Tradecraft's product design program was an amazing 3 months that helped me make a career switch into UX. I was in the program from November 2016 - February 2017, and prior to that, I was a customer success manager for a year and a consultant/IT auditor... Read More
When I first decided I wanted to be a product designer, I was looking into General Assembly and Tradecraft like you probably are. Both design programs seemed great, but after talking to a friend who graduated from TC, TC sounded more intense, which I thought would better equip me with the skills I need to land a UX/product design role. After going through the TC program and talking to a few people who did the GA program, I'm glad I chose TC.
#1 value - real client projects
As a product designer, you're going to need a few projects in your portfolio to land a job. Personal projects are great, but at Tradecraft, I had the opportunity to work with 5 startups throughout my 3 months on various design projects ranging from app design to landing page design. This experience was invaluable and something I don't think you get at GA. On these projects, I took opportunities to lead and present to our clients, who were primarily co-founders of these startups. Having these projects gave me a lot to talk about in my job interviews. Most of your time at TC will be spent working on client projects.
#2 value - curriculum
The instructors, Zac and Jake, are nice, helpful, and good at what they do. During curriculum, they'll teach you the basics of what you need to know from research to HTML/CSS, but you're going to have to read and learn on your own too. You can also schedule 1:1 time with them.
# 3 value - career development
We had weekly career development sessions learning how to craft our story, write cold emails, approach the job hunt, etc. It's hard to break into a new field on your own, and these weekly sessions motivated me to work hard and network, and taught me not to take the job hunt personally because it is in part a numbers game. Our head of careers, Ariane, helped us think through our career goals, what we want, and how to present ourselves to achieve those goals.
#4 value - the people
I spent a lot of time at TC, so thank god everyone there, including the alumni, are amazing people. There are about 3 active cohorts at a time, so you'll be surrounded by people who are just a motivated and ambitious as you are. I loved it. The people around you motivate you to work hard and do well. The TC staff are great. The alumni are helpful. When you join TC, you're forever a part of a community that will always welcome you.
#5 value - mentor talks
We have multiple mentor talks a week where product managers, designers, marketers, etc. from startups and established tech companies come in for an hour to talk to us and answer our questions. This was a great way to learn about the tech industry, different companies, and how design/product dev is like at other places.
You get a lot of value from Tradecraft. I feel like there's so much more to Tradecraft than what you can learn from their website or reading all the reviews, so definitely reach out to people who've done the program or are currently in the program. Everyone has a different experience. Mine was great!