I was encouraged to pursue outside education if I was to be an eligible candidate for a career change into Product Design.
Here are my reasons for enrolling and ultimately loving the UX Design Bootcamp at General Assembly.
Yes, it payed off.
Yes, it was expensive.
1. 100% confidence
I was 100% confident that I wanted to become a Product Designer, so the cost did not deter me.
Also, the reputation the program had at my company was held in high regard.
2. Hands-on learning
I learn best by doing and the hands-on learning the bootcamp offered was a great avenue for this. The learning was all in-person, at the time.
Feedback is incredibly important.
Having a professional’s ears and eyes critique your work is invaluable.
I had done a few speciality courses that GA offered online during the pandemic and while they were helpful, I definitely did not get as much out of those courses as I had in-person.
While our new reality may mean in-person is not going to happen for you, I would encourage you to make sure the opportunity to speak with your instructor and hearing their feedback is frequent and built-in to the program.
3. Personally connecting with my instructor
The opportunity to connect personally with your teacher is invaluable.
The bootcamp that I had enrolled in was a one-week, Monday through Saturday, 9am-5pm intensive. I took every opportunity to speak with my teacher one-on-one during that week.
He was awesome and allowed me to share his time. We went out to lunch every single day and I hammered him with every question I could think of.
He was kind enough to invite me to the evening classes, so I was often there until nearly 10pm each night.
I still talk to my instructor and am so grateful for his advice and guidance.
4. Meeting others
Although my class was small, I made a point to spend as much time with them as possible - in and out of class.
Many people are in a similar position as I was in: transitioning careers. It was encouraging to learn about their backgrounds and what had them interested in making a career change.
I met engineers, government workers, and teachers. They all had such an interesting perspective in class.
My workshop facilitation skills also got heavily exercised. The opportunity to work with a diverse group of people helped my confidence in leading these professionally in the future.
5. Structured learning and accountability
I find it very difficult to keep myself accountable taking pre-recorded online classes. There is nobody who is asking about your homework, or calling on you randomly in class about the material the day prior.
Having that structured learning and daily accountability for making sure you put that day’s lessons to practice helped keep me on track and motivated.
Every day there was new material. There was homework. There were projects.
These deadlines helped me stay focused and motivated. We all know how easy it is to procrastinate.
There is a lot of material out there. A lot of it is free. A lot of it is good. Some of it is bad.
Although General Assembly, or a similar bootcamp, can be a heavy investment of time and money, I found it to be the right fit for me.
In reflection, I 100% believe that it helped me make the career change from marketing to Product Design. The time I got to spend with my instructor was beyond the value I paid for the material I learned in the bootcamp.
If you would like to chat, or ask any questions, feel free to hit me up on LinkedIn!