How to train in UX even if you can’t get funding from your employer

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

A year ago I asked my employer for training in UX Design. It was relevant to the big digital project I was working on, but as a Software Developer they felt it was not within my role. The 1 or 2 weeks UX courses I found were expensive, not close to home, and taking a week off for this didn’t feel right, but I really wanted to learn more.

At the time I already knew about the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF), as it had been a great source of information while completing my Interaction Design project for my Computing and IT Degree in 2016. So when I saw their Facebook posts about online courses, I had a look. It wasn’t expensive at all and I could take as many courses as I wanted. As it was online, I could make it work for me.

Facebook post I kept seeing in my timeline from IDF

My IT degree had already been online with The Open University so I knew about studying that way. I signed up in May with 3 courses:

I became very much addicted because by September I had completed 13 courses ;-) IDF recently announced a new course on Accessibility coming soon, it will be my 18th course. My little collection of certificates is growing nicely.

My favourite course to date: Gamification — Creating Addictive User Experiences

This gave me the confidence to call myself a UX Designer, meet others in the Glasgow UX Community, apply to UX roles and go to UX talks. A lot of UX talks ;-) I even started a portfolio.

So, if for whatever reason you can’t obtain the training you were looking for, don’t despair, have a look at online courses and go for it!

A few tips:

  • take notes as you go along, so you can go back to it later
  • don’t be put off by the fact that a course is intermediate or even advanced level, I did some advanced courses (even though I’m no expert) and still gain a lot from it
  • try to find a way to apply what you’ve learnt, you don’t have to create an app or website from scratch, you can take an existing app / website and try to improve it with what you’ve just learnt
  • do make contact with the wider UX community, there is a lot of people out there ready to share their knowledge and help

Happy learning!

Edit: Since that post, I’ve finished the course: Accessibility How to Design for All and really recommend it too.