The demand for talented professionals in fields such as data science, software engineering, and UX design is at an all-time high—and continuing to grow. Many traditional institutions such as colleges are struggling to keep up with this demand, and considering the rate at which our online environments are evolving, this is no surprise. Couple that with the fact that most college degrees in computer science take around four years, and the result is a skills shortage in the tech world’s fastest-growing fields.
This is where online education platforms like Springboard come in. Bootcamp schools are becoming increasingly popular, having graduated more than 33,900 students in 2019 alone—a 4.38% growth from the previous year. Whether you’re looking to build on prior knowledge or start entirely from scratch, these online schools can help you get closer to your dream career with personalized and career-oriented learning.
Offering programs in data science, coding, UX design, and machine learning, Springboard is a great option for those looking to kickstart a new career in tech. The school keeps on top of which skills are needed right now in the industry and uses this to deliver a high quality, hands-on, and practical approach to learning these skills.
In short, if you’re committed to working towards a fulfilling career in tech, Springboard will give you an effective roadmap to the finish line.
UX and UI Design: What’s The Difference?
UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) design are career paths that resemble one another, and many people often get them mixed up.
UX designers are responsible for troubleshooting the possible challenges that customers might face when using a product. In other words, their job is to make the user’s experience as smooth and simple as possible. UI designers, on the other hand, tend to focus more on the overall visual design, look, and style of a product; this role can include tasks such as choosing the right colors, making sure text font and size are readable, and incorporating accessibility features.
UX and UI designers often work in tandem to make a product as easy to use and navigate as possible, and in some cases, the two roles can be combined into one.
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, or you want to keep your options open, then Springboard offers a program that combines both UX and UI design. We’ll go into more detail about that later in this article.
Why Pick a Career in Design?
UX and UI designers are becoming an increasingly important part of any savvy business with a growing consumer base and an online presence.
UX and UI design are also very lucrative career paths. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a UX or UI designer is around $90,000 per year. Of course, salaries vary depending on location and company, but there is potential to earn extremely well. In fact, some jobs for more experienced designers can offer salaries of up to $154,000.
Studying Design With Springboard
Springboard offers several programs in UX design, from foundation and prep courses all the way to more advanced programs. The foundation/prep courses such as the Introduction to Design course are great if you want to learn the basics or simply get a taster of the role before deciding to commit.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to be fully immersed in your chosen field and make a career transition, then Springboard’s Career Track programs will likely be a better fit for you.
Let’s dive in and take a closer look at Springboard’s design programs.
Introduction to Design (Foundation Course)
Springboard’s four-week Introduction to Design (Foundations Course) covers all the basics you need to know when it comes to design. The program comprises seven modules which each cover the tools, skills, and projects that professional designers work on every day. This introductory course aims to provide students with a solid foundation of knowledge and skills on which to build as they progress in their careers.
UX Design Career Track
The UX Design Career Track is a more intensive course, lasting six months. In this time, students are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to become a successful UX designer. The curriculum is taught using a combination of lectures and videos that help you to understand the core principles of UX design with support from your own industry expert mentor. In this program, students also complete design projects where they will collaborate with start-ups and companies to solve real-world problems. This experience is great for your portfolio, which will showcase your skills and achievements to help you shine in front of potential employers.
UI/UX Design Career Track
In competitive job markets, candidates with well-rounded design skills have an advantage. Springboard’s UI/UX Design Career Track could be a perfect solution. This nine-month course teaches you the ins and outs of both UI and UX design, covering topics such as user research, design patterns, and practices. This means you’ll be ready to hit the job market running with a wide range of skills in both fields.
Is a Career in Design Right for You?
While anyone can kickstart a career in design, there are certainly some qualities that are useful to have if you’re looking to break into the field. Do you have:
- A passion for technology?
- A creative mind?
- A knack for visual design?
- An interest in how other people think?
- Empathy, humility, and a willingness to learn and grow?
- A flair for presenting and selling?
If the answer is yes, then you are likely a great fit for an exciting career as a designer!
What Is Software Engineering?
Software engineering involves applying engineering concepts to coding for various different software products. In simpler terms, software engineers build mobile or computer apps while taking extra considerations into account.
Building an app is a complicated process, and there is so much that goes on behind the scenes that’s invisible to us as users.
Software engineers are the people who are responsible for building features, fixing bugs, and generally making sure that an app runs smoothly so that the user has a pleasant experience using it.
Why Pick a Career in Software Engineering?
Working as a software engineer is exciting, as you’ll get to work on a diverse range of projects. Although the core principles will stay the same, each project you work on will be different, so you’ll always be learning new skills.
The salary is an attractive perk of the job, too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in software engineering is projected to grow by around 21 percent by 2028, which is “much faster than average.” Further, the average salary for software engineers in the US is around $98,500 per year, according to ZipRecruiter.
Studying Software Engineering With Springboard
Software Engineering Prep Course
Software Engineering Career Track Bootcamp
Once you’re set with the basic knowledge, the nine-month Software Engineering Career Track will teach you the rest. Being longer and more detailed, this program will allow you to delve into the nitty-gritty of the software engineering world.
The great thing about Springboard’s curriculum is that it is put together by industry experts. In fact, this program in particular was created in partnership with Colt Steele, who was voted Udemy’s best new instructor. Colt has shared his expertise with thousands of students, helping them go on to have successful careers working with tech giants such as Google, Salesforce, and Square.
Is a Career in Coding Right for You?
Similar to design, anyone with the right mindset and attitude can succeed in software engineering. However, it doesn’t hurt to have the following qualities under your belt:
- A logical mindset
- A knack for problem-solving
- An ability to work well in a team
- An ability to pay attention to detail.
- A desire to be constantly learning
- A passion for technology
If you possess most of these characteristics—great! But if not, don’t worry. Most can be learned and developed quickly. The bottom line is that as long as you’re dedicated to putting in the work, there is no reason why you can’t be successful as a software engineer.
What Makes Springboard’s Programs Unique?
Given the rapid pace at which the online world is changing, it’s important to keep up by learning the skills that are in demand out there in the industry today! This is why all Springboard programs are updated at least one to two times a year, so you can be safe in the knowledge that you are learning the most current and up-to-date content there is.
And do you know what the really great part is? As a Springboard student, you are granted lifetime access to the curriculum. This means that even after graduating, you’ll be able to keep up with the latest updated content. Whether you just want to refresh your memory on an area you’re already familiar with, check out any new additions to the curriculum, or learn about new trends that are cropping up in the industry, you’re just a few clicks away from it all.
Springboard recognizes that communication and interaction are crucial when it comes to building relationships, working in a team, and networking. Therefore, in order to provide its students with as much support and guidance as possible, Springboard has developed its programs to be mentor-led. These mentors are people who work in the industry and know it inside out, mentoring part-time to help people like you achieve success.
Whichever Springboard course you choose, you will be assigned a personal mentor with whom you will have weekly one-to-one meetings. “I liked that there was a human factor, which was readily available,” said Springboard graduate Diana Xie, who now works as a Machine Learning Engineer at IQVIA.
It’s also worth emphasizing that Springboard is very selective in its choice of mentors, only accepting the very best: around 1 in 10 applicants. Springboard assesses them not just on their technical knowledge but also on their ability to teach effectively. “My mentor just blew me away with the way he presented himself and how much he helped me,” said April Hoang, a former healthcare administrator who now works as a UX Designer at Microsoft. These mentors all have at least 3 or 4 years of experience in the field that they’re teaching, too, so you can rest assured that you’re in great hands.
Also, note that you won’t be assigned to a mentor at random. Before beginning their course, all students take a survey outlining their career aspirations and which qualities they look for in a mentor. Springboard then matches them to the mentor that best aligns with their goals and aspirations. In short, a lot of thought goes into the process to ensure that you get the absolute maximum value out of your studies.
Custom Design Projects
If you are studying UI/UX Design, you will be taking part in at least two projects where you’ll partner up with startup companies to solve real-life problems. These are not demo projects— they are real projects, with real deadlines, where you’ll be working with real people. This is such a great opportunity because you’ll not only gain valuable knowledge about how life in your chosen field really works, but you’ll also build an impressive portfolio of work to showcase to potential employers, giving you a competitive edge when it comes to the job hunt. “The project-based approach really enhanced my learning—I’m a doer, and I won’t retain information unless I’m actually physically interacting with it,” said UX Design graduate Jenn Hinkle who is now a freelance Visual Designer based in San Diego.
Another thing to mention is that these custom projects are just that—custom. You’re not part of a ‘one size fits all’ system. Instead, you can choose what kind of things you want to focus on and completely tailor your project to your areas of interest. For example, if your dream is to work in UX research, then you can tailor your design project to that particular field. There are so many options, so use the experience to get creative about what it is you’re truly passionate about!
Springboard Student Success
Now that you’ve heard about the ways in which Springboard can help you pursue a career in design or coding, you might be curious to hear what the graduates themselves have to say.
Amanda, Software Engineering
Let’s take single mother of three Amanda Thompson, for example. Amanda was a professional baker before she entered the world of software engineering. Asked why she decided to change careers, she said, “I wanted a career that was portable, that I could make better money while being more available to my kids, and that I could potentially travel with someday.”
Having compared various bootcamps, Amanda felt that Springboard offered the most robust program. She also highlighted the in-depth curriculum, strong mentorship, and flexible payment options as aspects that particularly appealed to her. Speaking of her experience studying with Springboard, Amanda said: “I have loved every minute of it. I like the flexibility of being able to learn in my own time, so that means some days I sit for 8 hours focused, while others may just be an hour or two.” Amanda’s hard work, combined with the career support and network opportunities provided by Springboard, has led her to secure a job before even completing her program.
Asked what advice she would give to people thinking about joining Springboard, she said “DO IT! This program is truly life-changing. The skills I’ve learned, especially career skills, will be useful forever.”
She also recommends taking time to really reflect on which program is the best fit for you, and use platforms like Linkedin to reach out to graduates and ask them about their experiences. You never know—just one piece of advice could make all the difference!
Renata, UI/UX Design
Renata, a former manager at a restaurant group, also chose Springboard to prepare her for a career transition into tech. Renata completed the UI/UX Career Track Certification in September 2020, having worked full-time alongside the program, and in the middle of a pandemic; an achievement in itself! Thanks to Springboard’s flexibility, Renata was able to pursue her studies, which led her to a brand new job as a product designer less than a month later.
“Now that I am working in the field, I have felt very prepared for the tasks associated with my job. Springboard offered a great foundation for understanding the design methodology, and the project-based curriculum allowed me to directly apply my skills,” Renata said.
Renata emphasizes that the program “will require a lot of work so you must be fully committed!” However, if you are dedicated and determined to succeed, the career change is “absolutely worth it,” she said.
By now, you’ve hopefully left with a better picture of all the options available to you when you choose to enroll in a course with Springboard. However, if you’re still not sure which program to pick, don’t panic. You can speak to one of Springboard’s advisors for guidance. Remember that you also have the option of taking a six-week preparation course in both areas, which is a great way to get a snapshot of what each program entails.
There’s no denying that switching careers can be daunting. But with Springboard’s expert mentors, support system, and job guarantee, the risk is minimized, and the rewards are plenty.
Despite the uncertainty that’s been thrown at us this year, one thing is for certain: the tech industry will continue to grow and diversify. So pursuing a career in tech right now is an investment that will last. Whatever your aspirations are, Springboard is there to help you on the path towards landing that dream role. So why not head over to their website and take the first step towards your new career today?
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.