Best free design resources to learn product design skills

Hi, I’m Elle! I work as a product designer at Getaround and as an industry mentor here at Pathrise. I help our fellows land great jobs in product design through technical workshops and 1-on-1s. Check out my article on free design resources.

Current and aspiring product designers often launch their careers by enrolling in online courses or design bootcamps. But these programs are often time consuming and expensive, with some costing as much as $30,000. 

With so many design resources available online, it can be difficult to find the right ones. The following list includes free design resources and courses from established bootcamps and learning platforms so that you can pick and choose the ones that match your specific goals. 

1. Udacity

Udacity is an online learning platform that offers courses on a wide range of topics under the tech umbrella, including a variety of free product design options. Beginners can enroll in the intro to design course. Or, if you have some experience, you can take the intermediate product design course. Taught by industry professionals, these self-paced classes come with interactive quizzes and projects. Students can reach out to their peers for additional support through the platform. Learn more about Udacity in our review.

2. Coursera

Another online learning tool, Coursera has free and paid courses in UX and product design. If you want a course completion certificate, you need to pay the fee. Otherwise, the free versions of the courses grant students access to reading materials, videos, and discussions. They can even submit assignments and receive feedback. They have free courses in Agile development, interactive design, web design basics, and more. With these, Coursera can benefit current and aspiring product designers alike.

3. HackDesign

Product designers at any level can subscribe to HackDesign, a weekly newsletter that sends lessons to your inbox for free. Their lessons include insights from the best blogs, books, games, videos, and tutorials. With these, designers can access useful tips on a specific topic in one place. Each newsletter includes interactive design games and challenges. People can practice using the new tools and technologies right away. In addition, HackDesign’s toolkit helps designers recognize which tools are most useful in certain situations, as well as advance their current skills by learning new techniques.

4. edX

A tech educational tool, edX is a massive open online course (MOOC) that partners with major universities, including UPenn and UChicago. They have free offerings in product design, as well as other tech fields. In addition to taking courses in the fundamentals of product design and human-computer interaction, students can study topics such as needfinding & prototyping, cognitive mapping, ethics, and Agile methods. The readings and lectures are free. People can also pay to earn a certificate of completion, which they can add to their resume or LinkedIn.

5. CareerFoundry

Besides their immersive online bootcamps in UX/UI design, web development, and data analytics, CareerFoundry has free prep courses in UI/UX design and web development. Designed to prepare students for full-time bootcamps, each course includes 6 daily lessons that take about 15 minutes to complete. These courses are especially beneficial for beginners looking to develop a stronger understanding of what product designers do. 

6. Gymnasium 

Gymnasium offers free product design resources, including articles, tutorials, webinars, and courses. They cover topics such as design fundamentals, user research, wireframing & prototyping, user testing, and more. Students can also take skill courses in more specific topics such as Sketch for UX/UI designers, prototyping with Axure, and more. Through recorded lectures, quizzes, assignments, and final exams, students learn about the newest design tools and technologies. 

7. Skillshare

With over 19,000 free and paid courses in topics within and adjacent to tech, Skillshare is an online learning platform where students can take free courses in UX design. Studying topics such as design sketching, prototyping, UX research, and more, students learn through recorded lectures and hands-on projects. In addition, students can use the course discussion boards to ask questions and provide feedback to their peers.

8. DesignerUp blog and YouTube

DesignerUp is an online bootcamp for aspiring designers looking to learn the necessary skills to land a great job. Their program is not free. But, they do offer a wide variety of resources on their blog and YouTube channel. They provide valuable information and guidance for product and UX designers looking to learn new skills or advance their current knowledge. Learn more about DesignerUp in our review.

Photo of free design resources

Pathrise is a career accelerator that provides 1-on-1 support to students and professionals on every component of the job search, including technical and behavioral interview prep, resume and LinkedIn optimization, portfolio building, and more. 

If you are looking to work with a mentor to optimize your job search and help you land a job as a product designer, become a Pathrise fellow.

Apply today.

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