Hi everyone,

I'm looking to enter the IxDA field but have no design experience or technical skills. I've considered CCA's BA program but really cannot afford it at the moment and already have a BA degree. 

What training programs are the best for me to gain the most applicable IxDA skills without getting a degree?

I've read up on quite a few intensive courses (Cooper, Adaptive Path, NNG, etc.) and would appreciate any feedback on which would be the best to commit to.

Thanks for the support! 


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Also check out skillshare. A former colleague of mine, Ciello puts on some mean classes:


I heard awesome things about Cooper Boot Camp & would suggest it given your background. After you get a job I'd do more but I'd start with those two.

Rachel Li

Hi Rachel,

I have actually taken a class from Cielo already and it was extremely helpful. Skillshare is a great site for many interesting classes. Thank you for your recommendations and input on Cooper--I really appreciate it! 


Intensive courses are a really great option, so I'd encourage you to look into them a bit more. Posting to the broader IxDA list (via IxDA.org) might be a good way to get feedback from people who've attended courses from Cooper and Adaptive Path.

I teach one of the Adaptive Path courses, so I'm biased towards those, of course, and would recommend UX Intensive! The next UX Intensive is in Berlin this spring, but we'll be back in the US this fall (location TBD, but hopefully the west coast). Details on these courses at http://ux-intensive.com/.

Another great option is to attend a conference, or to sign up for just pre-conference workshops. You can do that for either the IxDA's conference (http://interaction13.ixda.org/, in Toronto in just a few weeks, and workshops are almost sold out) or the IA Summit (http://2013.iasummit.org/).

If you're trying to keep it somewhat local, Webvisions is in Portland this May, and it might be a great option for you.

Also, sign up for UIE podcasts (http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/topics/podcasts/) and dig around. There's a lot of good content out there.

Hope that helps!

Hi Maria,

Thank you for the wonderful resources! I actually looked into the Good Design Faster course at Adaptive Path a couple of months ago but didn't feel I had enough insight and knowledge of UX yet to fully benefit from it. I'm looking at some Adobe courses right now, as well as some coding courses and would love your advice. In your experience, what design tools and software applications do Interaction Designers use the most? InDesign, Illustrator, and Fireworks are the three I hear the most. 

Thanks again for your support--I really appreciate it! 


Tools are all over the map. InDesign, Illustrator, Omnigraffle, Visio, Photoshop, Axure, etc., etc. It not the tool that matters so much (though it's good to be expert in some) but what you bring to the process that really matters. Heck, some people wireframe or mock up designs in PowerPoint (personally, I'd rather jump out of a window than do that) or Keynote (much more reasonable and successful).

Tools are useful, but spend more of your time learning about all the other stuff that comes before you even create a new file in any tool.


Just came across something else you may find helpful: An encyclopedia of human-computer interaction (HCI) topics. Looks like some good (and free!) content here: http://www.interaction-design.org/books/hci.html

What a great site--thank you so much for sharing this!! 

Hi, Celestial. 

Exciting that you're looking into our field! I work and teach at Cooper, and I'd recommend looking into our four-day intensive Interaction Design course. It's a small class (usually about 20-25) so you get a great deal of one-on-one coaching. Our teaching philosophy is centered around hands-on learning, so you'll apply what you learn to an example product. If you decide you want more, the next class I'd recommend is the Visual Interface Design course, where you'll learn about visual design, brand, and screen layout. 

The UX Boot Camp is an amazing course because you apply what you learn to a project for a nonprofit client. However, it is a more advanced course and better suited for someone who has some experience in design. It may be a bit too intensive for you at this point. 

Also, here is a blog post with a ton of resources in it for self-study. It should keep you busy for QUITE a while. :) 

Lastly, you should definitely look into IxDA's annual conference, as Maria said. You will learn a ton about what is happening in our industry, and it'll help you craft your own point-of-view about those trends. Plus, you'll meet tons of amazing people who might be able to help you along your path. 

If you have any questions, let me know! And, best of luck!

Teresa, teresa@cooper.com

Teresa Brazen

Hi Teresa!

Thank you for sharing even more great resources--I spent the last hour digging through the self-study info on that blog and it is really helpful! I also just snagged a ticket for the Redux event in March, and am going to the social mixer this coming Wednesday at 111 Minna to mingle. Are you attending that event? It would be great to meet you and chat a little further about Interaction Design! 

Thanks again for your input--I am so impressed with the support I'm receiving from the IxDAsf network! 


Hey Celestial,

I'm so glad the blog post was useful! Apologies for the delayed reply on my end; for some reason I didn't get an alert when you posted (or missed it somehow). I'm so glad you are going to the Redux; it'll be a great event for you. I didn't get signed up in time and am on the wait list, so am not sure if I'll be able to attend. If I do, I'll let you know. Feel free to reach out if you need anything else (teresa at cooper dot com). And, yes,  the IxDA network is amazing. You should really try to go to the conference next year; you'll be amazed by the community.


Hi Teresa,

So, I bit the bullet and enrolled in the Interaction Design course at Cooper that starts next Tuesday! I'm also taking a couple other design classes through Coursera...keeping the ball rolling. Anyways, I'll look forward to meeting you next week if you're in the office--or perhaps your teaching this course?


one of my friends (who is a ux designer) took the Interaction Design Classes at SF State. http://www.cel.sfsu.edu/multimedia/classes.cfm?selection=classes&am...

She found it very helpful.

Also, I like how Austin Center for Design (AC4D) shares lots of class slides and student work online.




hope this is somewhat helpful.


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