Designation is a 24-week program specializing in the fields of UX and UI design with the primary goal to turn you into a hireable candidate for innovative and tech-focused companies. Designation offers a hybrid of both online education and in-person immersion in Chicago. Throughout the 24 weeks of the program, students are treated to guest speakers, sponsored workshops, and lab sessions. While there is no formal grading, students are asked to create portfolio deliverables and to actively document their design process for the purpose of finding a job after graduation. No prior experience is required, though top applicants should be prepared to work a minimum of 60 hours per week during the 12 weeks of the in-person phase. Designation is looking for highly motivated individuals who demonstrate maturity, persistence in problem-solving and show a genuine interest in design.
Recent Designation Reviews: Rating 4.8
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- Digital Marketing, Design, Product Management, Mobile, User Experience Design
In PersonPart Time20 Hours/week5 Weeks
Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $1,000 Class size N/A Location OnlineLearn 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deposit $1000 FinancingSkills Fund
Minimum Skill Level Beginner Placement Test No Interview No
- Digital Marketing, Design, Product Management, Mobile, User Experience Design
In PersonFull Time70 Hours/week
Start Date Rolling Start Date Cost $15,800 Class size N/A Location ChicagoThe 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 email@example.com.
Deposit N/A FinancingClimb, Pave, Skill Fund
Minimum Skill Level Design Essentials is a required pre-requisite for this course for students without prior professional design experience. Placement Test No Interview Yes
- Digital Marketing, Design, Product Management, Mobile, User Experience Design
In PersonFull Time70 Hours/week17 Weeks
Start Date None scheduled Cost $15,800 Class size 24 Location ChicagoTake 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deposit N/A FinancingClimb, Pave, Skill Fund
Minimum Skill Level Design Essentials is a required pre-requisite for this course for students without prior professional design experience. Placement Test No Interview Yes
115 reviews sorted by:
- Cristina Bichara • Graduate • Course: UI Design Intensive (begins every 6-8 weeks) • Campus: Chicago • Verified via LinkedIn
I won't lie and say this program was fun the entire time. I struggled through it. Some days, it felt really overwhelming. I was pushed beyond my comfort zone, I lost sleep and sometimes it felt like I failed pretty hard but ultimately, I learned a ton about myself, my skills and what I actually wanted out of a career. I made great friends, I acquired years worth of knowledge in a short time and I can actually see my new skills in action with every new job/project I take on. I felt the curriculum itself needed a bit more fine-tuning, and I hear it continues to be updated, which is great!! Its probably already better now than when I went through the program. Don't get me wrong though, I felt I learned SO much and I wouldn't trade this experience. The knowledge they share is robust and ahead of the curve. I loved the staff at Designation. Everyone has their own style of teaching and leading. Working with different staff members was an added bonus for prepping to be a designer in the real world. I also loved the client work that makes up part of this program. I personally feel this is what separates Designation from other design bootcamps. Working with real clients allowed me to talk about my actual design experience in job interviews versus just fictional projects. I also was lucky to be able to continue to work with one of the clients beyond the program, giving me even more experience than I could've hoped for. If you're thinking about attending Designation, I can tell you from my experience, it was worth it! I'm on the verge of starting my first design focused job and I can't wait to see where my career goes from here.
- Designation turned my life around- 6/30/2018Ben Waters • Consultant/UX Designer • Graduate • Campus: Chicago • Verified via LinkedIn
It was the end of 2016 and I had been looking for a job for close to a year with no luck. The jobs I was looking at during that time were not very desirable. I was not in a good place, but one day I stumbled upon a post about bootcamps as a way to jumpstart a new career. A year after graduating I'm now employed as a UX Designer and couldn't be happier. Designation is a great place to change your career if you are willing to put in the work.
In my case, I had no design experience coming into the program and really appreciated how they started slow and introduced new concepts and ideas before ramping up the difficulty later on.
The Client phase gets you exposure to what working for clients is like. I loved that I got to work with actual clients and get some really solid projects for my portfolio. This is something that most bootcamps are missing.
The Career phase is another thing unique to Designation. You learn how to write case studies, resumes, cover letters and portfolios to help you land a job after the program.
Designation's staff is full of the most hardworking and dedicated people I've ever met. They really care about the program and providing the best experience for people wanting to learn UX/UI.
Despite how thorough career phase is, there is a lack of focus on interviews. I would have loved a couple mock interviews or design challenges.
I would have liked for interaction between the UX and UI side of the program. For the most part, you don't work with the UI side if you are UX very much. Working alongside a UI designer would have been a great experience.
Things to consider before you decide
During the in-person phase of the program, I was putting in 70-80 hour weeks on projects. If you are not willing to put in the work you won't get a lot out of the program.
The program is also quite a bit longer than most. You have to commit to 6 months to complete the program. It is worth it, but you might want to look elsewhere if you want a quicker program.
From the amazing friendships I've made to the great job I have now it is safe to say attending Designation was the best decision, I've ever made. It was a lot of work, but worth every late night and early morning to get where I am now. If you are serious about starting a new career in UX and are willing to put in the work Designation is the best program out there for you.
- Learn the process to everything- 6/22/2018Colin • Product Designer • Graduate • Course: UX Design Intensive (begins every 6-8 weeks) • Campus: Chicago • Verified via LinkedIn
In short Designation teaches you a process that gives you confidence in tackling the unknown. I came from an engineering background and was used to building things, and working through problems. The skills that I picked up during my enrollment in Designation have made how I build things, and how I solve problems more purposeful. To be more specific Designation explicitly taught me the process of how to create mobile and web applications, but they also teach you how that process can be applied successfully to nearly everything. Since then I've used the same process to confidently do anything from leading the art direction and writing the script for marketing videos, to developing key performance indicators that will monitor the health of a mobile application through a beta launch (both completely new experiences for me).
The programs immersive nature gives you opportunity to apply what you're learning in real time, with real people, and real problems - which is an invaluable. Now that I'm graduated, I find myself the member of an active Designation community, who continually help each other, whether it be through asking and answering questions, or provide leads and connections to new opportunities. It's really a wonderful community to be apart of.
If you are looking for a program to help you break into the UX/UI world, you cannot go wrong with Designation.
- Want to learn UX? Sign up for Designation- 6/21/2018chels • Content Creator • Graduate • Course: Design Essentials (Online, Part-time) • Campus: Chicago • Verified via LinkedIn
After working as a content writer in Chicago for a few years and hearing from my department's UX team that Designation was the way to go to learn UX, I decided to give it a try. Designation is broken into different phases, beginning with Design Essentials, a 6 week virtual introduction to UX and UI. The idea is that you pay a deposit for DE, take the course online (15-20 hours/week), then talk with your TA about whether the rest of Designation (which spans almost 6 months) is the right fit for you.
A few things to keep in mind: PLEASE do not take Designation Essentials UNLESS you are working <40 hours/week at your current job or your job is truly just so boring/easy that you can lock yourself in a conference room for hours during the day to complete your assignments. Further, you'll need a Macbook, access to a few softwares, and a lot of flexibility to get through these 6 weeks. I love user experience design, had been working with a UX team, was familiar with some of the concepts and work - and yet, it still took me FULL DAYS most weekends to complete the assignments, which build on one another, so if you mess up early on, you're playing catchup for the duration of your time in DE. Assignments are due multiple times a week, so if you work 9-5 and can't pull out your Macbook to very obviously work on design homework, you're probably SOL and won't be able to submit assignments on time. (I am a person who is always 3 days ahead of a deadline for anything, and yet, I was always behind at Designation.)
The good news: you will learn a TON in six weeks, including but not limited to doing user research, conducting a competitive analysis, creating wireframes, loading early hand-drawn prototypes into various prototyping tools (InVision, Marvel), creating style tiles (basically branding your app), plus more. Most of this is learned through hours and hours and HOURS of online videos from across the web, from real designers and researchers as well as YouTube designers.
I know what you're thinking, "but is this worth the money?" Yes. "Couldn't I just find all of that stuff on my own and teach myself?" No. Because when you're looking to jump into a new career, you don't have time to find all of this content, let ALONE learn it. I never had time during my 6 weeks to read every article or watch every video, but I have access to them all even after leaving the program. Your TAs and staff at Designation are truly passionate about helping people launch a career in ux/ui design, which means they answer Slacks and emails quickly and with flexibility.
I loved this program, and even though I ultimately determined the full 6 month course wasn't right for me at the time (I had just started a new job), I fully encourage people to sign up for Designation's DE and just give it a try. I am not a rich person, and yes it was an investment, but it felt like it was worth the money. I have never before taken an online class that didn't just feel like a joke. Designation is no joke.
- Designation will change your life!- 6/10/2018Jeremy • Designer at Moment / Verizon • Graduate • Campus: Chicago • Verified via LinkedIn
2017, one year into my life as a Junior Architectural Designer, I was feeling extremely unsatisfied with the work I was doing. I felt as if I wasn’t making an impact on peoples lives and the work I was doing did not quench the itch I had to design conceptually, create, and problem solve. I had been mulling over transitioning out of Architecture for some time at this point, and after months of research plus some intro courses at a few boot camps, I made the pivot of a lifetime and couldn't be happier with where I am now. I owe an enormous debt to Designation, and could not have changed my life without them.
Why I Chose Designation
I discovered Designation through months of research and even took some intro courses at different programs to really test the waters before making a decision. Ultimately, the genuinely immersive program length and Designation's unique Client Phase—no other program pushed designers to work with real clients/startups— were key deciding factors that prompted me to take the leap. My potential program also needed to have a true studio culture and the energy and melting pot of knowledge that comes it. I believed that Designation was one of the few programs where I would find this, and needless to say, I was not disappointed!
The Staff: The staff at Designation is unbeatable. Passionate, caring, un-imaginably talented and hard-working, the leadership consistently worked to build the next generation of great designers. Throughout the entire program, there was a keen sense of care for each cohort member. Each teacher pushed us as a team and individual to be better than the day before.
Client Phase: By far the most significant differentiator compared to other boot camps. The experience gained by working with real startups, stakeholders and investors not only showed me the true power of design but helped prepared me for the professional world of UX/UI Design. Client Phase gave me a huge competitive edge during my interviews, and no amount of academic work can replicate the constraints, pivots, and hurdles of real-world projects—which become fantastic talking points during interviews!
Career Phase: This phase was the culmination of the entire program, and Mike Joosse—president of Designation—runs Career Phase at a level that pushes everyone to do better and be better. An incredible career coach and mentor, he works one on one with each cohort member to craft resumes, case studies, elevator pitches and portfolios that ultimately set you up for the highest amount of success. Mike cares about each and every designer that comes through Designation, and I couldn't speak more highly of him and the way he has structured Career Phase.
Network: Ever buzzing with the latest design news, job opportunities, and helpful hints and smiles, Designation's postgraduate network is always readily available to assist in any capacity. While not the only key to success, Designation's Alumni are a force to be reconned with and provide new grads with a great foundation that makes networking and job hunting that much less daunting.
Not enough focus on the interview process: While Career Phase and Mike do an incredible job of pushing designers to develop industry ready portfolios and case studies in a short period of time, there's a noticeable lack of interview prep. I was often blindsided by interview requirements such as whiteboard challenges and take home design challenges. There's so much focus on the portfolio, and just not enough on mock interviews and interview best practices and technique.
Not a high enough barrier to entry: While Design Essentials and the application interviews with staff are excellent filters, inevitably, your cohort might have a few people just not cut out for the design industry. Be it their inability to work with other people, attitude or lack of good design talent, there was someone who the entire cohort dreaded working with. I understand Designation is a business at the end of the day, but I wish there were a more extensive filter at the beginning of the program to ensure that people who see design an "easy way out" (to money or happiness) don't make it through.
At the end of the day, Designation was an incredible part of my life. The staff, my cohort, and the environment helped me grow as a designer and as a person, and there is no better way to transition into the UX/UI world. I learned an unbelievable amount and formed relationships to last a lifetime. I would recommend the program to anyone!
- Solid path to getting hired- 4/30/2018John Sun • UI/UX Designer • Graduate • Campus: Chicago • Verified via LinkedIn
Designation was absolutely crucial to me getting my foot in the door. After the program, I got 4 interviews out of ~20 applications and my first offer as a UI/UX designer about 2 months out. It's a very thorough program that is focused on developing one's design process and gaining hands-on experience working with clients. It never felt like I was being pushed to just make artifacts for the sake of making pretty things to show in a portfolio. Every deliverable I made added to my portfolio's narrative and demonstrated my own design process. The 24 weeks was worth it in helping me create a design portfolio from scratch and having the language necessary for UI/UX job interviews
During the on-site experience, especially the really tough immersion project, it was a 70 hour work week with a few all-nighters. All the instructors were great at being guard rails against failure, but they often felt hands-off unless asked to. During the client projects, my team was given a lot of freedom to dictate the flow of the project. I think that was the most important aspect I talked about in my interviews: not so much about any particular design concept, but about working with clients, facilitating discussions, managing expectations, and developing your design process. The client projects ended up being the real meat of the experience, and they gave me enough confidence to do freelance projects apart from the program.
Designation has ups and downs. Their network is mostly in Chicago. I was looking for a position on the east coast, so it felt more difficult for me to access that network once I was out of the program. For me personally, the job assistance felt rather lacking. Also, one thing that helped me get my offer was doing a personal project outside of the program. This was necessary to demonstrate my passion for design beyond the program. Designation currently does not officially offer any assistance in helping designers find valuable side-projects, but once I had one, my mentors were very supportive. So yeah, expect long hours, a kinda lackluster job assistance experience if you're looking outside of Chicago, and the possible need to take personal initiative to do a side-project in addition to the main program.
As an indicator of my satisfaction with my experience, since the couple months I've been out, I have felt comfortable enough to mentor a new designer in doing a side-project and developing their own portfolio.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Designation to friends as a great place to get your foot in the door for design and meet and work with wonderful people. They do a damn fine job if you're able to handle a 70 hour/week workload and be okay with not having everything handed to you. My only real suggestion for the program would be to work on developing a network outside of Chicago.
- Change your life in 6 months.- 4/17/2018Caitlin • Product Designer • Graduate • Course: UI Design Intensive (begins every 6-8 weeks) • Campus: Chicago • Verified via LinkedIn
Overview. Like all things you do in life, Designation is what you make it of it. If you put in the work and use the resources provided, this program can change your life. It is intense, challenging, and satisfying. I came out of this program a different professional person and a more reflective human. I loved my time in the program, most of the people I met, and everyone that works at Designation.
* In-depth curriculum and working knowledge of design prepares you for application in a job setting
* Well versed and supportive staff members that really care about designers success
* Client projects that give you real portfolio pieces
* Work-like style of in-person phase
If you are serious about making a career change and are ready to work your ass off and embrace loving it, then Designation IS for you. You will lose most of your social life, but if you care about design, you’ll likely fall in love with working as hard as you do during your time here and it can be a valuable experience. I couldn’t be happier with my choice to attend. I was able to change careers, grow as a human being, and made a lot of life-long friends in the process.
Choosing a Program. I choose Designation because as a career switcher if I was going to make the jump I wanted to do it at 150%. Designation is the longest and most specialized I looked at and gave real client experience in a small community setting. I couldn’t be happier with my choice to attend and feel confident in my decision.
Overall Curriculum. Designation is 24 weeks long, a mix of virtual and in-person, which I thought was beneficial to learning and then focusing on applying skills. They have great curriculum online if you take the time to read it. The in-time focuses on applying your skills and soft-skill development where you will work closely in teams and with real clients. You end the program with an in-depth career phase to help you set yourself up for success. They are constantly improving and looking for feedback on how things can be better, which I found to be a strength of the program.
UX vs. UI. You have to choose UX or UI after 6 weeks, which I had a very hard time with. I felt pressure to choose UX based on the advertising and curriculum but ended up choosing UI. A lot of people told me I would be better served to do UX, but I actually don’t think this is true now for where I came from and what I want to do. UI forced me to learn in a completely different way and really pushed me out of my comfort zone to learn something (visual design) that I think would have been much harder to do on my own. I knew that I wanted to do Product Design, which has elements of both UX and UI. My background was all in research and jobs that required critical thinking, so I felt more comfortable with the UX, which is why I choose UI. I think visual design is harder to learn, or it was for me personally, and I feel confident it would have been harder for me to get the job I did having chosen UX.
Also, due to the way in which the design process works, if you do UI, you are inherently involved with some UX changes in all of your projects, which allows you to have a little bit of both UX/UI in your portfolio. I feel as though I got a little more experience on both sides of UX and UI due to this.
Time Commitment. The in-person phase is very intense. They say 10-12 hours a day, but I put in closer to 15-18. I believe this allowed me to make a real change and improve in the way that I personally needed to as a designer. I don’t necessarily advise other people to do this, but I moved from another city for the program so I didn’t have any other asks on my time. I will say that I think it paid off afterward and showed me that if you can work that hard towards something, be exhausted, but still be happy to get up the next morning, then you’ve probably made the right choice. You can do anything for 12 weeks, but if this type of intensity (at least 10 hours a day), then I might look elsewhere.
People. As a growing startup, they cannot be as selective in who they let in. They work to help people of ALL backgrounds move into design, which is a strength, but with this can come people with differing levels of commitment and work ethic. You may have people in your cohort who are difficult to work with or simply burn out, and to ensure it doesn’t negatively impact your work, you may have to carry their weight. I was also lucky enough to work with some incredibly hard working people too and made a lot of life-long friends. It goes both ways.
Networking. Take advantage of the networking. I moved back to SF and thankfully had a large network here, which helped me immensely in my job search. Utilize the network you gain access to during the program as well as the guest speakers, and if you are moving elsewhere, start reaching out to people in those cities during the program.
Getting a job. It took me 3 months to get a job, while I continued to work at Designation as a DIR. That is another thing that Designation doesn’t really hype up, but if you work hard and are a good communicator/collaborator, there is a chance you’ll be asked to stay on for 3 months in a paid position. It was a good fit for me, as a previous teacher, and I really enjoyed giving back to the program, learning more about UX/UI, and working with all of the staff for three months. It also gave me a nice window to work on my portfolio without stress. I think this is another huge advantage for Designation. I interviewed at three companies before landing my job and felt very prepared from all of my time at Designation. I will say that I was rejected without interview from probably another 10 or so jobs, so that is why the networking is so important—it helps get someone to actually look at your resume and consider you.
- My Designation Journey- 4/12/2018Ankit V. • UX Architect • Graduate • Campus: Chicago • Verified via LinkedIn
My Background: Prior to Designation I worked as a Project Manager in a completely non-related field to design, which is to say that I'm a career switcher and I was quite hesitant to do so in the beginning since I had to quit my job and take a leap of faith.
The Program: The structure of the bootcamp is setup so that you’re initially exposed to the entire process of designing a digital product to get a sense of what UX and UI (separately). You're expected to pick either one to move forward in the curriculum after the introductory virtual course.
I personally struggled with the decision between UX or UI and would've liked to be a multidisciplinary designer (or maybe a major and minor kinda thing) but chose to move forward with UX since it was a better fit for my background and knew my odds of getting a job as a UX Designer would be better. Also, as you proceed in the program, there isn't any exchange of knowledge between UX and UI folks and it's something that I personally would've liked.
Looking back at the entire experience, I think it helps if you know what kind of work environment and prospects you're seeking i.e. small vs. big (company), startup vs. enterprise, hybrid vs. specialized (role). I would say talk to as many people in the field as you can to figure out what works best for you.
The one aspect that I can't stress enough about is the importance of networking! Designation does a good job of bringing in guest speakers from the industry (some of whom are former Designation grads) to share their experience but the onus is on the individuals to go to meetup events and industry events outside of the curriculum. It definitely helps knowing designers in the field once you've completed the program and are looking for jobs. Designation also has a strong alumni network and quite a few people that I've spoken with have gotten jobs because they were referred to by other grads of the bootcamp. (speaks to the strength of the program)
The in-person phase of the program was definitely the most challenging since most of us aren't used to working 10-12 hours a day but I got accustomed to it after the first week and it was definitely the best part of the program. You get a chance to work directly with entrepreneurs and you’ll be presenting your work in weekly Sprints; I definitely got a lot better at presentations and public speaking through these. Designation does a good job of vetting the clients but they were a couple instances where the clients either weren’t as serious about their project and it was a slight bummer since all the designers wanted feedback from their clients to move the project forward.
Most of the people in the program that get to the in-person phase are absolutely committed to the cause, however there are some who slip through the cracks that just want to do the bare minimum and it's ultimately up to you to either drive the process or bring it to your creative lead's attention for the sake of the project.
The most challenging part of the curriculum for me was the career phase. You're expected to finish a lot of work in a very constrained time frame and I know that none of the people from my cohort were able to get most of the work done within this timeframe. You do have access to Mike who’s a valuable resource in not only providing you with feedback about your portfolio and resume but will also help you navigate the job market by putting you in touch with the right people!
It took me roughly 6 months to get a job after the program and it was quite challenging to get interviews in the first few months after the program. Even though the program says that it takes 3-6 months on average to get your first job, be prepared for the worst case scenario. I feel like it is a combination of a lot of factors that leads to anyone eventually getting an offer; I know some designers from my cohort that got a job a month after and some that still don’t have anything solid. Try to take on freelancing and contracting gigs in the meantime since this will be your ammunition when you go into interviews. In my experience a lot of employers/recruiters want to hear about what you’ve been doing after the program.
In the end, I will say that Designation is a solid program and I was able to switch careers to do something I find challenging and fun! Be real with yourself and assess your strengths and weaknesses before the program...just going through the program is not going to magically present you with a job. Be prepared to say goodbye to your social life for the duration of the program since you’ll be putting in 10-12 hours of work daily. Everyone in the faculty will absolutely help you get to the point where you have the best shot at becoming a designer and finding a job and you will also make some really great friends along the way!
- Complete Career Change in Less than a Year!- 4/9/2018Joyce • UI Visual Designer • Graduate • Campus: Chicago • Verified via LinkedIn
One year ago, I was feeling super unmotivated and defeated at my current position at a family business. It had been two years since finishing undergrad with a degree in Psychology, and I knew I was meant for more. I didn’t think it was possible to find a career that would align my passions for psychology, art, and helping people until a friend encouraged me to look into UX/UI. I did as much research as I could on UX/UI as well as numerous programs, and it was clear that Designation was the best choice because of everything it offered.
A year ago, I had no idea what UX/UI even was. Now, I’m a UI Visual Designer at a great company, and I’m confident I could not have reached this point without Designation and the people I met along the way.
Why I Chose Designation
I believed Designation was the right choice for me after doing extensive research on other UX/UI programs and weighing out what they offered. What drew me to Designation was the immersion and client phases it offered to gain real-life design experience with real clients and collaborating with others. What also helped me choose Designation was the loan programs they offered through Climb Credit, which made it an easy to apply and take out a loan.
For the first 3 months during the virtual phase, I was able to juggle a full-time job with the design workload I had because of the flexibility of working for a family business. Design Essentials and the Virtual phase really set up and prepare you for what to expect in the Immersion phase. Instructors will teach the basics of how to use design tools, but it is really up to you to self-teach and master them.
The Immersion phase consists of a mock project and two client projects with small groups, which require a LOT of work. You will learn your own design process while honing both soft and hard skills. No, it’s not easy, but it is so worth it. The creative directors, designers-in-residence (DIR), instructors, speakers, and cohort mates truly make it one of the best and unique experiences you will ever have. They are some of the best people I’ve ever met!
Career Phase/Post Graduation
During this phase, you will work with Mike Joose, who is the president of Designation and also handles the career phase. He will help you write and edit resumes, Linkedin profiles, case studies, cover letters, portfolios, etc., but most importantly, he will help connect you with clients and companies if you continue to stay in contact with him and show effort in the job searching process. He helped me get a short contract position right after graduating and continued to send my portfolio and contact information over to companies and recruiters until I found the best job match. He is the best resource you will have coming out of Designation.
Designation was one of the most rewarding, fun, and best learning experiences I’ve ever had. There is truly no other program like it, and that is why it draws people in from all over the world. You learn to work harder than you ever have before and meet the best people along the way. If you want to get into the UX/UI field, I highly recommend it!
- Attention Career-changers!- 4/6/2018Kevin • Visual Designer • Graduate • Campus: Chicago • Verified via LinkedIn
Long story short: If I can change careers, you can too. Designation is worth it, and you get what you put into it. It was easily the best career move I've ever made, hands-down.
I won't go into crazy detail about the curriculum, but I can touch on my personal experience and why I chose Designation. I was in logistics sales for 2.5 years, not crazy about it, and wanted to do something more creative. Obviously, I didn't have the skillset to make it in design, so I did my research and found that Designation was highly-recommended by family and friends in the industry.
Holy cow, was it a lot of work but 150% worth it. The early phases worked with my work schedule. These virtual phases were excellent for grasping the broader concepts of UX, and the instructors were incredible. They taught me that all feedback is useful, and the in's and out's of the design process.
For me, the best part of Designation was the in-person phases. Meeting the creative individuals I had only known virtually was a lot of fun, and everyone was extremely passionate. Collaborating with these different designers was really fun, and really drove me to think outside the box. This was also where I got the most hands-on experience with my technical skills, which I drastically lacked. We worked with real clients, designing real products, and I built out a solid portfolio. Yeah, late nights and some weekends, but so what? I was completely changing the direction of my professional career in less than 6 months!
The final phase preps you for the job-hunt, and what to expect when looking for jobs in design. This was also extremely useful for someone like me who had to explain why I changed careers, and why that company should hire someone with only a bootcamp under their belt. Fortunately for me now, I have a substantial amount of technical skills and professional experience, all thanks to my time in Designation.
All in all, I went from a Joe Schmo who could only operate Microsoft Paint, and now I have a job as a visual designer at a major pharmacy company. The time, effort, and enthusiasm I put into Designation definitely paid off.
- John • UX Designer • Graduate • Course: UX Design Intensive (begins every 6-8 weeks) • Campus: Chicago • Verified via LinkedIn
When I first heard about Designation, I was a mechanical engineer without a background in design. I wasn’t sure if I had the skill or creativity to be successful in UX design, but once I decided to switch careers and pursue a career in technology and design, I knew Designation was the best option for me. They provide the most education for their price (24 weeks is a long time!) and offer real client experience, which is crucial when getting your first UX/UI design job.
I used their 6-week prerequisite course, Design Essentials, as a litmus test to determine whether I’d actually enjoy the Designation and UX design. I fell in love with the process during this phase, and I was excited to go through the rest of the program.
After completing Designation, I spent about a month working on my portfolio. I was hired as a short-term contractor about 1.5 months after graduation. Two months later, I started my full-time role as a UX designer for another company.
What I liked about Designation:
The staff are incredible and do as much as they can to help designers succeed. They truly believe in educating the next generation of effective, workplace-ready professionals. They not only teach us how to iterate, but also look for improvements in their own curriculum. This willingness to change and try new ideas helps this program stay ahead of its competitors.
Perhaps the biggest stigma against bootcamp graduates is that they only have academic projects that don’t reflect working experience. Designation directly combats this stigma with not only one, but TWO client projects. I regularly discussed these projects with prospective employers, who were generally glad to know I’d worked with real businesses.
A lot of interview questions ask you about your working style and any problems you’ve overcome working in groups. Each Designation cohort is fairly small (mine was 16 people), so there’s a lot of room for collaboration. With each project, I learned to effectively work with others, and I learned a lot about my own working style as well. This program cultivates an environment that’ll develop your soft skills, yet another factor that prepares you for a great career in design.
Designation ends with two weeks of career material. Mike, the President and career counselor of Designation, walks you through everything you need to know about the UX/UI design job hunt. He often reiterates that it’s not enough to be good at design—you also need to be good at selling it. He’s the greatest career resource, and with his help, I created a portfolio that received a lot of positive feedback throughout my job hunt. He also keeps Designation graduates accountable until they find a job. You won’t find career support like this anywhere else.
At the end of the day, you get out of this program what you put in. The staff at Designation make sure all their designers understand that. As you can guess from other reviews, the program is tough, but if you work hard and check your ego at the door, you’ll find it incredibly rewarding as well
- A legit opportunity to transform your career- 3/30/2018Grace • Graduate • Course: UX Design Intensive (begins every 6-8 weeks) • Campus: Chicago • Verified via LinkedIn
There are plenty of reviews here that go into detail about the Designation curriculum and experience, so I don't want to go too deeply into those topics. What you're signing up for is an opportunity for a new, kickass career and a set of tools.
Designation will provide you with all the learning resources you need to get started as a designer, an incredibly knowledgeable and friendly community, and a chance to apply what you learn in a safe environment (it's seriously hard to screw up and you might need to do some self examination on whether this is the thing for you if you do). What you get out of it is ultimately up to you.
The only drawback was the lack of repetition on using certain programs like Axure, which is more related to the nature of tight timeframes in a bootcamp.
The most valuable part of Designation is the client phase projects where you get to work with real clients (which is critical for creating a portfolio that stands out. Make sure you take thorough notes during the client phase for your portfolio case studies. This will save you time and help you as you begin preparing for the job hunting process.) and the career phase where you get to work with Mike, who is an incredibly helpful individual. That man will fight for you.
For me, Designation was hands down one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. It widened my perspective on things that go way beyond just UX and design. I made life long friendships, leveled up professionally, and was able to better envision what it is I need to do to become a strong designer.
What that means is I was exposed to a variety of scenarios and able to closely collaborate with all sorts of people in a short amount of time, which allowed me to fully understand and confirm my own professional strengths and weaknesses. That in turn was key to presenting and branding myself to companies as I job hunted.
Many people are nervous about that job hunting portion but if you understand what you're good at and not so good at, it saves a lot of headache in terms of your optimizing your strategy and maximizing your chances of getting the right job for yourself. Mike Joosee will help you a lot with this in the career phase.
So my biggest piece of advice to get the full value out of Designation is:
1. Decide why you want to join a UX bootcamp
2. Familiarize yourself with the curriculum and what they are presenting to you
3. Create clear objectives for what you want to get out of each phase
4. Work HARD
5. Take advantage of all the networking opportunities and get to know your fellow designers as the cool people they are
Bottom line: Take an active approach. Do not be passive. You're here to make a career transition into a profession that you actually like. Use Designation as a practice round and confidence builder.