaction between a user and products and services. User Interface (UI) designers create the visual elements of a digital product. While the two roles differ (more on that below), they work in tandem to create flawless digital products and experiences. 

 Like many tech careers, demand for these roles has greatly increased in recent years. A UX/UI career could encompass various elements of psychology, business, market research, graphic design and technology, making this a great choice for a variety of learners and individuals wanting to combine their creative and technical sides.

To help you further understand the ins and outs of the field, we’ve listed some of the most common UX/UI design skills and some statistics on career outcomes to give you a sense of what this promising career path could entail.

We’ve also included our 2021 guide to the best and most popular UX/UI bootcamps to launch your career in UX design or UI design. Keep reading to learn more about the professional services and curriculums of these programs, and the factors to consider to find the right fit for you!

 

UX vs UI: What’s the Difference?

While often used interchangeably because of their similarities, UX design and UI design have a few notable differences. UX design stands for “user experience” design while UI design refers to “user interface” design. 

According to CareerFoundry, “UX design is all about the overall feel of the experience, while UI design is all about how the product’s interfaces look and function.” UX and UI are similar in their dedication to creating a product that pleases users. While UX applies to both physical and digital products, UI is only applicable to digital products. UX creates products that focus on effectiveness for the user while UI focuses on making an easy-to-use and aesthetically pleasing digital interface.

UX and UI bootcamps both focus on the design thinking process. Many UX bootcamps also include a UI component. UX bootcamps will focus not only on the design process but also on user research and data analysis.

The design component of UX bootcamps will teach students how to use important UX design tools such as Sketch and Adobe XD. UI bootcamps include modules on designing interfaces using mood boards and more to make screens aesthetically pleasing. Students also learn mobile design for both Android and iOS systems. Branding and animations are also important skills covered in UI bootcamps.

Here’s a TL;DR of the primary functionalities of both roles:

 User Experience (UX) DesignUser Interface (UI) Design
ApplicationPhysical and Digital ProductsDigital Products
FocusAll-encompassing experience: from user’s first to last contactVisual Touchpoints that user interacts with
CreatesStructural design solutions removes barriers to pain pointsVisual interactive elements: buttons, icons, typography, responsive design and more
Overall GoalAnticipate Users NeedsAnticipate Users Needs
ResultsProducts that delight users with their effectivenessProducts that delight users aesthetically

And here’s a summary of some key differences between UX and UI:

User Experience (UX) DesignUser Interface (UI) Design
Product Structure and StrategyDesign Research
Content DevelopmentBranding and Graphic Development
Prototyping and WireframingUser Guides and Storylines
Testing and IterationUI Prototyping
Coordinates with UI Designers and DevelopersInteractivity and Animation Adaptable to all Screens

What is a UX/UI Bootcamp?

UX/UI Bootcamps prepare you to launch a career in user-experience or user-interface design. Some of these programs require students to choose one of the two tracks from the beginning, while others cover the basics of both, preparing participants for either path. Taking these bootcamp programs can propel you into numerous roles within the space like product or web designer or researcher. 

Since UX/UI design is a constantly changing field, evolving alongside new trends in the online and social media space, a bootcamp is a great refresher for anyone looking to update their knowledge and level up their career. Finally, since UX/UI design pulls from so many disciplines, these bootcamps can serve as a bridge for students with backgrounds in psychology or graphic design, looking to build on their skills towards a more tech-centric role. 

The job outlook for UX/UI bootcamp participants is excellent and only set to increase alongside industry demand. With over 1.74 billion websites in existence and 4 million mobile apps, there is a spot for a designer in organizations of all sizes. A recent report from hired.com indicated a 289% increase in requests for UX interviews, with CNN additionally predicting an 18% growth in demand within the field in coming years. 

Before you decide if a UX/UI bootcamp is right for you, let’s dive into the basics of the job descriptions, must-have skills and what you can expect post-completion. 

 

What Will You Learn at a UX/UI Bootcamp?

While UX/UI bootcamps vary, there are components that are common across the board. Most UX/UI bootcamps teach the following skills in their curriculum:

  • Design Thinking
      • Design thinking is a method that fosters creative solutions and has 5 stages: empathy, definition, ideation, prototyping, testing. UX and UI bootcamps include design thinking in their curriculum to teach students how to create products that are 
  • Beginner Front-end Development and Coding Skills
      • Basic front end development and coding skills in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS allow UX/UI designers to communicate with developers, create realistic ideas and goals for projects, and make designers more marketable.
  • User Research and Analytics
      • User research helps UX designers and UI designers create a product that will please their users and clients. Research helps designers brainstorm potential problems and solutions that users may have and helps them create products geared towards the desired user base. Research also helps UX designers to create user personas.
  • Product Design and Design Tools such as Sketch, Invision, Adobe XD, and Figma
      • These design and prototyping tools allow UX and UI designers to create their vision, collaborate with other designers, and communicate better with clients throughout the design process.
  • Capstone or Portfolio Projects
      • Many UX bootcamps incorporate a capstone project or portfolio that allows students to use their knowledge learned throughout the course to create an actual product. This hands-on approach to learning also assists students in the job search since they have a product to present to possible employers to show off their skills.
  • Presentation and Communication Skills
    • Online UX bootcamps are a great resource to help fine-tune your presentation skills and communication skills that are needed for working with clients and team members. Collaboration skills will also be strengthened as most UX bootcamps require team projects to emulate the design process as a collaborative effort seen in most design environments.

 

Where Can You Take a UX/UI Bootcamp?

UX/UI bootcamps are available to take in-person across the U.S., with an alternate option of taking courses 100% online. Below you can browse our complete listings of locations, but in brief, options are available across almost all major U.S. markets including New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. You might be surprised to see some smaller regional cities represented as well, like Buffalo, Louisville or Raleigh. These bootcamps can typically be completed in anywhere from 8 to 36 weeks depending on the depth of the program and hours offered. 

An online and/or part-time bootcamp can be a great option as well, especially for those already working full-time or looking to complement additional classes into a university schedule. A benefit to online programs is the ability to take classes part-time, or even complete them self-paced on your own time. We have noted which programs offer these in our listings below.

 

What Types of UX/UI Bootcamps are Available?

The type of provider is another factor to consider when deciding on a specific program to take. Some courses are offered through higher education institutions that, beyond offering in-person classes on campus, leverage professors and educational resources affiliated with the university. Other bootcamps may be offered via third-party or individualized providers. 

When comparing bootcamps, consider where you see yourself headed in your career and what you hope to achieve by completing the program. While curricula of individual programs might seem similar, each will provide a different experience. Take a moment to review our listings and browse the program’s “About Us” page to see if the particular subjects and curricula align with the skill sets you are looking to learn. Some bootcamps lean more into the technical side, with detailed instruction in front-end development, and others skew more toward gaining a mastery in graphic design tools like Sketch or Figma. 

 

Requirements for Taking a UX/UI Bootcamp

Many UX/UI bootcamps do not require any prerequisites beyond a great work ethic and a desire to learn UX or UI design. Others may require a bachelor’s degree or a year of related work experience. Depending on the program, you might be asked to complete a skills assessment for problem-solving, communication, and collaboration skills. Overall, you can expect few to no prerequisites for less time-intensive courses aimed at beginners, and a required background in baseline visual aptitude, analytical skills, and the ability to empathize with users to synthesize and generate ideas for months-long programs.

 

How Much Do UX/UI Bootcamps Cost?

The cost of UX/UI  bootcamps differs by the provider, but you can expect to make a serious investment, on par with the time commitment and level of support you receive. On the high end, immersive programs can cost more than $10,000 for multiple months of in-person instruction. If that type of program isn’t for you, there are part-time courses that require a lower time and financial commitment. It’s very common for bootcamps to offer a variety of payment plans over periods of months or years and/or an income share agreement payment option. Many bootcamps also offer need-based and merit-based scholarships, which we’ve noted in our listings below when applicable. 

 

Are UX/UI Bootcamps worth it?

Depending on your particular situation, UX/UI bootcamps can help you move up to the next level from your current role, develop new expertise, or make a career pivot. The prices of these programs can be significant though, so think about what kind of outcome you want to achieve as you’re choosing a bootcamp. 

User design can be a desirable career path for many, considering the number of disciplines it can entail. Gaining a background in development, graphic design or user research can set you off towards a number of different career possibilities. Luckily, a significant number of bootcamp programs offer career support systems that will help you reach your goal. In this section, we’ll examine why UX/UI bootcamps might be a good choice for you, as well as the types of career outcomes you can expect following completion

Why Take a UX/UI Bootcamp?

  • Graduate in Weeks, Not Years – Regardless of the bootcamp program you select, you are almost certainly guaranteed to complete your education quicker and cheaper than a four or even two-year degree program. The average cost of a degree at an in-state four year college is $101,584. Bootcamps cut out irrelevant instruction to focus on streamlined skills you need to succeed in the workforce
  • Adapt to an Evolving Workplace –  The structure of bootcamp programs allow them to nimbly adapt to trends in the industry. Of course, the last decade has seen many organizations pivot to optimizing mobile experiences and short-form video content. Bootcamps stay ahead of the curve and help you stand out to employers with a mastery in emerging technologies. 
  • Join a Growing Field Quickly – The design field is rapidly scaling and ranks as one of the most in-demand positions for digital creative talent. As the acceleration of leading our personal and professional lives online continues, organizations’ investment in web and app presence is a safe bet. Bootcamps can provide career mobility and stability amidst these shifts. 
  • Build Your Professional Network – Participating in a bootcamp will allow you to network in your field with fellow students, instructors and administrators. Courses are taught by industry experts and feature guest speakers or options to engage in career development, which we elaborate on below. Additionally, some bootcamps offered by Universities offer the ability to access on-campus resources and attend events.
  • Align Passion with Purpose – UX/UI specialists is one of the most creatively fulfilling career paths in tech, and a wonderful way to take your artistic sensibilities and combine them into actionable insights and lucrative lifetime earnings. It bears repeating that there are so many places UX/UI training can take you! Designers have worked on everything from improving Med-Tech devices so doctors can save lives faster to shaping the future of tech via next-gen products in A.I. and virtual reality.

Which UX/UI Bootcamp is Right for You?

In addition to considering location, cost and time commitment, here are a few other differentiating factors to consider when picking a UX/UI bootcamp. It all comes back to your career goals. Ask yourself which of these factors are most important for your desired outcomes: 

  • Relevant curriculum, based off scenarios and tools you might encounter in the workplace
  • Instruction in UX, UI or both
  • Which industry tools are incorporated into the curriculum, or if any certifications are offered
  • Instructor-led classes, or if you desire, the ability to view class content on demand
  • Real world projects applicable that can be repurposed for resumes and interviews
  • Feedback from program alumni and ability to network with past participants
  • Ability to view completion and hiring rates 
  • Partnerships with potential employers and industry veterans

Do UX/UI Bootcamps Offer Career Services?

In short, the answer is yes! UX/UI bootcamps look to supplement their curriculum via a number of different professional development services. These might include a 1:1 mentorship program, access to career counseling or in some cases, a job guarantee. We recommend checking the completion and hiring rates of programs that interest you if they are available. These are typically a good indicator of the success you might see after completing the course. Overall a UX/UI bootcamp can help you initiate a career with very few prerequisites. 

What Types of Salary Can You Expect After Completing a UX/UI Bootcamp?

Completion of a UX/UI Bootcamp can help you find employment in a variety of careers like  UX Designer, UI Designer, UX Researcher, Web Designer, Product Designer, or Information Architect.

 The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates an 8% career growth rate from 2019-2029 for web developers and digital designers. UX designers and UI designers are included in this group and it is important to note that this growth rate is higher than the average growth rate of 4% for all occupations. 

Below we’ve listed out average salaries from Indeed for a number of different positions, although figures can vary widely by city and level of specialization. Demand for these roles is increasing across the board, so many roles offer additional bonus compensation or other perks.

PositionAverage Salary (as of July 2021)
UX Designer$96K
UI Designer$81K
UX Researcher$150.7K
Web Designer$47.5K
Graphic Designer$49.8K
Product Designer$114.6K
Information Architect$135.8K

We’ve compiled a list of top UX/UI bootcamps in the U.S. Browse the list below to find a bootcamp that fits your needs!