Photo of a review of DesignLab as a product design bootcamp

A review of Designlab as a product design bootcamp – 2023 update


The logo of designlab

What does Designlab do?

DesignLab is an online tech bootcamp that teaches people the necessary skills to become a product or user experience (UX) designer. They’ve already helped almost 2,000 people land their first design job. On average, grads land a job in just 14 weeks after finishing UX Academy.

The flagship program, UX Academy, is completely remote with a project-based curriculum. The program is designed for people with some design experience, or graduates of the Foundations course. Students can choose between a part-time program with 20 hours/week for 30 weeks, or learn full-time with 40 hours/week for 15 weeks. Expert mentors work 1-on-1 with students throughout the program. Students graduate with a complete design portfolio with 4 projects that helps them stand out in the job search. After finishing the program, grads retain access to extensive career support including a career coach.

UX academy is divided into 8 modules that cover design and communication basics, introduction to design thinking and UX design methods, UX research, information architecture, interaction design, user interface (UI) design, iteration and implementation, and personal brand and portfolio setup. Students complete 2 capstone projects in responsive web design and 1 in end-to-end application design. The course includes self-paced lessons, mentor sessions, hands-on projects, and group critiques.

A photo of the DesignLab mentors

Before enrolling in UX Academy, students must have some prior design experience or take DesignLab’s introduction course, Foundations. This 4-8 week course takes about 80 hours to complete. The course includes one-on-one mentoring and a design portfolio project.

After completing UX Academy, students work with a career coach who has industry experience. Career coaches help students identify job opportunities, revise portfolios, and prepare for interviews. UX Academy students receive 24 weeks of post-graduation support, including one coaching session per week, access to the job-tracking tool Huntr, and a Slack channel where students can share job resources.

A photo of the DesignLab online courses

Who is Designlab for?

UX Academy is a good fit for learners with some design experience who want to launch careers in design. Students with no prior design experience can take Foundations course to learn the basics. 

What does Designlab cost? How much work is involved?

UX Academy costs $7,749 upfront. Students can choose to pay 6 monthly installments of $1,291, plus a $399 deposit. Financing is available through Climb Credit. Loans come with an interest rate of around 7% and must be paid back within 3 years.

For those without design experience, Foundations course costs $500 and can be used towards the cost of UX Academy.

The cost of the DesignLab UX Academy tech bootcamp

To apply to UX academy, candidates fill out a brief application. Students who previously worked as a digital designer include a link to their recent work in the application. Applicants who took Foundations include the link to their final course project.

What do DesignLab reviews say? Are DesignLab Reddit reviews positive?

course report review of design lab

DesignLab reviews are mostly positive. The program is consistently listed on SwitchUp’s list of best bootcamps. On CourseReport, students found the curriculum and the instructors helpful, but felt that the program could have offered more job-seeking guidance. Many students thought that Design 101 was a great introductory course. One grad reports that Design 101 was “quite good for the price.”

Designlab Reddit reviews were mostly positive as well. One grad “had a great experience,” but described the course as “incredibly challenging” for students with no prior design experience. 

On SwitchUp, people found that UX Academy was good for learning the skills to jumpstart a career in design, though some would have liked slightly more career support. Overall, learners generally found the curriculum excellent at teaching them the core design skills needed to launch their new careers. The one-on-one seemed to be especially popular among students, with one grad noting that their mentor “really opened my eyes to how I needed to completely change my approach to design.”

A review of the DesignLab tech bootcamp

Alternatives to Designlab

There are a number of alternative bootcamps and online resources that can help aspiring product and user experience designers, if they choose not to enroll in Designlab.

  • Students interested in taking online self-guided or instructor-led product design courses can check out DesignerUp. Learn more about DesignerUp in our review.
  • HackDesign sends weekly design lessons right to your inbox for free. This service can be beneficial for product designers at any stage.
  • Similarly, UX Pro Academy has courses for beginners as well as more experienced people. Other options are Beginex and Design Sprint School, which are UX design bootcamps with part-time courses.
  • One of the most well known bootcamps is General Assembly. They offer full-time, part-time, and 1-day courses on a variety of topics like software engineering, data science, UX design, digital marketing, product management, and more. Read more about General Assembly in our review.
  • If you are interested in a subscription-based learning platform, check out Learn UX, which offers courses in UX/UI design.
  • edX is one of the largest online learning platforms. They have courses from top universities like Harvard and MIT as well as big tech companies like Microsoft. Learn more about edX in our review.
  • You can check out Udacity and Springboard. These are online educational platforms that students can use to brush up on the basics or advance their current tech skills. Read more about Udacity and Springboard in our reviews.
  • GrowthX Academy is an online bootcamp with courses in growth marketing, UX design, and sales and business development.
More alternatives
  • Students can also check out Coursera, which provides courses ranging from free to $25,000. By partnering with accredited universities, Coursera offers a wide range of low-cost college courses.
  • An online learning platform with over 100,000 video courses in a wide variety of topics, Udemy allows students to pick & choose classes, often paying around $10 per class.
  • Students can also consider Kenzie Academy. A full-time tech bootcamp, Kenzie offers in-person and online courses in 2 tracks: software engineering & UX design and front-end engineering. Learn more about Kenzie Academy in our review.
  • Likewise, Prime Digital Academy has full-time and part-time courses in UX design and software engineering.
  • Thinkful and BrainStation are tech bootcamps with tracks in product/UX design, software engineering, and more.
  • Similarly, Bloc, Skillcrush, Treehouse, Interaction Design Foundation, Helio Training, University of Arizona Bootcamps, and CareerFoundry are online bootcamps and resources with tracks in web development and design.
  • Flatiron School, V School, UX Design Institute, Memorisely, and Designation offer online and in-person design courses.
  • Students located in the Bay Area or looking to work in Silicon Valley can check out Tradecraft, which has tracks in product design, growth marketing, engineering, and sales.
  • Similarly, Miami Ad School and Avocademy have design courses where students can build portfolio projects.

How does Designlab compare to Pathrise?

DesignLab is an online bootcamp that offers courses for people who want to develop the skills to become a designer from scratch. At Pathrise, fellows in our program should already have some background in their field of interest so that they can participate fully in our workshops, which prepare students for the questions they will see in their technical interviews.

Pathrise helps you land the best possible job. Our mentors have years of experience on both sides of the hiring table and fellows receive 1-on-1 support every step of the way. Pathrise focuses on technical and behavioral interviewing, as well as resume and LinkedIn optimization, portfolio building, reverse recruiting lessons, and negotiation guidance.

Our program is flexible. There are only 2-4 hours of sessions per week and fellows can schedule 1-on-1 sessions whenever they need them. Our curriculum is personalized to address each fellow’s specific needs. The Pathrise income share agreement means that fellows don’t pay until they start working at a new job and we never require upfront payments or deposits.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that helps students land their dream job in tech through 1-on-1 mentorship. If you are interested in working with any of our mentors to get help with the technical and behavioral interviews or any other aspect of the job search, join Pathrise. 

Apply today.

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Elle Chun

Elle Chun is an experienced Design professional helping Pathrise fellows to ace their technical interviews and succeed in their next design role.

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