“But will I get a job at the end of it?”—that’s often the priority question from prospective students when they’re weighing up whether to enroll on a design program like Designlab’s UX Academy.
Over the past few months, we've been piloting Career Services in UX Academy—a new feature we’re incredibly excited about. Students are assigned to a Career Coach at the end of the course, and they then work together for up to 3 months to improve their portfolio, job applications, and interview techniques. In this article, we explain the thinking behind Career Services, outline how it works, and explore some of the ways that it’s already benefiting students.
1. The need for employability
People often consider enrolling on a design bootcamp because they are unhappy with their current work, and are researching how to retrain for a new career doing something they are passionate about.
Students joining our UX Academy program tend to have quite different needs from those considering college education. Significantly, most UX Academy applicants are already in stable employment, sometimes with excellent pay. Our students also tend to be a little older than college entrants (usually in their mid-20s to mid-30s), and may have children, mortgages, and other commitments.
Understandably, coming from this position can lead to a focus on the risks of retraining. So it’s our job as educators at Designlab to provide courses that not only equip students with the right skills for today’s industry, but also create confidence in the rewards of completing the program.
Up to now, we’ve been meeting these needs in 3 main ways:
Teaching a rigorous curriculum in design theory, process, and technique (Phase 1)
Facilitating 3 realistic design briefs (“Capstones”) and portfolio preparation (Phase 2)
Offering a 6-month job guarantee, which promises a refund of the course fee to those not securing an entry-level position in the industry within 6 months of completing the program.
As part of UX Academy, students already benefit from at least 24 1-on-1 sessions with expert design mentors currently working in the industry. While this gives students excellent insight into the realities of a career in design in today’s world, that mentoring alone doesn’t offer career support once students have completed the coursework and received their certificate of completion.
To better meet this need, we are proud to announce the introduction of Career Services.