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DESIGNATION

Chicago, Online

DESIGNATION

Avg Rating:4.8 ( 40 reviews )

Recent DESIGNATION News

Read all (10) articles about DESIGNATION →

Recent DESIGNATION Reviews: Rating 4.8

all (40) reviews for DESIGNATION →

2 Campuses

Chicago

2 Courses
Digital Marketing, Design, Product Management, Mobile, User Experience DesignIn PersonFull Time70 Hours/week24 Seats

Take a deep dive in to the strategy and structure behind the creation of digital products. Learn how to identify who your users are, and how to build products that solve a problem. then conduct usability testing to ensure what you built is both efficient and effective. If you have any questions, or to discuss the course and whether it's right for you, email will@designation.io.

Course Details

Financing
Climb, Pave, Skill Fund
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
Design Essentials is a required pre-requisite for this course for students without prior professional design experience.

The tools of the UI designer are many, and in this phase, you'll work with all of them. Learn about layouts, identity, preparing assets and interpreting UX research documents to make killer designs that are not only beautiful, but also intuitive and easy to use. If you have any questions, or to discuss the course and whether it's right for you, email will@designation.io.

Course Details

Financing
Climb, Pave, Skill Fund
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
Design Essentials is a required pre-requisite for this course for students without prior professional design experience.

Online

1 Course

Learn the essence of user experience (UX), user interface (UI), interaction design (IxD) and more over six weeks of part-time learning that covers the core skills of design and product development. Join a small class of motivated people to learn from our special team of instructors and mentors. If you have any questions, or to discuss the course and whether it's right for you, email will@designation.io.

Course Details

Deposit
$800
Financing
Skills Fund
Minimum Skill Level
Beginner

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Our latest on DESIGNATION

  • Front End Development vs Back End Development: Where to Start?

    Lauren Stewart12/28/2015

    Do you want to be a front end developer or a back end developer? Understanding your career goals at the end of a coding bootcamp can make it easier to narrow down which school is best for you. But this can be a tricky task if you aren’t familiar with these terms. Let’s dig into the difference between front end web development and back end development: which programming languages you’ll learn, which coding schools teach them, and what to expect from a career as a back end or front end web developer!

    Front end development is mostly focused on what some may coin the client side of development. Front end developers will be engaged in analyzing code, design, and debugging applications along with ensuring a seamless user experience. You manage what people first see in their browser. As a front end developer you are responsible for the look, feel and ultimately design of the site.

    Continue Reading →
  • Community Director Spotlight: Mike Joosse of DESIGNATION

    Liz Eggleston11/10/2015

    Founded in 2013, DESIGNATION offers an immersive bootcamp for aspiring UX and UI designers. Mike Joosse, their new Community Director, tells us about his transition from the design world to DESIGNATION, the most important ingredient for a successful UX designer and how DESIGNATION prepares students for post-bootcamp careers.

     

    Tell us about your background and what you were doing before DESIGNATION.

    I come from a design background. I went to design school a long time ago and was a practicing designer for a while. I took a few different turns until I eventually came to Chicago and worked as a Communications Director for a local brand and marketing agency called VSA Partners.

    One of my duties was promoting the agency’s digital services. They were long known in print, design, branding and typography, but they had this amazing digital team doing UX, content strategy and front end/back end development. When I got to know them and their passion for wanting to mentor and be involved with educational opportunities, I thought about DESIGNATION.

    I had friends who were part-time teachers and mentors here. Their name kept coming up, so they were the first people that I talked to while I was at VSA and said, “Our digital team would love to get involved with you guys, how can we do that?” That started the conversation that eventually led me here.

    Your role at DESIGNATION is Community Director; what does that mean?

    It has a few different meanings. We’re still a small startup and our roles are diverse. We cover a lot of ground and that’s very exciting to me because I’ve always been a person who loves having multiple responsibilities. It’s mainly defining and engaging our community. That’s everything from graduates to current students and companies in the communities where we place graduates.

    For companies, it means finding ways to bring awareness to all DESIGNATION has to offer. How do we get them to understand the great things that DESIGNATION graduates can offer them? How can we provide mentorship opportunities for their employees? How can we get them involved in all of the other educational opportunities that are here in Chicago? I also manage external events and partnerships, interfacing with organizations like AIGA Chicago, IXDA Chicago and chiDUXX.

    I’ve been working in the design community for a long time, and I love being able to work with so many people to promote a wonderful program that I was a fan of before I came here.

    Did it take some time to be convinced of the bootcamp model?

    It took about five minutes for me to realize that bootcamps are a pretty amazing recent development. It’s an excellent alternative to traditional design education, especially in the areas of UX and UI, which haven’t been around that long. I’ve seen so many people go through a two- or four-year program or more, just to have a never-ending stream of continuing education where you don’t necessarily reach a goal, you’re just observing knowledge. That can very easily go to waste.

    Ultimately, I respect hard work and commitment. When somebody agrees to a really intensive bootcamp experience, I see that as a pretty amazing investment that I want to maximize for them.

    Is there a traditional UX/UI design education path? Who are DESIGNATION graduates going up against when they’re applying for jobs?

    There are a lot of different ways to teach and learn UX, especially here in Chicago. There are some programs that are very conceptual and research-based. Graduates from those programs (which are usually two to four-year programs) are leaning more towards strategist roles where they’re all about planning and big picture strategy. Graduates from other programs are very task-based and there’s not necessarily much conceptual background.

    I see DESIGNATION as being in the center. We stress the importance of the concept but also putting in the work. We produce people who have to be strong as designers and as creators.

    There are a lot of different opportunities and roles for UX and UI designers. The current scene feels like where design was 20 years ago or maybe earlier, because there are so many different types of people entering the field and there are opportunities for everybody.

    When we say UX/UI, we tend to associate those together but in your experience in getting people placed and being on the hiring side of it, is there really such a thing as a UX/UI designer?

    I think so, but I think we also see some of our graduates go to work at startups that have five or ten people. At that size, the odds of somebody being multi-faceted like that goes way up. I like encouraging people to follow these opportunities. If they really want to practice both, I say, market yourself to those startups and smaller companies so that you can be more of a generalist.

    But I warn them – as these startups get larger, they’re going to hire more people and your job will narrow to be more specialist. We already see so many graduates who want to specialize in one area and we say, that’s great. Keep developing your portfolio along that route, but always maintain the other skills. If you want to practice UI, keep developing your knowledge of UX; learn the basics of coding because that’s going to help you empathize with your team, who will also help you become a more conscientious designer.

    What companies are leading the hire of UX/UI designers? Is that a first hire in your experience?

    I’m not sure there’s a specific size where that’s really important. I’d like to believe that UX and UI – especially UX – are growing in prominence and urgency for these companies. They’re realizing that they need to hire these people much sooner than they did in the past. I think a UX designer has to be at the beginning of the conversation. He has to be in the room to say, “What do you want this product to achieve? What is it supposed to do and who is supposed to do it?”

    When thoughtful, conscientious designers get in at the beginning of a process, they can make a big difference. We constantly teach our students – and it’s probably a universally accepted truth at this point – that the problem is not always what the client believes it to be. It’s what you, the researcher and designer who’s looking at this from a bird's-eye perspective see it is. It could be an entirely different problem, so you have to solve that problem instead. The sooner that they realize that the sooner they can make an impact on the process.

    Is UX/UI design a career that someone can transition into? Do you have to have a design background in order to transition into UX/UI?

    When you’re looking at things like composition and form and structure, having a design background definitely helps. But I think bigger than that, the best students and graduates are the ones who are interested in tackling a problem from a new perspective. They’re ones that value empathy, understanding what someone else’s need might be and how they can do something about that.

    We’ve accepted students who work in data science, social work and education. These are people who never opened up Axure or Sketch before. But they come with a fundamental understanding of what UX achieves and what UI achieves and what you can accomplish as a designer at a very basic level. Those are people that have the best opportunity because it’s harder to teach somebody empathy or teamwork or discerning what the client is saying. And if you’ve had experience doing that before, to me, that’s more valuable than a design or coding background.

    As the Community Director, you’re connecting students with the professional design world. You mentioned meeting with students to understand their needs and goals. When does that process start at DESIGNATION? Are you meeting with students once a week throughout the course?

    Our program is 12 weeks and about five or six weeks in is when I pair students with a professional mentor who’s in their area—a UX designer, UI designer or somebody who’s a mixture of those. The one-on-one relationships that I build with the students really start after that mentorship assignment.

    We start bringing in guest speakers to talk about their experiences on specific topics like how to build a case study or tips on interviewing. Sometimes it’s very big picture like “here’s what life is like at this startup” or “Here’s what it’s like to work as a UX designer with 50 other UX designers around you.” We also start doing some studio tours and weekly workshops on best practices for finding a job and building a portfolio.

    It means a lot of one-on-one work with students. I sit down with them at the halfway point (week six) and starting asking about what they’d like to do. Sometimes those ideas are fully formed; other times they’re very general and it takes an ability to discern what they’re actually looking for. When they say things like, “I want a mentor” or “I’d like to be able to keep learning while I’m there” then I can say, “You might be looking for an in house team environment or a larger product design company where they have that structure built in.” My dad is a guidance counselor and I think he passed on a lot of that curiosity and desire to help students – with their portfolios and personal brands and make introductions with companies they want to work for.

    As you are connecting with companies, the biggest question that I get is who actually hires bootcamp graduates?

    It seems like twice a week, I send an email to another company just to introduce DESIGNATION. We find that they respond very well to these students committing a lot of their lives to shift their career. They're very passionate and excited about how they’re coming out of this program, and they’re very skilled.

    We tell them about how unique the DESIGNATION curriculum is. So when they do meet our students, they’re impressed with the way they talk about their work and the experiences they’ve had. They’re quantifying those unique things about DESIGNATION that put them above graduates from other programs, bootcamps or otherwise.

    One by one, we’re reaching more companies and more people who are saying, “Man, there’s something special about designers who’ve come out of bootcamps in general, and DESIGNATION specifically. Maybe we need to look at using bootcamps like DESIGNATION to source our employees.” I think they realize that when you’re used to working 11, 12 hours a day/70 hours a week for a sustained period of time, you can do anything as a professional. You can learn things very fast because you’re used to that pace.

    Since arriving at DESIGNATION, what have you noticed that you need to add to this hiring process and how have you iterated on it?

    I’ve built my career in the last six or seven years since I stopped being a designer around helping people. That propelled me in a really interesting direction based on doing what I could to help people get to this other stage of their career.

    When I came to DESIGNATION, I realized this was a perfect opportunity where there were a bunch of students every six weeks saying, “I’m not entirely sure where I’m going. I know that I want to get there and I know that I’m going to be a good UX/UI designer when I get there. What can you tell me about what I can do from here?” Being able to be in that conversation is such an honor and a huge responsibility for me that I take very seriously.

    Setting aside time to build a relationship with every student and saying, “Your success is my success” is my priority. And when students go out there and find a job, it’s the greatest feeling that I could have.

     

    Want to learn more about DESIGNATION? Check out their Course Report page.

  • September Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Liz Eggleston10/7/2015

    Welcome to the September News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Do you want something considered for the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!

     

    This Week on Course Report:

     

    Aquisitions, Fundraises & Regulation

     

    New Campuses + Courses:

     

    September Must-Reads

     

    Have a great October!

  • Which Chicago Coding Bootcamp Is Best for You?

    Nick Toscano9/22/2015

    Chicago is currently home to a growing lot of coding bootcamp and web immersion programs tasked with preparing students for a lucrative career in web development. Courses providers in Chicago have something for everyone with intensive programs in JavaScript, Ruby and Rails, Java and .NET.  There is a healthy selection of full-time courses as well as part-time bootcamps, workshops, and night and weekend courses for those looking to take their career to the next level. According to Startup Compass’s 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking, Chicago ranks number seven having moved up three spots in the last year year. This is the prime time to equip yourself with much needed web dev skills. Whether you are looking to join one of these 50 Chicago born startups, or have the entrepreneurship spirit to create your own, there is a course provider in the area that has the power to propel you towards your career goals.

    Continue Reading →
  • 3 Reasons Veterans Make Great Tech Bootcamp Students

    Aaron Fazulak2/19/2015

    DESIGNATION, a coding bootcamp in Chicago specializing in immersive design courses, is offering a 90% tuition scholarship for US Veterans. So why tap into this potential group of bootcampers? Aaron Fazulak, co-founder of DESIGNATION, explains the decision!

    Continue Reading →
  • 8 Tips to Avoid Burnout at a Coding Bootcamp

    Liz Eggleston1/28/2015

    Coding Bootcamps are intensive programs- some require an 80 hour per week commitment, and all demand undivided attention in the classroom. This structure may be necessary to learn a new skill in a short time, but it can also overwhelm students and in some cases, cause burnout.

    Luckily, at Course Report, we get the opportunity to talk with alumni from coding bootcamps all over the world, and we always ask how they avoided burnout during their courses. We’ve compiled the top eight best pieces of advice for future students from alumni who have been through it before!

    Continue Reading →
  • September Bootcamp News Roundup

    Liz Eggleston10/2/2014

    Welcome to the September News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Want your bootcamp's news to be included in the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!

    Continue Reading →
  • Student Spotlight: Martha Willis, DESIGNATION

    Liz Eggleston10/2/2014

    With a degree in Advertising Art Direction, Martha Willis was looking for a way to build on her current skillset in pursuit of a web-based career. So she enrolled in DESIGNATION, a full-time, immersive design course in Chicago. We get the scoop from Martha about the application process, her new job as a UI Designer, and how she's continued her education after DESIGNATION. 

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to Designation!

     

    What were you doing before you started at DESIGNATION?

    Just before starting at DESIGNATION, I was working as a junior designer at Proof Integrated Communication - a small NYC based digital agency. I worked on traditional print pieces as well as digital web design. 

     

    Did you have a technical or design background before you applied?

    My undergraduate degree is in Advertising Art Direction, it’s very similar to a graphic design degree but with additional focus on strategy. I also took a web development class where I learned HTML, CSS, JavaScript and basic PHP. It gave me a great foundation going into DESIGNATION.

     

    Why did you choose DESIGNATION? Did you apply to any other bootcamps?

    DESIGNATION was the only bootcamp I applied to - I was originally looking for classes I could take while still working full-time. I wanted something to supplement my current knowledge base, that could lead to a more web based career. When I compared the various programs I realized that DESIGNATION would be the best fit for me. I really liked the idea of being able to fully immerse myself into my learning and surround myself with other passionate creatives.

     

    What was the application process like?

    I made the decision to apply fairly close to the deadline for the first cohort so my application process was fairly quick. I filled out the online application, submitted my portfolio site and went through an in-person interview. It was a really great way to get a better sense of the program and the people involved.

     

    What was your cohort like? Did you find diversity in age, race, gender etc?

    My cohort was fairly mixed group. Many of us were a few years out of college, others were older. My cohort was mostly female, but the cohort right after was mostly male. Ultimately, we all had the same goal - to become better at our craft and support each other in our endeavors.

     

    Who were your instructors? What was the teaching style like and how did it work with your learning style?

    The instructors were designers/developers currently working in their chosen field. They are incredibly knowledgable and were more than happy to share that knowledge (both in and outside of class). Class structures varied depending on the topic being discussed. Usually there was a lecture component and a workshop/hands-on component. We often did peer review for our visual design, all-day workshops for user experience and live coding classes. They were very open to adaption so if something wasn’t working or a student needed extra help, they would do their best to accommodate students. 

     

    Did you ever experience burnout? How did you push through it?

    Burnout is pretty standard in any creative endeavor - especially when you’re working as many hours as many of us did while at DESIGNATION. Being able to take a walk and get a change of scenery are easy ways to restart your brain. Also, making sure to make time for self-care is really important. Even though it’s a rigorous schedule, there is still time to get away and clear your head. It also helps that there are other people going through the exact same thing you are so you can rely on each other for support and understanding.

     

    Can you tell us about a time when you were challenged in the class?

    There were plenty of times I was challenged while at DESIGNATION. For me it was usually getting my logic correct when working with javascript. It was great to be able to turn to my neighbor and ask them for help. If two or three of us couldn’t figure it out we would go to one of our instructors and they were able to explain where we got mixed up.

     

    Tell us about a project you're proud of that you made during DESIGNATION.

    Near the end of my time at DESIGNATION, we worked in teams of three-four to design and pitch a native mobile app to a local startup. It was really great experience to be given the opportunity to work on real client work. We had to apply everything we had learned up to that point - with some help from instructors as well. For our wire framing and prototyping we worked in Adobe Illustrator and Omnigraffle. Most of our design work was done in photoshop and then everything was moved into Invision to create a working prototype. It can be viewed here!

     

    What are you up to today? Where are you working and what does your job entail?

    I am currently working as a web and mobile designer at Spartz, Inc - a small start up in Chicago. I work with some very intelligent, passionate people and I am given a lot of creative freedom. I currently do a little bit of everything; user experience design, interaction design, interface design and occasionally some CSS. I was connected to the company through one of the instructors at DESIGNATION.

     

    Did you feel like DESIGNATION prepared you to get a job in the real world?

    DESIGNATION definitely helped to prepare me for my new job. What I learned there can be applied to everything I do in my new position. I was given a great foundation to build upon. I have never regretted leaving my previous job to go to DESIGNATION and pursue something I was really passionate about.

     

    Have you continued your education after you graduated?

    I do a lot of reading to continue to build my knowledge base - both books and online blogs/magazines. There is no lack of information and resources out there to be discovered. Some are better than others, but there is always something to be learned from what you read. I also find that the best thing you can do is to keep building. Whatever your craft is, being young or new to the field means that you should always be creating. I strive to create as much as I can. It doesn’t have to be something large or groundbreaking, just something creative that gets my brain thinking.

     

    Want to learn more about DESIGNATION? Check out their School Page on Course Report or their website here!

  • $500 Discount to DESIGNATION

    Liz Eggleston9/15/2014

    DESIGNATION is a full-time, immersive design course in Chicago with the primary goal to turn you into a hireable candidate for innovative and tech-focused companies. For a limited time, the Course Report community will get $500 off tuition to DESIGNATION! 

    Continue Reading →
  • Q&A with Kevin Yun, founder of DESIGNATION

    Liz Eggleston3/6/2014

    DESIGNATION is a digital design-focused school in Chicago that helps students with a technical or design background make the shift to digital design jobs. We talk with founder Kevin Yun about the differences between DESIGNATION and other web-development bootcamps, the types of applicants they look for, and why it's important to learn digital design now. 

    Remember, the Course Report community is eligible for a $500 scholarship to Designation!

     

    Kevin, tell us about your background and how you got into this boot camp model of education.

    I’m a startup guy, but I didn’t really find my passion until I started doing design work for the startups I was working on. The startup world can be really scrappy, but you have to learn to do things quick and you have to learn to a lot of things, and wear lots of hats. That’s where most of my self-education and experience came from- just building products with friends and companies. I found that I was interested in design, and that’s when I saw the model for bootcamps coming up. Everyone’s focus seemed to be on programming, which design being treated to the side. There was like, five classes, part-time, but not a real focus on teaching digital design. I wanted to build a curriculum where it was full-exposure, where you’re not expected to be awesome at everything, but at least you would know the whole process. That’s why I started DESIGNATION.

     

    How did you learn front-end development?

    It took me a couple of years, here and there, of self-teaching and doing what needed to be done, but in the end, this is what I really like doing. Specifically, I like visual design, and going into a text editor to execute the design into code. Digital design is a large field, and there’s a tremendous amount of topics involved. The idea of DESIGNATION is really compressing all that knowledge and the insights from people with different experiences in design. Getting them in the same room for a really intense focus on ten weeks of design.

     

    How long has DESIGNATION been operating?

    It’s actually been a year now. We’ve had two part-time cohorts. But we just shifted into a full-time model a couple of months ago, and are about to launch our first class on April 21st.  This is also the first that we’re talking to hiring partners, the first time we’re purposefully taking action to help students get jobs. That’s really the main goal. Our team has doubled within these last two months. There’s a lot of things that need to be changed, revamped, upgraded, and executed on, so we’ve been pretty busy on our end. Adding the hiring partnerships initiative is pretty insane.

     

    How many people are working for DESIGNATION?

    We have a network of mentors, designers, TAs, and design instructors. Really, the core team is our four instructors. Our setup is that we have lectures at night, and then a daytime immersion portion where students work on projects, assignments, and apply the things they learn in lectures during the daytime. It’s work and effort, when it comes down to it. We expect people to take a self-directed approach; we’ll hold your hand, but this is technology. In five years everything will be different, so it’s really important that student be self-directed and be motivated by themselves to reach their goals.  

     

    Why is it important to learn front end design?

    Design has become really prominent, not just in terms of how things look, but the user experience and the research done behind building a product or service for a particular set of people that will use that. It’s not just, “Oh, let’s engineer something and push it out.” It’s starts with building personas, doing a lot of testing, iterating. Design is a large field, especially digital design- there’s everything from UX, front-end web development, and visual design. But really, the goal at DESIGNATION is to get students exposure to all the different types of design- we’re throwing a lot at our students, expecting them to put in the necessary work, follow the program and build an amazing portfolio by the end of the program.  

     

    Do students need to have the Adobe Suite to start the course?

    We require all students to come in with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop already installed. This is for the prep work involved, and of course, for the main program.  

     

    What’s the cohort size that you’re trying to stick to for this first full-time immersive program?

    We’re looking anywhere between 18-24, depending on how we build out our space. We have a dedicated space now at 1440 N. Dayton St. in Chicago. The location is actually right off the red line, about a three-minute walk. The red line is one of five lines in the country that never stops running.  

     

    What are you looking for in potential students? And how many applicants and what kind of applicants are you seeing for this next program?

    This whole week was jam-packed with interviews, as we’re trying to narrow it down for the next class. What we’re really looking for in candidates is a technical or design background. So what that means is that maybe you have experience in back-end or front-end coding, knowing syntax, and semantics of code, or you are familiar with the language of code. We’re pretty serious about our designers learning to code- we believe everybody should learn to code. Our applicant pool has actually been quite strong, and I’ve been pretty impressed by the people we’re taking in. We’re taking in people who have already held UX/UI design positions. Most of them are not junior level- we look for at least, mid to senior level people who want a change in their careers, who do have some experience in design, whether it is Photoshop, Illustrator, or UX. We don’t like to think that we teach people, or we’re a school, as much as we are a group of designers that are showing you our practice.

    So, it’s really that we’re looking for applicants that are already experienced. We’ll accept some beginners if they have a really compelling application or interview we need people who can dedicate an intense ten weeks of their life, and have some sort of experience. This is why there’s prep work involved. We want everyone to be on the same page before coming to class, whether they’re advanced or beginners- at least they’ll all have gone through the same topics before entering.

    I read on your blog that you have lowered tuition. What was the motivation there, and are you seeing more applicants, less applicants, people from different backgrounds that are now able to apply, or are you going to see any money on 2,000?

    The course is really $1,000- if your goal is to get a job after the program and you take a job with one of our hiring partners, we’ll give you a $1000 tuition refund. When we went full-time, the expenses just skyrocketed through the roof. Between building a bigger team, handling admissions, hiring partners, logistics, internal marketing, and everything to make students come in and have a seamless experience. That’s been a full time, day in and day out job just for our internal team. But we lowered the tuition because we believe in the long term vision, which is to place people into design jobs. That’s something our partners are totally in line with. Our business, and the people and services we work for now- our whole team is totally in right now. And I would say that is the most important thing. We have a 100 percent dedicated team to help place our students in jobs.

     

    Do you all have any outside funding?

    My mentality has always been to just be bootstrapped. We are closing a couple of very small rounds from friends and family now- anywhere between 5K and 15K investments, just so we can sustain in the short term and focus on the long term.

     

    It’s pretty clear that there is a disparity between men and women in the web development part of the tech world. Women are underrepresented, and minorities are even more underrepresented. Have you noticed, in your experience, that there is the same sort of disparity between men and women in the design world?

    If you’re talking programming and computer science, I would definitely say there is a huge disparity. I was a student at the University of Illinois at Champaign, and their computer science program is pretty strong, so I hung around that building a lot, and you could definitely see the ratio. But if you’re talking in terms of creatives and designers, 60 percent of our past students have been female, 40 percent male.  Our field is very creative, it is process driven. So I think that’s where it differentiates us. I think the overlap is where you see the coding aspect. I would say our classes don’t have that problem.  It might actually be the opposite problem.  

     

    You seem to really emphasize the hiring aspect of DESIGNATION. Can you explain the relationships that you have with hiring partners?

    We’ve been working on it for a couple weeks now, and it started with some companies reaching out and asking to talk to our students. And some of our students were asking us to help them polish up their portfolios. So we took those hints and we realized that we should just go the whole stretch. On top of that, we’ve been talking to companies that are anywhere from 100 person, design driven start-ups, start-ups that are just starting out, some that are VC funded- that need the talent to expedite their growth, and that can pay the commission for that talent. Just to give you a little scope, there’s 30,000 UX jobs open, and this is according to careerbuilder.com, and there’s only 3,000 professionals that can fill up those UX positions. And this is just for user experience design. What we’re trying to do is get designers that are 20 percent there, and get them to an 80-100% level, a point where they can work with these companies. We’re located in the same building as one of the leading UX agencies in the Midwest. Employers don’t care about your background if you came from a boot camp, or whatever else. It’s really, “Can you show us your portfolio? Can you explain your work? Are you a cool person that we could work with on a day to day basis?“  

     

    If a student takes a job with one of your hiring partners, then they get a thousand dollar refund, right?

    We like to think of it as splitting half the tuition. Our business relies on the tail end, where we place designers into companies.

     

    If that happens, is DESIGNATION also taking a recruiting fee, or a hiring fee, from the company?

    Exactly. That’s how we’re going to pay the bills. $2000 is a crazy low tuition. We just want to work with awesome people- having a large financial barrier to entry didn’t make sense.

     

    What is a design job interview like? How do you help your students train for those interviews?

    Digital design falls into three main categories, and even now terminology is up in the air- it’s a moving industry. We cover UX, which is a lot of research. It’s the framework of building a product for a special type of person or people. Then there’s visual design where you see colors and layouts come into play.  And there’s the coding aspect where we expect people to execute their design work in the language of HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Of course, every company has different needs when it comes to design. The latter half of the program is where we emphasize polishing your portfolio and interview skills, soft skills development, and working on real design projects from real companies. Our instruction team has an immense variety of backgrounds, from agencies to startups, and during the program you'll find the type of design work you want to get into, and we'll help you pursue that path.

     

    Tell us about the tech scene, especially as it relates to design, in Chicago.

    I’m glad we started in Chicago, just because things are way too expensive in San Francisco and New York.  In terms of jobs, it’s just a rising industry in general. As technology gets less and less complex, as people build more products and develop and push and deploy apps, and work in the data, design is tremendously important in terms of not making crappy products- that means a good user experience.

     

    The California regulatory agency story that came out a few weeks ago has gotten a lot of press. Has it given you all any pressure to become accredited or is that something that’s on your radar at all?

    The main reason for that regulation is to keep out the fraud. For example, there’s been thirty boot camps that have just popped up for development and programming across the nation. Whether they’re good, bad, credible, there’ve been more than thirty that have popped out in the last year. In terms of quality and promises and guarantees, the state needs to protect students somehow, so we’re in support of it.  We’re in talks with the state department of Illinois, we’re getting  our documents organized, which puts good pressure on us in terms of organizational structure, academic calendar, etc.

     

    Kevin, are there any plans to expand into other courses, other locations, in the future?

    Our goal right now is 100 percent placement, nothing else. That’s our main focus. Everything we do is revolving around that fact.