Curriculum Spotlight


Inside the New DigitalCrafts UX Design Curriculum

By Jess Feldman
Last Updated May 7, 2021

DigitalCrafts’ new online UX Design bootcamp can be a good fit for both career-changers and upskillers who already work in tech or design. We caught up with Max McChesney, CEO and Co-Founder of DigitalCrafts, to learn why it was important for DigitalCrafts to offer a UX Design bootcamp in 2021 and why the curriculum includes modules on digital leadership and engineering. Plus, Max shares which jobs UX graduates are prepared for and his tips for making the most of the bootcamp experience.

Meet the Expert: Max Chesney, CEO and Co-Founder of DigitalCrafts

  • Max McChesney started DigitalCrafts in 2015 with co-founder Jake Hadden. 
  • Since 2015, more than 1,000 students have graduated from DigitalCrafts. Students come from many different backgrounds: teachers, lawyers, Lyft drivers, project managers, Wall Street traders, oil rig technicians — all of whom have learned alongside one another, successfully graduating to launch new careers.

What can students expect to learn in DigitalCrafts’ UX Design bootcamp? How does this set students apart from other UX bootcampers?

DigitalCrafts has long offered top-rated, full stack web development bootcamps, and I’m excited to announce that we’re launching UX design training, with classes kicking off in September 2021. Like our web development programs, our UX design classes will give students a top-notch education and prepare them for the job search with a demonstrable skill set, a polished portfolio and resume, and the interview prep they need to land their first jobs in the tech industry.

When considering new options for a DigitalCrafts bootcamp, a lot of boxes have to be checked internally before we decide to make the investment. We want to have a meaningful impact on the lives and career trajectories of our students, and we want our programs to be approachable for someone with little or no prior experience. We also prefer subjects with clearly demonstrable skill sets, so that there can be no question for employers as to whether or not our grads can do the job. UX design checks all of these boxes, and offers high earning potential, a growing talent gap, and fulfilling day-to-day work working across the vast range of products and apps we use every day.

In this program, students will learn the foundations of UX design, graduating in 14 weeks with a new skill set, a polished portfolio, and the career prep necessary for getting their first job in UX design. We cover UX design fundamentals, information architecture, UI design, interaction design, UX engineering, and design leadership. Throughout the course, students will also learn how to do user research, build personas, and create user journeys, in addition to site mapping and mental modeling. We cover usability testing, wireframes, and accessibility, plus we'll teach students how to put their work together in a way that ensures a smooth handoff to the developers who will build their designs. Each module includes a project that students will build either on their own or in a group.

Why did DigitalCrafts choose to include UX engineering and coding in the curriculum?

It’s important to us to give our students real-world skills that they can use on the job, so we decided to include a UX Engineering module in this program. In this module, students will learn the basics of web development and how to communicate with a developer, two skills that will come in handy as they progress in their UX design career. 

Students do not need to have coding experience before enrolling. We’ll teach the basics of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery, in addition to best practices for completing a design handoff with an engineer.

Why was it important to include a design leadership section in the UX Design curriculum?

We’re particularly proud of the design leadership module! It includes training for important UX skills that may not be obvious at first. Accessibility, for example, includes ensuring that a website meets the needs of the hearing-impaired or visually impaired. Students will also learn about design ethics and diversity in design, plus they’ll write at least one article about UX to help establish themselves and build their network.

How is the curriculum taught? Is this bootcamp offered online and in-person? 

Students can learn from anywhere they choose. Our UX design training will be offered online, taught live by an instructor with years of real-world experience. As with our other programs, students will be supported by at least one teaching assistant in every cohort. 

Students are more than a number in our programs — our average class-size is in the high teens, a result of intentionally keeping classes small and effective. As classes grow in size, we will add additional TAs to give students the support they need.

Students will get a challenging and rewarding educational experience among a community of peers, with all the hands-on collaboration, small class sizes, and the support necessary to launch a career in technology.

Since this is an online bootcamp, how do students interact with each other and collaborate?

Students use tools like Slack and Zoom to communicate during class, and they also collaborate on group projects and pair programming. Students can take advantage of office hours and ask our TAs questions about what they’ve learned in class.

We also offer periodic “elective workshops” that are exclusive to our students and alumni. In these workshops, students learn about topics that are complementary to what they learn in class, and they get to hear from industry leaders at companies like Slack and Google.

What kinds of projects do students work on in the bootcamp? 

There is a project for each module of the program, each building upon the skills learned earlier in the course. Projects will include conducting user research, redesigning a mobile app, designing an interactive website, coding a website, and launching a portfolio.

Is there an ideal student for this UX Design bootcamp? Would this bootcamp be beneficial for anyone already working in tech?

This program is ideal for those new to tech as well as those who are already in the field. We intentionally build our bootcamps to be approachable for beginners, while making them challenging enough for those who have more experience. This bootcamp could help someone change fields entirely, like a teacher who decides to become a designer, or it could help someone build upon existing skills, like a developer who wants to be able to better design the websites and apps they already know how to code.

What is the admissions process like for the UX Design bootcamp? Do you need to know how to code to be admitted into this program?

Students do not need to know how to code before entering our UX design program. While we will teach some basic web development concepts and how to communicate with a developer (skills graduates will use in their UX design careers), no prior coding experience is necessary.

The application process looks the same for any of our programs. It’s just three steps:

  1. First, submit your application
  2. Then complete an admissions exercise.
  3. Then meet with our enrollment team to make sure this bootcamp is a good fit for both you and for us.

These last two steps can be done in the order that works for you. Upon your acceptance, we’ll send an email with details about next steps like submitting your refundable deposit. We’ll also send the pre-class assignments you’ll need to complete before your class begins.

What types of jobs does the UX Design bootcamp prepare students for?

During your UX career, you might work on websites/web apps and enterprise applications, as well as desktop and mobile apps. You might work on discovery, where you perform competitor analysis, define users, and build personas. During concepting, you’ll define the user flow, wireframe design, and digital mock-ups, while in prototyping and usability testing, you will create prototypes and garner feedback from real users of your product.

Job titles our UX bootcamp graduates might expect to receive include UX Designer, Junior Product Designer, UI Designer, or UX Researcher.

Why is now a great time to get into UX design?

UX design jobs are in demand, and that need is increasing. UX design ranked #13 on LinkedIn’s 2021 Jobs on the Rise list, a collection of the fastest-growing jobs currently in demand. UX specialists are in particular need — demand for those roles grew 20% between 2019 and 2020. 

Another important point is that UX design is a career that welcomes people from all backgrounds. With an emphasis on empathy and understanding human behavior, UX designers come from many backgrounds, and you don’t need a design degree or tremendous artistic ability to enter the field. 

What are your tips for new students on how to make the most of the UX Design bootcamp?

We give the same advice to all of our students, regardless of the program they’re enrolled in: You get out of class what you put into it. 

Being an active participant, studying outside of class hours, and working with our Student Success team will all help you find success on the job search. Our students come from all kinds of backgrounds, but our most successful students all have one thing in common: they are committed to working hard toward making real change in their lives.

Students can set themselves up for success before class even starts by doing some learning on their own. Once a student enrolls, we’ll send a number of assignments to complete before class begins. Completing this pre-work helps students get familiar with basic concepts and builds a solid foundation.

If you’d like to learn more or if you need help figuring out whether UX design might be a good fit for you, schedule an info call with our team. We’re happy to help.

Find out more and read DigitalCrafts reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with DigitalCrafts.

About The Author

Jess is the Content Manager for Course Report as well as a writer and poet. As a lifelong learner, Jess is passionate about education, and loves learning and sharing content about tech bootcamps. Jess received a M.F.A. in Writing from the University of New Hampshire, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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