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

Updated in 2023

What does Designlab do?

Designlab is an online bootcamp that helps people learn the necessary technical skills to get a job as a product or user experience (UX) designer. The program, UX Academy, is divided into 8 modules. It covers 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 also complete 2 capstone projects in responsive web design and 1 in end-to-end application design. 

Before enrolling in UX Academy, students must have some prior design experience or take Designlab’s introduction course, Design 101. This 4-week course takes about 10-15 hours of work a week. Students are paired with an expert design mentor who will assist them with learning visual and UI design basics. Then, UX Academy takes 480 hours to complete. Students can choose between full-time (40 hours a week) in 15 weeks or part-time (20 hours a week) in 28 weeks. For the most part, students spend their time learning from self-paced lessons, mentor sessions, hands-on projects, and group critiques.

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. This includes one coaching session per week, access to the job-tracking tool Huntr, and a Slack channel where students can share job resources.

People looking for shorter commitments can also consider one of the other 4-week courses that Designlab offers. These are in UI design, UX research and strategy, and UX: Interaction design.

Who is Designlab for?

People who have some experience in design and are looking to move into careers in product and user experience design could benefit from Designlab’s UX Academy. Those with no prior design experience can take Design 101 or one of their other short courses to learn the basics. 

What does Designlab cost? How much work is involved?

Tuition for the UX Academy is $6,249 upfront. Students who choose to pay monthly payments over 6 months end up paying $6,649 and those who do long-term flexible financing pay $6,941-$7,611 total. The cost of Design 101, the foundations course, is $500. Students who take Design 101 and enroll in UX Academy receive a $500 credit towards the bootcamp tuition. 

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. Students who took Design 101 include the link to their final course project.

Ratings and reviews

The reviews online of Designlab are mixed, but skewed towards positive. They are on SwitchUp’s list of best bootcamps. On CourseReport, students found the curriculum and the instructors helpful, but felt that program could have offered more job-seeking guidance. Students who reviewed Designlab on Career Karma felt that they learned a lot, but warned it was a “a rigorous program.”

Many students thought that Design 101 was a great introductory course. One grad reports that Design 101 was “quite good for the price.”

On SwitchUp, people found that UX Academy was good for learning the skills to jumpstart a career in design. Although, some expressed concerns about the Designlab’s job hunting resources, which they did not feel were adequate. People generally found the curriculum and mentorship to be helpful. One grad noted that their mentor “really opened my eyes to how I needed to completely change my approach to design.”

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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