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A review of Design Sprint School bootcamp

Hi, I’m Elle! I work as a product designer at Getaround and as an industry mentor here at Pathrise. I help our fellows land great jobs in product design through technical workshops and 1-on-1s. Check out my review of Design Sprint School.

What does Design Sprint School do?

Design Sprint School is an online tech bootcamp that teaches people the skills they need to become a UX designer or a product manager. They offer a self-paced course and a 4-hour live course that can supplement the self-paced program.

The self-paced design bootcamp teaches students design fundamentals and 2 design sprint methodologies. On average, it takes about 2 months to cover all the content in this self-paced bootcamp. Students get access to a library with hundreds of canvases/prototyping videos they can use as templates to run their own design sprints and video crash courses on subjects ranging from sales to facilitation. In addition, they receive a complete toolbox with checklists, agendas, best practices, step-by-step explainers, and other design content. Throughout the course, students get hands-on practice designing and working under the design sprint conditions they’ll find on the job. Experienced mentors also give students personalized feedback on all of their practice work and assignments.

Self-paced design bootcamp

Their flagship course curriculum begins with a 6-hour deep dive into design foundations, learning about design thinking, funnels, ecosystems, mapping, and most importantly “design sprints”, which are time-constrained, 5-phase processes that utilize design thinking to reduce risk when creating a new product. Students learn both the Google Ventures (SPRINT) approach to design sprints and the Minimum Valuable Service (MVS, THE SERVICE STARTUP) design sprint technique. 

The next 8 hours cover user research, learning about consumer journeys, user interviews, personas, and more. Students then spend about 6 hours working with ideation and refinement, learning to use voting systems, ethnographic approaches to interviews, and ideation techniques like Swap and Google Venture’s four step sketch. The final 8 hours of the course cover prototyping using cheap, easy-to-swap materials. In addition to early stage prototyping, students learn to manage, measure, and prioritize the results of their design sprints. The course culminates in a final Design Sprint Master certification exam, which students can take twice if needed.

Once students pass the final exam, they get an official certificate and access to Design Sprint School’s global community, which includes 800+ members in 80+ countries and plenty of networking opportunities. Their closed alumni Facebook group can be a great place to recruit teammates, collaborate with peers, and network with design experts. Their community also manages a referral network, which connects alumni to design employers.

Fast Track to Design Sprint Mastery course

The “Fast Track to Design Sprint Mastery” is a small, 10-student course that comes with all the same content as the self-paced course, as well as a live 4-hour class, a 1-hour live 1-on-1 Q&A session, and 30 days of mentoring. During the 4-hour “design sprint clinic” class, course founder Tenny Pinheiro personally teaches design sprint best practices, pitfalls, and hacks for both the GV and the MVS design sprint models. Students also learn best design sprint practices for mobile development, machine learning, and even game development. 

Next, Fast Track students attend a 1-on-1 Q&A session where they fine-tune their design sprint delivery strategies, including marketing, pitch decks, and selling approaches. Finally, students test their strategy with real user research, planning, execution, session moderation, sales pitch decks, and more. Students can continue to meet with mentors for 30 days, getting help with their strategies. In addition to 10+ hours of live online interaction with design experts, students in the Fast Track get lifetime access to Design Sprint School’s online content platform. This includes assets, guidelines, checklists, examples, and canvases grads can use as references in their job search and career. Students in the Fast Track program automatically get a Design Sprint Master certificate without having to pass the exam.

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Who is Design Sprint School for?

The self-paced course is designed to help people with little to no design experience learn the skills they need to land a UX design or product management role. All of their programs are especially helpful for students who want a flexible, part-time program that they can complete while working a full-time job. The Fast Track could be a good fit for designers with some experience who want to master design sprints  In addition, it would be a good fit for people seeking small class sizes and  a flexible program with lots of mentoring from experienced designers.

What does Design Sprint School cost? How much work is involved?

Access to the basic self-paced course is only $49 per month. However, students who want a certificate and feedback from mentors have to pay $79 per month. The Fast Track program costs $1,849 upfront and it includes all of the content in the self-paced program.

Unlike many other bootcamps, there is no formal admissions process. However, since the Fast Track class size is so small, the course fills up very quickly. While their Fast Track course is designed for students with some experience who want to master design and design sprint methods, anyone can enroll.

Ratings and reviews

Design Sprint School is fairly new and does not have many reviews yet. However,  the reception has been very positive so far. Their program was listed as a 2021 Best Bootcamp Winner on Switchup, where they hold a 4.85/5 star rating. Grads described the program as “concise” and “well explained.” Many students like that the live class was grounded in the founder’s personal experience with companies like Facebook, making his personal feedback extra valuable. One student appreciated that “the content is broken into bite sized lengths,” which helped them “stay motivated.” 

Students also liked the time-crunched practices with a real-world corporate flavor, commenting that “assessments are also nicely aligned to the content and helps mirror a real design sprint challenge.” Another student agreed that the “structure of the content flows well” and “each chapter/module is just the right length, with a good combination of video and reading.” Grads also appreciated the mix of “theory and practice” with plenty of “real life examples” to keep the more theoretical design sprint methodologies grounded.

However, one Switchup grad was disappointed by both “unnecessary information” and “limitation of access to information”, wishing they had longer access to the materials. Although they still felt the course was “insightful”, they wished there had been fewer limitations with clearer directions for students, annoyed that it was“not clear what to deliver, if something, at the end of the 1st week.” 

Their courses also hold a perfect 5/5 star rating on Facebook, though only 3 people have reviewed it. Grads describe their program as “amazing” and “empowering” with a curriculum that teaches students “innovative solutions in a surprisingly easy way.” Overall, Design Sprint School grads seem very satisfied with the extensive self-paced content, engaging curriculum, and mix of both design theory and hands-on design practice.

Alternatives to Design Sprint School

If you decide not to enroll in Design Sprint School, there are a number of alternative bootcamps and resources that can help you launch a new career in design.

  • People seeking an online, flexible design program can look into Bloc. They teach web design and web development with lots of project work and 1-on-1 mentoring. 
  • Aspiring designers can also look into Designlab. Students in their UX/UI design bootcamp work with both an industry mentor and a career coach. Their curriculum is hands-on like Design Sprint School. Learn more about Designlab in our review.
  • Similarly, DesignerUp offers online self-paced or instructor-led design courses with 1-on-1 mentoring. Like Design Sprint School, grads get an accredited design certificate they can add to their LinkedIn profiles. Read more about DesignerUp in our review.
  • The online learning program Springboard has tracks in UX design and plenty of other tech subjects. Their career tracks feature 1-on-1 mentoring and lots of opportunities to build design portfolios. If students don’t land a tech job within 6 months of graduating, they get a full refund. Learn more about Springboard in our review.
  • Aspiring UX designers and software engineers seeking a more intensive, full-time bootcamp experience can consider Kenzie Academy. Their UX program is hands-on and offers a job guarantee. Read more about Kenzie Academy in our program review.
  • You can also check out Bubble no-code bootcamps to learn how to make products without coding. Learn more about Bubble in our review.
  • Similarly, students in the Thinkful, Dorm, and Perpetual Education bootcamps can finance their education with an income share agreement (ISA).
More alternatives
  • The popular bootcamp General Assembly offers full-time, part-time, and 1-day courses on tech topics like UX design, product management, and more. Their program includes 1-on-1 mentoring sessions, a massive alumni network, and over 19,000 hiring partners. Read more about General Assembly in our review.
  • Another well-known bootcamp is BrainStation, which has tracks in UX/UI design and many other tech topics. Their program is hands-on with a 90%+ job placement rate for grads.
  • The online design resource Gymnasium teaches key UX skills, with some free course offerings and even opportunities for real work experience. Similarly, Avocademy is an online bootcamp that helps students build up their portfolios.
  • The self-paced learning platform Udacity teaches remote courses on UX design and product management. Students in their nanodegree programs work with both technical mentors and career coaches. Their program is hands-on with opportunities to build design portfolios. Find out if Udacity is right for your career goals in our review.
  • Students seeking low-cost, self-paced courses can also look into Udemy. They host 100k+ affordable video courses on UX design, product management, and more. Like Design Spring School, their program is self-paced, remote, and has options for lifetime course access. Classes only cost about $10 each.
  • Coursera offers over 3,900 courses taught by professors from accredited universities. Their program is also remote and self-paced. They have tracks in UX design and product management with both free and paid options.
  • Similarly, edX is an online learning platform with UX design and product management courses. They host over 3,000 self-paced courses from top universities like Harvard and MIT, and even top tech companies like Microsoft. Read more about edX in our review.

How does Design Sprint School compare to Pathrise?

Design Sprint School is a bootcamp for people who want to launch a new career in design. The course is designed for people who have little to no experience in the subject. However, fellows in the Pathrise program should already have some background in their chosen field to get the most out of our technical curriculum.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that helps people land their dream tech job. Our experienced mentors have already helped 1,000+ people land great roles by working 1-on-1 on all phases of the job search, including resumes & portfolio optimization, reverse recruiting and cold emails, behavioral and technical interview preparation, salary negotiation, and more.

Our program is flexible, with just 2-4 hours of group sessions per week and 1-on-1 sessions that can be scheduled as needed. The Pathrise income share agreement (ISA) means that fellows don’t pay anything until they land a job they love and start working. We never require any upfront payments or deposits.

Pathrise optimizes the job search through 1-on-1 mentoring and technical training. With our tips and guidance, fellows in our program can see their interview scores double and their application responses triple. If you are interested in working with one of our experienced mentors to land your dream job, join Pathrise.

Apply today.

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