How to save up to $5000 on a UX Bootcamp.

How to choose between earning money or earning a certificate.

A bust of a person with the sign Bootcamp

Here’s what I hear people say a Bootcamp will help you do:

All these three things are valuable and necessary if you are planning to get your foot in the door as a UX Designer.

But are those things worth a year of your life and almost $5000 of your money?

As a novice, with no experience whatsoever (although, I would argue here a little), it might not be that harmful to enroll in a Bootcamp. But this alone will only get you so far.

But if you find yourself in between the jobs, you might think that you do not have enough skills and need a Bootcamp boost to move forward.

Heres where the trap springs.

It’s your personal choice whether to enroll in a Bootcamp or not (it’s your money and time after all), but I would like to share some alternative paths you might want to take. To hone your UX skills and connect with the right people.

A Bootcamp will add at least 2–3 pieces to your portfolio.

You hear it everywhere. Don’t even try to show up anywhere without a portfolio. You need it.

But nobody hired you to solve a UX problem before. And you never took part in any UX-related solution, for example.

A Bootcamp seems like the right (and only) place to get these desired cases. But that’s not true.

Add 2–3 pieces to your portfolio for free (yes, no money involved).

In my recent blog post about redesigning things under a quarantine, I had a couple of examples where you can look for real-life projects. You can help local libraries, charities, and organizations that actually need it.

Spotify does not need your help, and neither does Uber. But some other organizations and companies need a helping hand. A win-win situation.

Do not want to go local? Then, go online. Find organizations that seek professional help with UX-related issues. You can also steal some ideas for your project here.

Add 2–3 pieces to your portfolio for $30–60 per month.

Coursera has a bunch of online courses to finish within 4–8 weeks approximately. Working full-time and making money, actually.

The one that’s offered by CALARTS has a Capstone project as your final qualification test. You will have at least 2 pieces in your portfolio in the end.

Coursera also offers financial aid, and you can finish specialization for free if deadlines are not a problem for you.

Add 2–3 pieces to your portfolio and get paid for it.

It’s not an easy one, especially for novices, but is worth i try.

It’s not an easy one, especially for novices. But it’s worth a try!
You can find real-life projects on freelance websites like Upwork and others. A nice thing about it — you will also get paid to do the work.

If you are active on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram, it’s even better. You can ask your network if they have anything for you.

A Bootcamp offers mentorship.

Even if you are a novice, it does not mean that you need a mentor. But let’s say you do.

More likely, the Bootcamp program will assign someone to help you out. This instructor will have some other students assigned to her. Her time will be limited.

Another disadvantage is that you do not choose a mentor. It might be a wrong person with an incompatible personality. The person is not bad. It just means that you need another approach.

Find a mentor for free (yes, again, no money needed).

Weekly sessions on Wednesday are not the only way to have a mentor.

You can easily search Twitter, Facebook, and YourTube to find people you like. Take it from here and dig deeper.

I prefer to follow 2 or even 3 people at once. Together, they offer a good symbiosis of insight, ideas, and inspiration for me to be curious and keep moving.

And, please, do not find a person you like and then DM them with all your life story and a question whether they want to be your mentor or not.

I do not know how to put it delicately, but the truth is they don’t. Nobody does. Even if they are the most giving people in the world. They don’t.

You can still reach out to them and ask questions. But, please, be concise and to the point. Nobody wants to answer a 13-question quiz from you.

Find a mentor starting $200 per hour.

If you are confident that you need someone to be personally in touch with you — just hire someone.

It will cost you some money, but at least here you can choose a person that will suit your needs and will help you with the skills you need.

You will get a certificate to attach to your LinkedIn profile and CV.

Let’s be honest. A certificate that you can attach to your CV that costs $5,000 is a bit pricey.

Udemy offers certificates for $9.99 during some seasonal sales. Not to mention certificates from Coursera with financial aid available.

Truth to be told, certificates do not mean much when it comes to real-life experience. If you plan to work for someone who values certificates over everything else, it’s probably not the best choice.

You will easily land a job after a Bootcamp.

And this is not true. Some people easily find a job, but there also many who don’t.

Some Bootcamps do assist, but it’s usually about interview questions and portfolio, when you get a response from a potential employee. But it might take a while until you get your first invitation to an interview.

Just like in the mentor case, when somebody chooses an organization for you, it‘s a burden. What if the company is not right? What if the position is not what you need?

But it will be the only choice, and you will have to accept it. Otherwise, it’s a disrespect to people who are helping you in an already saturated market of professionals.

You become a slave of someone else’s choice. And I have to say that this thing is not worth those $5000.

Should you still enroll in a Bootcamp if you want?

Of course.

If you do want to try the Bootcamp experience yourself (and, of course, can afford the fee), you should enroll in a Bootcamp.

However, if you are just desperate to find a UX gig, and think that a Bootcamp will do the magic — it will not. In this case, side hustles and other activities have proven to be more rewarding that any Bootcamps ever.

It’s always important to have a choice. So, a Bootcamp is not the only way to get what you want. And maybe not even the easiest one.

I lead a CX team in short-term rental in Canada and the US as my day job and draw funny comics about UX later.