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Why Learn Product Design with Flatiron School?

User experience (UX) professionals, which include roles like product designers, are seeing high demand, according to LinkedIn. In its 15 Jobs on the Rise for 2021 report, these roles take the 13th spot, indicating a strong outlook for the near future.

“The demand for people who specialize in how users interact with apps and websites grew as millions of people turned to the Internet and their devices to be entertained, to connect, or to shop,” the report said.

As people use technology more and more in their everyday lives—for activities like grocery shopping, online learning, and more—product design is becoming more crucial. Many companies that never thought of having a product designer on board now see the need to prioritize the user experience.

Flatiron School, one of the top-rated coding bootcamps, now offers an immersive course on product design that gives students the skills they need to start a career in product and UX/UI design.

An In-Depth Review of Flatiron School’s Product Design Course

An infographic showing an overview of Flatiron School’s Product Design course

The immersive Product Design course is Flatiron School’s newest course, and it comes at a time when the industry is seeing immense growth. “Product design is an area that’s growing. It’s an area of interest, and it’s adjacent to tech,” explained Giovanni DiFeterici, Director of Product Design Education.

“Flatiron School has a strong software engineering program, and we would like to help anyone get into that space, whether they’re technical people or not. We have partnerships with companies, and we see a need for this type of talent to help oversee the creation of products. It seemed like a perfect fit.” 

Flatiron School Product Design Course Overview

Flatiron School’s Product Design course is offered on both a full-time and flexible schedule.

Product Design Live

  • Duration: 15 weeks
  • Tuition: $16,900

The Product Design Live course is a fast-paced option that requires students to follow a structured schedule. Classes run for nine hours a day, including breaks, from Monday to Friday. Students will attend lectures and work on projects both with their cohort mates and on their own. 

The full-time course option is best for students who are able to commit to a full-time schedule and who want to attend live lectures and learn alongside other students.

Product Design Flex

  • Duration: 20, 40, or 60 weeks
  • Tuition: $16,900

The Product Design Flex course allows students to set their schedules and study at their own pace. It offers the same curriculum as the full-time schedule but with added flexibility. Students will regularly meet one-on-one with their instructor and be able to sign up for optional study groups.

The flexible course is best for professionals who want to fit in learning product design while working or juggling other responsibilities.

Who Is Flatiron School’s Product Design Course For?

The Product Design course is for anyone interested in learning about the complete end-to-end design process. 

“Product design is a great path for people who start out in a creative domain and want to collaborate with others on technical projects. They want to be involved in products and experiences that enrich the lives of others. It’s also a field that draws people with backgrounds in psychology, sociology, or related fields because that insight is indispensable in this industry,” Giovanni shared.

“For anyone interested in creative thinking, problem-solving, and likes to collaborate, product design is a way towards a really great career. That’s what product designers do. People get fixated on tools, like learning Photoshop. But the job has nothing to do with the tools. The tools will change over the years. The job is to solve problems for people and figure out what people need and then giving it to them in the simplest way,” he continued.

If this sounds like you, product design might be your ideal career path.

Flatiron School Product Design Course Curriculum

The Flatiron School Product Design curriculum is laid out in five phases. The first phase focuses on the user experience (UX) process. Students will learn the components of UX design, such as how to conduct various types of research, propose solutions, and implement industry best practices, among others.

“The first phase is about, ‘How do UX people identify problems and conceptualize them, communicate solutions to stakeholders, and then create prototypes that can be tested?’ This phase focuses on individual skills, and makes sure students understand what those individual skills are within the context of the broader curriculum,” Giovanni explained.

The second phase is about the user interface (UI) process. In this phase, students will learn the fundamentals of interface design such as design principles, typography, layout, and interaction patterns to create working mockups. 

“Phase 2 is the same as Phase 1, but for UI. We consider UX and UI as the toolbox that the product designer needs. They need skills in all these domains, but mainly what they’re learning is how to utilize those tools appropriately to solve market fit problems and design products,” Giovanni said.

After the first two phases, students move on to Phase 3 and Phase 4—Studio 1 and Studio 2. Studio 1 includes using a project brief and delivering research-based solutions using the product design process. Students will also learn how to discuss design choices and communicate users’ needs to other stakeholders.

In Studio 2, the students will direct a project from beginning to end. They will explore presentation strategies, effective communication, and product design ethics. This phase works with the needs of real-world problems and challenges students to meet those needs.

“In Studio, we loosen the reins a bit. The goal of those three-week phases is to allow students the opportunity to pull it all together. We give them a problem statement, a problem about products, a context, and they do their own research. They then formulate a plan. They come up with prototypes. They develop their own testing methods, and we mentor them through that process,” Giovanni shared.

The last phase is all about the portfolio. During the three weeks of this phase, students will write case studies, assemble an industry-worthy online portfolio, and refine the skills they’ve already developed in previous weeks. They also learn some HTML and CSS which help them communicate more effectively with developers in future roles. 

This phase is also when students begin preparing for the job market. Students begin working with Flatiron School’s Career Services team to identify their career goals and come up with an individualized job-search strategy. This includes interview prep and assessing preferences, skills, and experience to determine job fit.

In the full-time course, these five phases are completed over 15 weeks. A typical school day for a full-time student involves lectures and labs dedicated to practicing what they’ve learned through exercises or project work. 

Giovanni summarizes the objective of the Product Design course. “Our goal is to scaffold people from the point where they’re learning about individual topics like tools and processes to the point where they are making judgment calls about how to take a problem statement to a product concept. We want students to know enough to represent their skills in the best light, and to know how they want to enter the industry,” he explained.

Design Labs

One unique feature of the course is the design labs. Giovanni expounds on how this helps students learn and understand the concepts taught. “We do design labs almost every day. The idea is you have lectures that introduce you to new information, and then immediately after the lecture, you’ll have one or two design labs, depending on what we’re doing.”

“These are shorter experiences, which are not graded but are scaffolding activities where you can put into practice what you just learned. It reinforces your learning and gives students a first taste of doing a new process they haven’t tried before, with lower stakes. It’s really an opportunity where you can experiment.”

Design labs allow students to have hands-on experience and apply the lessons they’ve learned to real-world situations.

Projects and Deliverables

Students complete eight major projects that take one to three weeks each to complete. They are designed to simulate situations and problems experienced in real-world work environments. They are based on real projects and are intended to be part of student portfolios. When they are presented to potential employers, the projects will allow students to explain their thought and work processes.

Built-In Career Services

All Flatiron School graduates receive career services support, including individual career coaching. When students begin their job searches, they’ll meet with a dedicated Career Coach weekly. These experienced coaches help with resume writing and review, interview prep, and support students all the way to landing their first job.

Graduates also benefit from Flatiron School’s global employer network that includes hiring managers at top companies. Flatiron School’s Employers Partnerships team is constantly working and advocating for its job-seekers. Combined with Flatiron School’s proven job-search framework, students have the full support needed to start a successful career.

Jobs for the Flatiron School Product Design Graduate

Graduates of the Product Design course are fully prepared for roles such as product designer, UX designer, UX researcher, UI designer, and visual designer, among others. The skills gained during the course are also useful for positions such as content strategist, UX writer, and UI engineer.

Giovanni further explains the role of a product designer in today’s marketplace. “When developing products, it’s not just focusing on features. You have to think about the whole process of developing a product, ushering it into the world, and seeing that it makes it. It needs to find the people it intends to serve,” he said.

“Product design is an overarching set of skills that incorporates UX design, UI design, and some of the business acumen associated with the development of products. This might revolve around staffing, research, and budgets. It’s a deep field for multi-disciplinary people who are looking for a creative outfit,” Giovanni continued.

Step into Product Design with Flatiron School

Product design is an exciting field that offers several roles for people interested in the intersection of design, research, user experience, and management. 

Giovanni shares his advice for people interested in exploring product design. “If you’re thinking about enrolling in Flatiron School’s Product Design course, start by doing some self-learning, see how far you can get on your own in terms of understanding, and then jump in. We even have a free workshop about Design Thinking, if you want a good place to start.”

If this sounds like something you are interested in and fits your career goals, enroll in Product School’s Product Design course today.

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