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General Assembly vs IxDF UX Bootcamps: Which UX Certification Is Right For You?

by Molly Fitz-Patrick | | 24 min read

There are more resources and education providers in 2022 than ever before. If you aspire to become a UX designer, you have to conduct some serious research to find a suitable UX certification. You have to consider time commitment, cost, content, career opportunities and more. On top of being surrounded by what feels like infinite choice, there are also countless reviews, sometimes offering contrary views. This comparison aims to provide objective insights into the General Assembly UX Bootcamp and the IxDF’s. 


We’re going to compare General Assembly’s User Experience Immersive, (hereafter referred to as GA’s Bootcamp) and the IxDF bootcamps, so you can make an informed decision and a worthwhile investment. Specifically, we will explore course topics, approach, grading and tutors, community, cost, and career opportunities. We have also created two other comparison pieces, Google UX Design Professional Certificate and CareerFoundry.

 Two hands with black markers sketch out wireframes. A couple of large pieces of white paper with wireframes drawn on them sit in front of them. Two smartphones sit on top of the paper.

©Amélie Mourichon, Unsplash License

Overview

The GA Bootcamp is a 3-month intensive program aimed at beginners who want to break into the UX field relatively quickly.

Most industry-recognized UX bootcamps offer a similar experience: online, remote, flexibly-paced, foundational, short-term, career guidance and mentorship for the aspiring designer. You will gain valuable knowledge and expertise from all these bootcamps, but it comes down to your particular budget and needs. GA’s bootcamp is one of the most expensive on the market so that’s likely to be a big factor in your decision. They also offer UX Design On Demand, an online, less comprehensive version of their bootcamp, but currently it’s only available in the US.

GA’s bootcamp is a full-time program that runs over 12 weeks which can either be attended in-person at one of their campuses or remotely. They are available around the US, in five of Australia's major cities, in London, Edinburgh and Manchester in the United Kingdom and only Paris, France in Europe and Singapore in Asia. 

The IxDF offers over 30 courses covering different fields and topics within UX design, for varying levels of experience, all of which are included in the flat membership fee. In addition, the IxDF also offers 4 Bootcamps (UX Portfolio and Career, UX Fundamentals, User Research and User Interface Design), and hosts regular Master Classes. The entire IxDF bouquet is 100% remote, you can live anywhere in the world to be an IxDF student.

IxDF bootcamps are also 12 weeks long, but part-time and apart from the live sessions, are flexibly-paced too. The UX Fundamentals bootcamp is designed for beginners, but UX Portfolio and Career helps you build on your portfolio and further advance your UX career and the User Research and User Interface Design bootcamps allow you to specialize your skillset,. 

Content and Topics

In terms of content and experience level, the IxDF bootcamp UX Fundamentals is the most like GA’s Bootcamp. Both offerings are foundational, aimed at beginners and/or people who want to switch or start their career in UX design. This means the topics covered are very similar, including the following learning outcomes:

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©Hal Gatewood, Unsplash License


Approach

Any learning platform, whether digital or physical, needs to keep their students inspired and committed. Bootcamps have become one of the most popular options because of their intensive and practical nature. They’re designed to get you industry ready so that you can formally join UX design in the shortest time possible. However, seldom few can quit their jobs to study full-time, but fortunately, there are enough fully online options available to us. GA’s bootcamp is full-time, but within 3 months, you should have gained the skills and experience to land an entry-level UX role and/or some freelance projects. 

IxDF bootcamps are part-time, remote and also 12-weeks long, and are designed to accommodate both your personal and professional commitments. Make sure you check the time commitment required for your chosen program before enrolling.  

Delivery


General Assembly 

  • Full-time

  • In-person, on-campus or remote

  • A mix of reading, theory, group and individual projects


IxDF 

  • Flexibly-paced

  • Completely online and remote

  • A mix of reading, theory, group and individual projects

GA’s bootcamp is for beginners and thus there are no defined prerequisites to enroll. This means that people of varying skill levels will be part of your class. It’s important to be aware that because of this you may learn at a different pace than your peers and vice versa. This may delay the learning process as your instructors will likely have to ensure that all students are on the same level before progressing through the course content.  

The IxDF caters to all experience levels, whether you’re a newbie with an interest in UX design or a UX professional looking to level up. Courses range from beginner to advanced and all bootcamps are beginner-friendly, however, UX Portfolio and Career does require prior experience. 

Balance of Theory and Practice

IxDF Open-Source Literature Library: More theoretical with practical tips and insights.

IxDF Courses: Slightly theoretical, with optional portfolio and practical exercises.

IxDF Bootcamps: Mostly practical, with a mentor-guided portfolio project.

IxDF Master Classes: 50:50, with expert’s industry insights.

General Assembly Bootcamp: Slightly theoretical with practical exercises and assignments. 

In addition to the foundational knowledge you’ll learn from both the GA and IxDF bootcamps, you will work on real projects and put together a portfolio. A portfolio is the most crucial element in your quest to get into UX design. 

Check out the infographic below for the full range of IxDF bootcamp benefits. 

IxDF Bootcamps are flexible, part-time, fully remote and industry recognized. You get real-world learning, personal and group critique and end up with a portfolio project that makes you job-ready, all for a fraction of the cost of any other Bootcamp.

General Assembly’s bootcamp is full-time, so 8 hours a day/40 hours a week. Between 50% and 70% of the day is spent with your instructors, with lectures, projects and so on. The remaining time is left for students to work on their assignments alone, in groups or with their peers. Even though the GA bootcamp is full-time, the 1:1 time is limited so if you choose to go with this option, remember to make the most of the hands-on guidance while it’s available. 

All IxDF courses grant you full access with no time limit for completion (the joy of self-paced education!). Lessons are spread over several weeks, which vary from course to course. With the General Assembly bootcamp, you will work full-time in the physical or virtual classroom over 12 weeks. An IxDF Bootcamp is flexible too and only requires 8-10 hours of work per week for 12 weeks. For a full comparison in terms of time, interaction, theory and balance, see the comparison table below. 


IxDF Open-Source Literature

IxDF Courses

IxDF Bootcamps

IxDF Master Classes

General Assembly Bootcamp

Price

Free for everyone

Free for members

$10-17 USD per month for membership

$3,000 or $2,800 paid upfront

5$ For Members

50$ For Non-Members

$15,950 with various payment plans available

Time Commitment

A few minutes to

15-30 Hours spread over several weeks, depending on course

15-20 hours per week

1-2 hours once-off

8 hours a day, 40 hours per week over 12 weeks

Time Limit

None

None

10 Months

None (Available On Demand)

12 weeks

In-Person interaction

None

Local Meet-Ups (optional)

1:1 Professional Mentoring + Peer-based cohorts

Expert-Led + Q & A

1:1 Professional Mentoring + Peer-based cohorts



Theory & Practice Balance

More theoretical with practical tips and insights

Slightly theoretical, with optional portfolio and practical exercises

Mostly Practical, with a mentor-guided portfolio project

50:50, with expert’s industry insights

50:50 with a expert instructional team 


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©Karl Solano, Unsplash License 


Grading and Tutors

For both General Assembly and IxDF, and essentially all learning platforms, you need to complete (and pass) various assignments and tests to complete your course and receive your certification. 

General Assembly’s instructional team are experienced practitioners in the field of UX who will give you personalized feedback throughout the bootcamp. 

Similar to General Assembly and many other education providers, all of your IxDF assignments are graded by experts and course instructors whose experience come from the broad spectrum of the UX design field. 

As a IxDF bootcamp student you'll be personally matched with a mentor from a curated pool of 200+ experts. Your mentor will give you personalized guidance, inspiration and insights into the industry, help you with your portfolio and future job search. You will also engage with your Course Coordinator and bootcamp Facilitator, who will lead your weekly live class sessions, run workshops, attend progress review and support 1:1 sessions with students, host Q&A sessions and provide group critique sessions.

Community

UX design is a growing industry with a thriving community—and by becoming a UX design student, you become connected to that community. Both GA and IxDF are cohort-based and have a large network, so you will join the broader UX community almost immediately. A dedicated slack channel will facilitate further engagement with your peers and Course Coordinators.

On top of all of that, the IxDF have Local Groups so you can meet like-minded people, make valuable connections and who knows, maybe even meet your future employer. With close to 500 groups in 100 countries, you can grow your network by simply attending a virtual or in-person meetup. Don’t see a local group in your area, you can start one! It’s important to note that being a UX designer is not a requirement, just an interest and an appetite to learn. 

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Cost

General Assembly: At $15,950 in total this is the most expensive bootcamp on the market. There are payment plans available 

IxDF Membership: $10-17 USD per month, paid yearly. Includes full access to all 30+ courses and a special members rate of $5 per Master Class. IxDF Bootcamps are $3,000 if you choose to pay through a payment plan but you can save $200 and pay $2,800 if you settle upfront.

Career opportunities

Bootcamps emphasize the importance of a portfolio, so with both General Assembly and IxDF Bootcamps, you will work on projects and tasks that can go straight into your portfolio. With both bootcamps you will have a professional portfolio that you can start to apply for jobs with. While all IxDF bootcamps help you build up your portfolio, if you’re looking to strengthen and refine your portfolio and get extra help with your UX career, the IxDF UX Portfolio and Career bootcamp is the ideal choice. 

With General Assembly’s bootcamp you will work with a career coach who will assist with your resume, interview preparation and personal branding to help you stand out in your job hunt.   

As mentioned above, your mentor will help you with your portfolio and offer individualized guidance for your new career path. The IxDF also offers a job guarantee; if you complete 3 IxDF bootcamps you can apply for The IxDF Certification Program which will equip you with a globally-recognized certification, a polished portfolio and job guarantee that will get you hired in a junior, mid-level or senior UX role. 

What’s next? 

After reading through this comparison piece (and the other mentioned above) we recommend that you thoroughly research all your options and establish your objectives and limits. Still unsure? Contact each out to the organizations to ask questions, you’ll find that they’ll be more than happy to help. 

Already completed the GA Bootcamp? Keep on learning! Broaden or specialize your skill set through an IxDF course, Bootcamp or Master Class. 

The Take Away

The GA bootcamp and IxDF bootcamp (and many other industry-recognized bootcamps for that matter) are alike in the knowledge, experience and guidance they offer. Bootcamps are an effective way to enter UX design, grow your skill set, connect to the community and land your first UX job. The GA bootcamp is 12 weeks long, full-time, either virtual or in person and will set you back $15,950. The IxDF bootcamps are also 12 weeks long but are part-time, flexibly-paced, completely remote and cost $3000. With both you will get 1:1 mentoring, personalized guidance, career advice and a beginner portfolio so you can make your move into UX design. As with everything in life, there are pros and cons, so it’s vital to determine your specific needs and objectives from the outset, be thorough in your research to select the UX certification that is right for you. Good luck! 

References and Where to Learn More

Learn more about IxDF Bootcamps: https://www.interaction-design.org/bootcamps 

Find out more about General Assembly’s UX Design Program: https://generalassemb.ly/education/user-experience-design-immersive/ 

Learn more about IxDF Master Classes: https://www.interaction-design.org/master-classes 

Check out IxDF’s online courses: https://www.interaction-design.org/courses 

For more resources on building a UX Design portfolio, see these: https://www.interaction-design.org/courses/how-to-create-a-ux-portfolio 

https://www.interaction-design.org/bootcamps/ux-portfolio 


Apply for the IxDF Job Guarantee Certification: https://www.interaction-design.org/bootcamps/job-guarantee 

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