Are UX Courses on LinkedIn Learning Enough for a Successful Career Switch? was originally published on Springboard.
User experience design is important to any business with a digital presence because it constitutes a practice devoted to fulfilling the user’s needs. The user experience encapsulates how a person feels when they interact with a digital interface, such as a website, mobile app, software application, or any other type of human/device interaction. Especially when it comes to digitally native businesses, such as SaaS companies whose core product lives on a digital interface, user engagement is one of the number-one metrics that drive revenue. Businesses want customers to click, type, swipe, buy, and complete goals on their website or application.
Consequently, UX professionals are in demand globally, especially in key technology markets like the U.S., Australia, Europe, and Canada. UX designed ranked #5 in the top 10 most in-demand technical skills per a 2020 report from LinkedIn.
This trend is expected to prevail through 2021 as the user experience becomes a ranking factor in Google search results. Google announced plans in May to release a new ranking algorithm that will quantify a user’s perceived experience when determining rank for a particular page or website. “Earlier this year, the Chrome team announced Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics related to speed, responsiveness, and visual stability, to help site owners measure user experience on the web,” the engineers wrote in a blog post.
What’s more, projected job growth for UX designers is 22% over the next 10 years, showing that now is a great time to enter the field. A 2019 Product Design Hiring report by InVision found that 70% of people managers surveyed said they had increased the headcount of their design team in the past year. The report also found that 92% of highly mature design companies have a direct connection between design efforts and revenue.
While traditional education pathways to UX design remain few and far between—there is still no such thing as a degree in UX design—would-be designers have numerous choices when it comes to learning UX design. Online and in-person bootcamps, online courses, and MOOCs are just a few of the options available. LinkedIn Learning is a popular option for mid-career professionals who are looking to build their skills in a new or adjacent field.
What Do UX Courses Entail?
A good UX course combines theory with practical, real-world experience that gets you job-ready. While bootcamps offer a comprehensive course curriculum and career readiness services, one-off courses and certificate programs can teach you specific skills in UX design.
Quality UX bootcamps will have a rigorous curriculum aligned with the skills employers are looking for, and offer numerous opportunities for students to create design deliverables that are on par with industry standards. A comprehensive course covers all the fundamentals including the design thinking process, UX research, usability testing, and interaction design. Usage of industry-standard design tools such as Sketch, Adobe XD, Balsamiq, Figma, and Invision is also essential. Opportunities to learn specialized skills such as UX writing, UX research, and information architecture can help you decide if you want to specialize in your career.
As far as practical experience goes, you should expect hands-on projects covering the full design cycle, from wireframes to high-fidelity prototypes. Expect a range of learning resources, from reading materials to help you learn theory, videos that show the theories in practice, and worksheets that help you cement your knowledge.
However, it’s not enough to just learn about the tools and design deliverables. Developing empathy for the user and conducting user research are crucial competencies for landing your first UX design job, so look out for courses or bootcamps that offer you the opportunity to create user personas, design user flows, and even perform usability tests on real users. Opportunities to participate in design sprints—where you’ll rapidly cycle through the entire design process in one or two weeks—are a great bonus that prepares you for a real-world design job.
If you’re taking an online course or bootcamp, the best format is a mixture of live sessions and hands-on video lectures. Live classes give you the opportunity to interact with your instructors and learn from other students in the course, while video lectures enable you to learn more complex concepts at your own pace. Best of all, self-paced learning allows you to study while working part-time or even full-time.
When selecting a UX design course or bootcamp, remember that when it comes to learning how to become a UX designer, getting feedback on your designs is an important part of the learning experience. Multiple-choice tests or assignments graded by AI won’t cut it; you need someone with industry experience to critique your designs. Many bootcamps offer 1:1 mentorship, which is a great way to receive feedback on your design deliverables, and learn job search techniques and industry insights from a seasoned professional.
Courses should also offer ample opportunities to build a professional portfolio of projects. Ideally, you would also receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course to show a prospective employer. Make sure the certification is recognized in your industry. Employers often change the rules about which certifications they will and will not accept. For example, MOOCs have only recently become an employer-recognized form of job training.
A truly comprehensive UX bootcamp emphasizes job readiness throughout the course with career services that help students with job search techniques, mock interviews, and even job placements. Career coaches and mentors can help you with your resume and LinkedIn profile, review your portfolio, and give you placement guidance. The opportunity to complete an internship or freelance while still enrolled in the course will get you even further after graduation.
Finally, many UX design bootcamps come with a job guarantee, meaning that if you don’t land a job within a certain time period after completing the course, your tuition is refunded. However, the job guarantee only applies if you meet certain criteria, such as applying to a certain number of jobs per week and doing cold outreach to industry professionals on LinkedIn to request informational interviews. Some bootcamps, like Springboard’s UI/UX Design Career Track, even provide students with the opportunity to work on an industry design project with a real client for four weeks.
The type of learning experience you choose depends on your goals—whether you’re new to UX design and are looking to switch careers, if you’re coming from an adjacent field such as visual design or front-end development, or you’re just looking to learn more about the field without committing to a new career path.
What Is LinkedIn Learning?
In 2015, LinkedIn acquired Lynda.com, which was one of the premier online course platforms at the time. The following year, LinkedIn launched LinkedIn Learning with content originally from Lynda.com. LinkedIn Learning is an online skill development platform for mid-career professionals. The platform offers courses taught by industry experts in software, creative, and business skills. According to LinkedIn, there are over 16,400 learning courses available in seven languages, with 60+ new courses added every week, and an AI-powered recommendation engine that helps you find relevant content based on your industry and learning activity.
LinkedIn Learning has divided its massive library of offerings into two categories: Courses and Learning Paths. Courses are standalone video courses on one or more subjects made up of text, videos, and practical exercises. A Learning Path is a curated set of courses in the field of your choice that helps you build a specialized skill or learn about a particular industry.
Should You Opt for UX Courses on LinkedIn Learning?
LinkedIn Learning offers 138 courses in UX design, plus five user experience Learning Paths, each one 4-12 hours long. The most comprehensive Learning Paths are ‘Become a User Experience Designer,’ which offers nearly 12 hours of video content, and ‘Become an Interaction Designer,’ featuring eight hours of course material.
Become a User Experience Designer is taught by six industry experts, and focuses on learning and applying user-centered design. In this course, you’ll learn how to create wireframes and graphics with industry-standard tools like Illustrator and Sketch, and how to build a UX portfolio that includes interactive prototypes, user personas, and more.
Become an Interaction Designer is taught by three industry experts, and seeks to impart the fundamentals of interaction design. You’ll explore research methods to help inform your design decisions, and learn how to test your designs with users to validate your design decisions.
LinkedIn Learning is a solid entry point for those who want to explore UX design as a potential career path and obtain foundational knowledge not just in basic UI/UX, but to gain a better understanding of what subdisciplines there are. For example, you might start with a foundational course like User Experience (UX) for Non-Designers, then take a theoretical course on a more specific topic like UX Foundations: Storytelling. After that, you might want to learn about a specific design software environment like Adobe XD, Figma, or Sketch.
Mixing and matching courses allow you to explore topics that intrigue you in greater detail, but might not make for a cohesive learning experience overall.
However, LinkedIn Learning does over a breadth of courses, some of which are specialized and enable you to learn a specific on-the-job skill in UX design. For example, you’ve probably heard that design teams have to collaborate a lot with other business units, but what does that collaboration really look like? The course Making User Experience Happen as a Team teaches learners how to integrate with development teams, communicate the value of UX to a non-technical audience, and get executive teams to be champions for design. If you’ve ever wondered what to expect during a design sprint, there’s a course for that. If you have a design background and simply want to learn how to make yourself more marketable, there are career-building courses like Planning a Career in User Experience and Strategies for Successful UX Freelancing.
Can UX Courses on LinkedIn Aid in a Successful Career Transition?
If you’re trying to switch careers, consider whether the education path you’ve chosen shows a real commitment to design. If you take a handful of courses but don’t have any portfolio projects to show for it, that does little to show an employer you’re serious about pursuing a career as a designer. Also bear in mind that if anyone with 12 hours to spare can earn a certificate in UX design fundamentals, the certification itself may not carry much weight. Unfortunately, LinkedIn Learning does not have reviews or ratings for each of its courses, but you can see how many people have taken the course as well as how many have ‘Liked’ it.
That said, if you are already working as a design professional or have recently completed a bootcamp and would like to acquire advanced design skills, the Advance Your Skills in UX Design Learning Path may be for you. This collection of curated courses teaches you how to use industry tools like InVision, Sketch, Adobe XD, Illustrator, as well as how to build and maintain your portfolio. However, most UX design bootcamps already cover these things.
LinkedIn Learning is a great resource for those who want to explore a career in design or design professionals who are looking to update their skills. However, if you’re looking to start a career in design from scratch, using LinkedIn Learning can make for a rather scattershot learning experience. The courses are mostly short and surface-level, and the only assignments are multiple-choice quizzes that are graded by an AI, so there is no opportunity to create design deliverables with the guidance of an expert or receive feedback on your designs. The Learning Paths aren’t sufficiently comprehensive and hands-on to get you job-ready, seeing as UX design jobs require candidates to have a strong portfolio, and there is no mentorship or career coaching. While a certification might get eyes on your resume, at the end of the day, your portfolio is what gets you the job.
Think carefully about what type of learner you are and what goals you have. If you don’t need the structure of a fully developed course, plus mentorship and career services, and would prefer to design your own “curriculum” of handpicked courses or a mix of courses and Learning Paths, LinkedIn Learning offers a comprehensive array of courses that can help you take your design skills to the next level.
Ready to switch careers to UI/UX Design?
Springboard offers a comprehensive UI/UX design bootcamp. No design background required—all you need is an eye for good visual design and the ability to empathize with your user. In the course, you’ll work on substantial design projects and complete a real-world externship with an industry client. After nine months, you’ll graduate with a UI/UX design mindset and a portfolio to show for it.
Check out Springboard’s UI/UX Design Career Track to see if you qualify.
Not sure if UI/UX design is the right career for you?
Springboard now offers an Introduction to Design course. Learn what designers do on the job by working through a project with 1-on-1 mentorship from an industry expert. Topics covered include design tools, research, sketching, designing in high fidelity, and wireframing.
Check out Springboard’s Introduction to Design Course—enrollments are open to all!
The post Are UX Courses on LinkedIn Learning Enough for a Successful Career Switch? appeared first on Springboard Blog.