Find out how BrainStation Design Instructor Sarah McVean made the career move from Product Designer at KPMG to UX Manager at Shopify.
It’s an exciting time to be a User Experience (UX) Designer.
As the demand for easy-to-use and accessible digital products grows, employers are looking for candidates who can research, understand and analyze user needs — skills you can learn in BrainStation’s 12-week User Experience Design Full-Time diploma program.
We asked BrainStation’s Admissions Specialist Adriana Baiz about what to expect and how to prepare for a User Experience Design Full-Time Diploma program.
What are the Admissions Requirements?
Students entering the User Experience Design Full-Time diploma program are required to have a high school diploma (most of our students have a bachelor’s degree) and complete the Prep Course challenge and a live video interview with a member of the Admissions team.
“The User Experience Design Full-Time Prep Course is focused around organizing information, and helps determine whether the program will be a good fit,” says Baiz.
English language proficiency is also a requirement for taking a diploma program at BrainStation. Read more about language requirements and how to attend BrainStation as an international student in this blog post.
What Will I Learn During the Program?
BrainStation’s User Experience Design Full-Time program is designed to get students career-ready through project-based learning, resulting in an industry-ready portfolio at the end of 12 weeks.
“The program begins with two weeks of online learning to ensure students get a strong understanding of the building blocks and fundamentals,” says Baiz.
Next, students dive into hands-on learning opportunities that cover design research and strategy, prototyping and usability testing, user interface design, and responsive design. Students can expect to spend around 40 hours in the classroom, as well as 20 to 25 hours per week to complete projects.
“Our program materials are constantly being updated to ensure students are ready to enter the industry after graduation,” says Baiz.
I Don’t Have Any Design Experience. Is This Program Right for Me?
Design experience isn’t required but always a plus! A background in psychology or the social sciences is common, but above all Baiz recommends prospective students spend time understanding and researching what is user experience design before enrolling.
User experience design is often an umbrella term that incorporates many aspects of digital product design. While the program will prepare students to apply the fundamental methodologies of design thinking as an organizational framework for identifying human-centered design opportunities, students who immerse themselves in this mindset early, set themselves for success during the program.
I Am a Designer. Is This Program Right for Me?
The short answer is yes.
Designers with UX skills can gain a competitive edge in the job market. As design-driven businesses are currently some of the top-performing companies, the curriculum is created with the needs of the marketplace in mind. A well-executed design considers not only the function and look of a product but the user’s response.
“A lot of Graphic Designers are attracted to user experience design. First, because it’s pretty much the future of design, and second, it leans more towards strategy as opposed to just design. For example, UX Designers consider factors like accessibility within a digital product. It takes design to the next level,” says Baiz.
What Tools Will I Need for the Program?
Students entering BrainStation’s User Experience Design Full-Time program are required to have a Mac computer.
“The Prep Course challenge can be done in any software the student feels comfortable using, but by the time the program starts, students are expected to use Sketch which requires a MacOS system to operate,” says Baiz.
Students will be using industry user experience design tools like InVision and Sketch.
“Have you played around with programs like InVision, Sketch, or Photoshop? Are you comfortable with the idea of navigating and teaching yourself new software? While it’s not a requirement, getting familiar with the software used in the program helps to make the learning curve smoother,” says Baiz.
What Kind of Job Can I Get after the Program?
The User Experience Design Full-Time program has an employment rate in the field of 91 percent within 180 days of graduation, with past students being hired by companies including Shopify, Hootsuite, and The Home Depot.
“Depending on their background, students typically start in a junior UX/UI position,” says Baiz.
For example, BrainStation alum Gigi worked in wealth management before switching careers and landing a job as a UX Researcher at Shopify. Mike, another BrainStation alum and former Art Director, used skills learned in the program to get a job as a UI/UX Designer at Air Canada.