One of the most common doubts for those who want to transition to UX Design is precisely regarding courses, universities, and certifications in the field.
In this article, we will talk more about certifications, especially those issued by NN/g – Nielsen Norman Group.
Other articles that may help you decide about courses and certification programs:
- Do I Need a Design Background to Switch to UX?
- Pivoting to UX Design: Making an Action Plan for Success
- Student Testimonials: What Do They Say About The MID Program?
What is the secret to success in UX?
First things first, let's get one thing straight: whether you have a certificate or not, the key to making it in UX design is to always be hungry for knowledge. You've got to keep learning, researching, and staying up-to-date if you want to thrive in this field.
But here's the deal: completing a course, getting a degree, or having a certification doesn't automatically guarantee your success. Technology moves at lightning speed, and what's considered cool today might be old news tomorrow.
That's why it's important to stay in the loop and constantly explore the latest trends and advancements in design. Let me share a few tips from my own experience that might help you along the way:
- Dive into articles that dig deep into the exciting insights of the industry;
- Check out videos and attend talks that shed light on the latest UX innovations;
- Make it a point to join conferences and workshops where you can connect with fellow professionals and gain valuable insights;
- Don't underestimate the power of good old books on design—they offer wisdom and practical advice;
- And remember, building a strong network of connections in the industry can open doors to exciting opportunities and collaborations.
A few words from Aela's founder, Felipe
"Now, here's the thing: I truly believe that the pursuit of knowledge and continuous practice is what truly matters more than any fancy certificate or recognition. At Aela, we stand by that philosophy.
But hey, I get it. Choosing the right courses, degrees, or certifications can be overwhelming, not to mention the costs involved. Take your time, weigh your options, and make choices that align with your goals and aspirations. There's no need to rush.
So keep learning, stay curious, and never stop honing your skills. That's the real secret to success in the ever-changing world of UX/UI design."
Will diplomas, courses, and certifications be your lifesaver?
The answer to this question is: it depends on your unique journey. We are all individuals with different professional backgrounds and aspirations. The value of having a diploma, taking courses, or obtaining certifications can vary based on a combination of factors specific to each person.
However, what truly matters is not just the institution's name or the certificates you hold. It's how you apply the knowledge and skills acquired from these experiences in your work.
It's about showcasing the practical application of your expertise.
For UX Designers, the key lies in your portfolio. Your portfolio becomes your voice, your visual testament to the knowledge you possess and the impact you've made. It's where you can demonstrate what you've learned and showcase your abilities through tangible examples and successful projects.
Equally important is the ability to articulate the process behind your projects, revealing the value and insights gained from the certifications you've pursued.
Remember, your journey is unique, and while diplomas, courses, and certifications can certainly enhance your skills, they alone won't guarantee success.
The practical application and the ability to communicate your accomplishments will truly set you apart in the competitive world of UX Design.
Embrace practice, experience, and continuous learning
The fields of UX/UI are practical areas. Therefore, it is necessary to show your clients or future employers that you are capable of meeting their needs. In this regard, your practice and experience serve as the best showcases.
To achieve this:
- Practice regularly;
- Pursue projects, whether freelance or not;
- Invest time in research;
- Seek clarification when in doubt;
- Engage in conversations with professionals in the field.
These practices enable you to learn and develop continuously, adding practical knowledge to your theoretical understanding and making you a more well-rounded professional.
Of course, diplomas can complement your resume, just like courses and other certifications. The more knowledge you acquire, the better professional you will become.
Do academic certifications in UX impact salaries?
According to a survey conducted by MeasuringU with 1,355 individuals, 324 (24%) had some form of UX certification, whether from a private company (such as HFI or Nielsen Norman Group) or an academic affiliation.
According to the chart, individuals without certification, on average, do not receive a lower salary compared to professionals with certifications.
Therefore, don't just pursue any certification, assuming it will automatically increase your market value.
Carefully choose among the available course and certification options, and remember that they alone will not make a significant difference in your career.
Build a strong portfolio, study the processes, and maintain a mindset of continuous learning. Enhancing your knowledge should be your primary focus, and certifications can serve as a valuable complement to your skills.
Reading tip: Insights From The UX Careers Report
Nielsen Norman Group
The Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) is a leading company in Experience Design. Founders Jakob Nielsen, Donald Norman, and Bruce Tognazzini are considered pioneers and, for many, the fathers of Experience Design.
Norman and Tog worked at Apple in their early years, and Nielsen has extensive body work on web usability, which he developed during his time at Sun Microsystems.
Undoubtedly, NN/g is a prominent name in the Product Design market. And the UX Conference they organize yearly is one of the field's largest and most renowned events.
The UX Conference takes place several times a year. Each conference is hosted in a different city and lasts for 7 days. Throughout the entire week, there are workshops available covering a wide range of topics.
In addition, a UX certification is guaranteed if you complete 5 workshops and pass the corresponding tests with a score above 80%. So, obtaining the UX certification from NN/g is not an easy feat!
So, is the NN/g certification worth it?
Studying and gaining knowledge is always important, especially in a field as dynamic as UX/UI Design. In this regard, professionals need to stay updated, not only with concepts and innovation but also with strategy and management.
However, if you're a new Product Designer starting your career or someone who recently transitioned to UX Design, getting this certification may not be the best choice right now.
The conference covers various topics that require a solid understanding of UX principles to fully benefit from them. It's okay to attend as a Junior Designer, but you may not get as much out of the courses as more experienced Mid or Senior level designers.
Plus, it's a significant investment. Depending on where you're, you'll have additional expenses for travel, accommodation, and the conference fee itself. Spending a lot of money without gaining valuable knowledge from the courses might not be a wise decision.
But if you have more experience, pursuing this certification is highly recommended. NN/g is well-known for its expertise and is respected in the industry. The more experience you have, the better you can apply the workshop content to real-life examples from your own professional journey.
Furthermore, companies value the certification, and attending the conference provides great networking opportunities. It's a chance to connect with professionals and companies from different countries and various segments within the UX Design field, which enhances the learning experience.
If you have the opportunity to participate in this event as a UX Designer, it's definitely worth considering. But if it's not the right time for you, don't worry. We'll always share the best insights and learnings from the conference through our content.