We’re thrilled to announce that, with 4.9 stars, our web design program is ranked #1 on SwitchUp’s comprehensive 2015 guide to the Best Web Design Courses in the USA. It’s humbling, and consistently an inspiration to read reviews from our alumni and to be reminded of their individual stories—the leaps of faith that so many took to quit their jobs in pursuit of new careers that would fulfill their potential—technically, creatively, as team-players and as leaders. And, of course, we're beyond grateful to our wonderful instructors whose expertise, mentorship, and dedication infuse our web design training with the authenticity and immersion that makes it so powerful.
To celebrate, we compiled a list of our favorite bootcamp reviews and career change stories off of SwitchUp. Here’s what our alumni have to say about their experiences learning web design in our full-time web design course:
I can't say enough good things about the staff in Chicago. During the program, we had weekly one-on-one sessions with a staff member to discuss our technical progress, career goals, job search, and so forth. They did everything they could to point us to resources, introduce us to people and companies that would be of interest, and provide mentorship—and this continued long after graduation.
I came into the web design track with some development background, no design training, and very little knowledge of the Chicago tech scene. I ended up getting a job offer from a partner company on the recommendation of one of my classmates. It was a small company that was familiar with Startup Institute and understood that mine would be a learning role at first. This was exactly the type of job I needed, and one that would have been next-to-impossible to find without Startup Institute.
Startup Institute is a great program to network, get interviews, and create a real bond with working professionals who will benefit you for years to come. I have gotten all my jobs through Startup Institute connections. Best decision I have ever made.
I learned so much during my time at Startup Institute NYC and met so many incredible people. The New York team is absolutely incredible and were there to help at every step along the way. Startup Institute is far and away the best value for money of any educational program I have ever done at any level.
After spending years in design school, crafting my architecture skills, I entered the workforce. Naturally, like many of my fellow architecture colleagues, I got a job in something completely unrelated from my field. I started my own company and went through the roller coaster ride of a first-time startup.
After the experience, I was captivated. I knew I wanted to be creative, to design, to possibly do UI and UX. I also knew that I did not want to invest in another four years of study before getting back in the entrepreneurial saddle. After some searching, I found the Startup Institute. I thought it would be a great way to quickly gain some real world skills and get back out there.
Man, was I blown away by the program. I learned all the necessary skills I needed to excel in a design position, but that isn't really the point of Startup Institute. The soft skills, the networking, the self-worth, the perseverance, the encouragement of your classmates, the all-nighters with your colleagues, the bonding over a few beers, the nervousness of being nudged out of your comfort zone, the joy of accomplishing something you've wanted your whole life. All of that and more, and it's only an eight-week program.
My "diploma" from Startup Institute is one of my most cherished possessions and hangs proudly on the wall by my desk in my office as Creative Director. Startup Institute is the best decision I could have made and am extremely lucky I got the chance. Imagine what you could accomplish in those eight weeks.
They taught me all the hard skills needed to land and crush it in a user experience position, plus all the people skills needed to thrive within the company. Everything is taught by practitioners currently in the field, so it always current and useful. If they improved in one way, it would be mixing in a full-time instructor to bolster the curriculum being offered by these professionals in the field. Otherwise, I cannot say enough good things about Startup Institute and what it has done for me.
I joined the design track at Startup Institute after having worked in an agency environment that I hated, and where I felt out-of-touch. The program did everything I hoped it would do for me and more—it expanded my network (through which I landed a new job), brought me up to speed with the tech world, and introduced me to some great friends and even my wonderful boyfriend :). Although I did not leave the program having become greatly knowledgeable in any one area (coding, UX design, or visual design), I was grateful to be given a direction in which to focus my studies, and improve my portfolio, after the program.
Startup Institute was literally the best thing I could have done. I spent eight years at a big financial company before deciding it wasn't for me and leaving. I did a year or so of software project management but had no virtually no web experience, no understanding of technical marketing or HTML and CSS, and not much of a network. Startup Institute changed all that.
I went into the design track, and learned the basics of HTML and CSS, among other helpful technical things, which was great. But what was even more helpful was the incredible exposure to the local community, as well as the amazing quality of the other students. It really felt like a family, and I have stayed in touch with many of my classmates.
I was able to land a gig I would not have otherwise, and I was and continue to be inspired by my time there. Best decision of my recent life!
I joined Startup Institute because I was fixated on the idea of learning how to code. I wanted to be able to build cool, interactive websites and I thought this would be a good way to start. Within a few days of the program, I quickly learned that making a transition into a new career is not entirely about learning new skills. Anyone can learn how to code. There are hundreds of cheap and free resources online that teach you how to do this. The more challenging piece to crafting a new career is networking and getting to know people in the industry so you can earn that first lucky break and get a foot in the door. I thought back to the months of frustration I experienced being unemployed after I completed a masters program in photojournalism, mostly because the university had failed to connect me with any working professionals in the industry making it difficult for me to find a job.
Startup Institute excels at facilitating and teaching people how to network. It helps you identify those parts of your past experience that are relevant to the career path you want to take now, and teaches you to leverage and play-up these areas while speaking to potential employers. They organize a number of events where you have opportunities to meet working professionals. Advice to prospective students: seize these opportunities and put all the energy you have into them as soon as the program begins!
For people confused about what specific area they want to focus on (design is a wide field, comprising visual design and research) Startup Institute designs in-track sessions, where you get just enough exposure to a broad swathe of topics so you can figure out what piques your interest. To summarize: Startup Institute will not make you a domain expert on any particular topic, but it helps you focus your thoughts in a particular direction and it helps you meet people who may be interested in employing you for those specific skills.
Oh, and did I mention? The people who run Startup Institute are the coolest ever! I have never met a set of folks who are so generous with their time, knowledge, care and attention as the Startup Institute staff. You will find more than career mentors here. You will find shoulders to cry on. Lunch buddies. Peers in the industry and rock-solid friendships. For this last reason alone, this experience has been entirely worth it for me.
Startup Institute is truly a life-changing program, but only if you let it be. Success takes diving full force into the local community both inside and outside of the program. If you feel ready to finally do something you are passionate about in a company you want to work at, then I recommend checking out Startup Institute.
I did the web design track and was in awe of how many local designers came in to talk and connect with us. You really have to prioritize your work and practice self-discipline to accomplish your work, but it is all worth it.
So many thanks to our instructors for making this all possible, and for our alumni who care enough to share their experiences. The amazing people who we get to work with never cease to astound us.