Why Bootcamp Job Guarantees Are A Scam

UI/UX bootcamps have job guarantees as a marketing gimmick but many graduates don’t actually land jobs

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Have you ever wondered why and how almost all the UI/UX design bootcamps have “job guarantees” (well, except us and we will explain why, very soon)? Universities never promise you a job after graduation but somehow the for-profit bootcamps do. It just sounds too good to be true. Well, you are not wrong – it is indeed too good to be true. Let’s break down why UI/UX design “job guarantees” are a scam, but more importantly, how you can actually get design jobs after your bootcamp.

Table of Contents

How “job guarantee” actually works

First of all, what is a “job guarantee”? Typically, a career training school, also known as bootcamps in the UI/UX design or coding sector, offers a partial or full refund to graduates who cannot secure employment several months after graduation, with 6 months being a popular deadline.

This is a form of incentivizing financial agreement to legitimize the career outcomes of a school with the goal to attract more students.

The terms usually include:

  • Regular engagement with career services
  • A minimum amount of job applications per week
  • Live close to a major metropolitan area
  • Obligation to accept the first job offer whether it is ideal or not

If graduates meet all of the basic requirements and still fail to secure a job offer within a certain amount of months after graduation, they may be entitled to a full or partial refund of their tuition.

It all sounds great right? If you are not slacking off during the job search, it sounds like an ideal way to get your money back if things go south. It’s much like the “free return within 14 days for any reason” policy that most retailers offer.

While retailers can resell returned merchandise, education institutions surely can’t resell instructional hours that have already been given. How is this even possible for them? Won’t they lose money this way?

The Truth About UI/UX Design Bootcamp Job Guarantees

  • Bootcamps often hire lawyers to write job guarantee contracts with language that allows for loopholes to contest at a later stage when graduates demand a refund due to not being able to secure a job. Unless the graduate is also a savvy lawyer themselves, it would be very difficult to make a case.
  • Let’s say the graduate meets all the requirements but still failed to secure a job and the bootcamp can’t find any loopholes, the graduate technically still lost because months of time has been spent in the program and no outcome was generated. With the money back, the graduate still doesn’t have a job and basically went back to Square One.
  • Big bootcamps have enough financial cushion to handle a few refunds for every cohort while using the “job guarantee” to attract more and more students. It’s always a win-win for them but a lose-lose to students.

What can you do to actually get UI/UX design jobs

Now that we understand how “job guarantees” actually work, it makes more sense to think about how to actually get UI/UX design jobs ourselves rather than obsessing over if we’ll get our money back.

Produce not only good but great work

The first thing to do is to make sure your work is not only good but great. The design industry hires by talent, not certification. So your graduation certificate means nothing unless you can show you produce excellent work. Enroll in a school that actually specialize in portfolio coaching rather than going blindly with a big-named school.

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With excellent work, you will also need to learn how to position yourself in the market. Nowadays, every position receives hundreds if not thousands of applications. Most of these applications never see the light of day. To avoid wasted time and effort, targeted outreach to companies that actually want the type of candidate like yourself is way more effective.

Everyone has different strengths and could become an asset in different environments. Receiving the right guidance in this department could make or break your job search.

How do you compete with designers with more experience

The right strategies will certainly help you get closer to your UI/UX design career goals, but there is one thing that a lot of candidates find extremely discouraging – that is almost every position requires at least 3-5 years of experience, even junior ones. If nobody wants to give opportunities, how do we build those required experiences?

We strongly believe that every company needs to start removing ridiculous requirements like this for entry-level positions. While we wait for them to catch up with the times, is there anything we can do?

Reach out to open-minded startups

Believe it or not, there are still plenty of open-minded companies that will give early-career talents a chance. Most of them are funded startups with a founding team that believes in highly-motivated, junior talents. Look for job postings without those requirements and proactively reach out to them with personal introductions.

Ask how junior employees got their jobs

You can even go a step further and reach out to junior employees at some of these companies and ask them how they got the job. Attend events, network online by commenting on posts, producing content yourself – there are many ways to build authentic industry connections.

Apply regardless

Another tip that may not be obvious to a lot of people is – apply anyway. Even if you see the experience requirement that you don’t technically qualify for, still reach out and present your work. Some companies are actually more flexible with years of experience when they see great work but throw in the requirement without too much thinking.

Will employers really take bootcamp grads seriously

Another common concern from bootcamp students is – will they be taken seriously by hiring managers? There is a lot of stigma around bootcamps for good reasons. The most important reason is a lot of bootcamps rush students out the door too fast without teaching them enough foundation, which results in subpar quality of work.

If you are not one of those students who show gaps in knowledge and significant flaws in your design foundation; you take extra initiatives in outreach and produced an excellent body of work, you will still get the right amount of attention from hiring mangers because believe it or not, even though the market is saturated, it is saturated with mediocre candidates, not excellent ones.

Why we don’t have a job guarantee

Before we wrap, we want to mention why we don’t have a job guarantee like every other school does. The reason is very simple, we don’t believe in misleading advertising. The truth is – there is never any guarantee in life, why would there be a job guarantee? Companies will never agree to blindly hire anyone who graduates from a school just because they have obtained a piece of paper. We run our school on a foundation of absolute honesty and the potentially deceptive nature of “job guarantees” don’t sit well with us.

Another brutally honest side note is – we are a designer-founded boutique school. Instead of hiring lawyers to write loophole-laden job guarantee contracts, we focus our energy on delivering personalized, high-quality design education. As a result, we cannot afford to run our school if we provide such contracts.

We hope we did our small part to help clear the mystery around “job guarantees” that so many bootcamps tout but are rarely something that actually helps students get jobs. Have you ever wondered about “job guarantees” yourself? What are your thoughts around it?

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