Are you enrolled in or are considering enrolling in a Memorisely bootcamp? Have you participated in a part-time bootcamp before? Do you want to know how to have an awesome time while learning new skills and meeting amazing people?
In this post, I’ll be breaking down my experience in the UX/UI bootcamp. This was my first time learning in a bootcamp environment. Was I nervous? Yes. Did I feel overwhelmed at times? Of course. Did I love every minute of it? You’re darn right I did! Here are a few tips and tricks I picked up along the way that will help you get the most out of your experience.
Sprinting from the start
You may have heard about the Five P’s - ‘Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. If you want to start your Memorisely experience with a bang, dive into the pre-course work .Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Homework. Really? I haven't even started the bootcamp yet!”. But trust me, investment upfront pays off in the long run.
When I signed up for the UX/UI bootcamp, I was working as a Research & Insights Manager for a large retailer. Coming from a non-design background, I was passionate about design, but I didn't know any of the theoretical pillars or foundational concepts about what separates good and bad design. Memorisely recommended these books to help me begin to understand these concepts. Books like The Design of Everyday Things, taught me the importance of human-centred design. While Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, provided insights into how we can tap into human psychology to design cracking products.
Having an understanding of these concepts made it much easier for me to take the content being taught in class and put it into action. This was invaluable when working on the two case studies and helped make my designs shine. If reading isn't your thing, don't worry, there are also plenty of hands-on activities to help get you prepared. My absolute favourite part of the pre-course work was learning how to use Figma. I thought if I could just learn the basics, it would set me up for success in the bootcamp. It was love at first login and before I knew it, I was addicted to designing (and redesigning) websites and apps. Learning the basics before the bootcamp made comprehending the more complicated techniques, like component interactions, easier to pick up and master.
Before you kick off your bootcamp journey, spend some time immersing yourself in the prep work. It's recommended to you for a reason.
Your classmates are key
Hands down, one of the best aspects of a Memorisely Bootcamp is the community. In the bootcamp, you’ll have the opportunity to meet truly amazing individuals from all corners of the globe. Your classmates play a vital role in your Memorisely journey. So, pop on your kettle and invite them over for a virtual coffee. Getting to know your classmates will help you engage in more meaningful discussions, boost your confidence to ask questions, provide you with a safe space to share your opinions, and genuinely increase your enjoyment of the whole experience.
It will also help you find the perfect person to do the case studies with. Don’t get me wrong, introducing yourself online and asking someone to have a virtual coffee can be daunting. Heck, I had convinced myself that no one would want to speak to a random bloke from Australia. After my first coffee with fellow student Savio, I quickly learned that I couldn't be more wrong. You’re in a safe environment and the reason you're in the bootcamp is the same as your classmates, you’re all here to learn. Not just from Memorisely, but from each other.
Rolling into your first class and seeing familiar faces smiling back at you on the screen instantly fills you with confidence and alleviates any doubts or nerves you might have had. Having met most students before class, I felt at home from day one. So, don't wait for someone else to message you. Be proactive and put yourself out there. The person on the other side of the screen is most likely just as nervous as you.
Don’t skip class
Similar to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the live classes are where the magic happens. Each session is a fantastic blend of theoretical principles and practical exercises that explain both the why and the how. With the guidance of Memorisely’s awesome teaching team, you’ll be introduced to new concepts, discuss their relevance and then get hands-on experience applying what you’ve learned, either individually or as part of a team. It’s in these moments that learning happens.
The structure of the live sessions kept me engaged and helped me develop a more comprehensive understanding of the content than if I were watching a recording of the class. My mind didn't wander off and I wasn't tempted to check notifications on my phone. I was immersed in the content and locked into keeping up with what was going on in the classroom. If my university days taught me anything, it’s that the same level of attention I showed in class was vastly different to that of lecture recordings.
Sometimes life gets in the way and watching the recording is your only option to get the content but, if the recordings become the main way you engage with the Bootcamp, you’ll be limiting the amount you’ll get from the experience.When you work in a silo, you're contained in your thoughts and ideas. But when you open the lid and let others in, you might stumble upon a golden nugget.
This constantly happened in the co-working sessions with my case study partner. When I thought I had the perfect solution mapped out in my mind, after discussing it with my partner, I realised this wasn't the case and there was often an easier, faster or better way to achieve the same outcome by combining our ideas. Without these moments of collaboration, I’d probably still be sitting at my Mac trying to animate an interactive shower in Figma for our case study.
If you’re serious about coming out of the bootcamp with a great understanding of design, attending as many live classes as possible is the way you’ll get there.
By design, bootcamps are intense. Compared to a university course that might teach design or code over three or four years, bootcamps teach the skills needed to land a job in a matter of months. How is this possible, you may ask? Well, it's because you’re rapidly learning new concepts and putting them straight into action with real-life examples. A bootcamp’s accelerated learning environment is fantastic for getting you from A to Z quickly, but if you don’t keep up with the weekly activities and exercises, things can get overwhelming. Homework begins to pile up and coming to class prepared and mentally ready to learn a new topic seems like a distant fantasy.
For most people, the bootcamp won't be the only thing on their plate, with work, family, friends and Netflix also demanding attention. However, with a little discipline, you can stay on top of the coursework and still have time for the things that matter most. That’s what I love about Memorisely.
Each Sunday, I’d spend around an hour reflecting on the week that was and look ahead at what was coming up. First, I’d review the past week's curriculum, if there were outstanding tasks or activities, instantly a chunk of time was blocked out in my calendar to finalise these before my next class on Monday. I’d then move on to reviewing the activities for the week ahead. To avoid ‘life’ clogging up my calendar, I used placeholders to protect my time. These placeholders also served as reminders, helping ensure I stayed on top of my work and didn't waste hours playing FIFA instead.
How you do it is up to you, but taking time to plan out your week is essential for rocking the bootcamps. Here are a few key things to remember when planning. Prioritise your time so you have enough to complete all the weekly activities. Move things that will stop you from achieving your goals. Ensure you’re up to date and have not missed anything. Check your class space regularly or you’ll get a few surprises and most importantly, make sure you have enough time to rest and reset. You must be feeling fresh (physically and mentally).
I hope that these tips give you the best possible chance of getting the most out of your bootcamp experience. You’re in for a cracking journey with Memorisely, but you can supercharge the experience with what we discussed in this post. Above all else, remember that you're in a safe, welcoming learning environment with the support of your teachers and classmates. Put yourself out there, dive into the deep end and give the bootcamp everything you’ve got. You’ll be grateful that you did.