The Center Centre program

What will I learn?

You’ll learn the essential skills to become an industry-ready user experience (UX) designer. We’ve designed a program—from the ground up—geared towards giving you what you need to be a contributing member of a design team.

We’ve put a heavy emphasis on project work to give you plenty of practice honing your technical and interpersonal skills. Under the direction and guidance of our industry-seasoned facilitators (Center Centre’s full-time faculty), you’ll work on projects that provide you a tailored educational experience and a solid, industry-ready foundation.


What does a UX designer do?

>UX designers work on all flavors of screen-based design.

Your favorite websites, phone apps, and kiosks are crafted by user experience designers. The way the design looks, the way it works, how it’s organized, and how it fits into its environment are all the result of UX design.

UX designers work on all flavors of screen-based design. You’ll find UX designers working on messaging applications, information websites, games, and banking systems. They work on customer-facing applications like reservation systems and e-commerce. They design the systems that employees use. UX designers shape our experiences.


Who hires UX designers?

We’ve talked with a lot of hiring managers. They tell us that they need more industry-ready UX talent and they need it now.

New design gradutates are not prepared, The best designers have soft skills, and We need unicorns!

We’ve seen an exponential increase in the demand for UX designers. Companies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies are beginning to recognize the importance of providing great experiences for their customers, employees, students, faculty, donors, and constituents.

Companies, like Apple Computer, demonstrated that products with better designs make them competitive. These companies are now focused on investing in better experiences. This means they need even more UX designers.

Right now, there are openings for more than 24,000 UX designers in the US alone and, in the next 10 years, the projected job growth of UX designers is 22%!

GE is hiring more than 400 UX designers. IBM is hiring 1000 new UX designers for their Global Services division, in addition to the 600 designers they are adding to their product teams. Bloomberg, Marriott, Sears, and the New York Times are growing their design organizations, as well.

How will I learn it?

24 months of awesomeness!

Center Centre Structure

You’ll participate in a unique program schedule that allows you to focus on each course—one at a time. That’s right—no juggling multiple courses required. Instead, enjoy one immersive course at a time.


Our three-week courses are divided into three parts:

2 Days

Two day industry-grade workshops from industry-experts.

3 Days

Three days focused on individual mastery projects.

10 Days

Ten days working on small-team projects for real clients.

These small-team projects span over multiple courses and last between three to five months. You’ll graduate with a rich portfolio filled with both visual designs and stories of your project experience.


Video: How our program is structured

Our co-founder Dr. Leslie Jensen-Inman explains the structure of Center Centre's program.

What skills will I learn?

The skills you'll learn

You’ll complete 30 courses—24 core courses plus six internship or special topic courses—that focus both on hard, technical skills and soft, interpersonal skills. This means you’ll learn a holistic skillset, everything from writing HTML to learning how to lead a presentation.

Technical skills

Front-End Development: Coding valid HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery

Visual Design: Understanding the use of color, grid, layout, and typography

Mobile Integration: Creating consistent experiences through responsive layouts, touch interactions, and input techniques

Project Management: Incorporating iterative design, agile practices, and software development life cycles

Information Architecture: Planning experiences through site mapping, modelling, and wireframes

Interaction Design: Building flow, form design, micro-interactions, and transition animations

Copywriting and Content Strategy: Writing microcopy, content modelling, and content inventories

User Research: Conducting field research, usability studies, research synthesis, and data analysis

Soft skills

Presenting: Sharing thoughts and design concepts with peers and stakeholders

Facilitating: Extracting design requirements and project direction from peers and stakeholders, while promoting a shared understanding

Critiquing: Receiving, giving, and training peers and stakeholders on constructive feedback

Storytelling: Communicating and affirming to peers and stakeholders how decisions were made, how principles were arrived at, and how the design will improve the lives of the users

Sketching: Communicating emerging design ideas quickly and exploring problem space with peers and stakeholders

Leadership: Providing vision, direction, and passion to peers and stakeholders


Courses by term

Center Centre Structure

Each term runs for 15 weeks and contains five courses. Courses are three weeks in length.

Term 1
  • Introduction to User Experience
  • Information Architecture
  • Sketching and Prototyping
  • User Research Practices
  • Front End Development
Term 2
  • Critiquing and Design Studio
  • Visual Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Storytelling
  • Copywriting and Content Strategy
Term 3
  • Design Process Management
  • Presenting
  • Information Design
  • Ethnography
  • Communicating Design
Term 4
  • Advanced Design Methods 1
  • Facilitating
  • Agile Methods
  • Leadership
  • Business of UX
Term 5
  • Advanced Design Methods 2
  • Editing and Curating
  • Analytics
  • Designing of Social
  • Special Topic, Directed Topic, or Internship
Term 6
  • Special Topics, Directed Topics, or Internships (five courses total)

Special Topics, Directed Topics, and Internships

Term 6 is reserved for a combination of Special Topics, Directed Topics, and Internships.

Special Topics

Our field is constantly advancing. Just a few years ago, we didn’t know how important mobile, service design, sophisticated prototyping techniques, or Agile development methods would be for designers.

We’ve reserved Special Topics courses for emerging technologies and skills. As you approach the final term of the program, our facilitators and co-founders will identify what else you need to stay ahead of the game. We’ll find the industry experts in those areas and have them lead Special Topics workshops. Special Topics will help you build your skills using the latest UX tools and techniques before you graduate.

Directed Topics

With the facilitator’s guidance, you can pursue an independent or group project. For example, you may want to use this course period to create an online portfolio of your work, dive deeper into front-end development, or learn a content management system (CMS) like WordPress.

Internships

Students are required to take at least one internship (lasting at least three weeks, or up to 18 weeks) with an approved business. We recommend that you undergo one internship spanning multiple course periods; however, you can take multiple internships with multiple businesses.

You’ll have access to internships with our partner companies. You’re also welcome to seek outside internship opportunities. Outside internships must be approved by the institutional director.

What do I earn upon graduation?

Diploma

You’ll graduate from Center Centre with the essential skills to be an industry-ready UX designer. You'll receive a diploma in User Experience Design and Technology that's authorized by the State of Tennessee.

Who are our industry experts?

Each course begins with a two-day workshop led by one of our industry experts.

Each course begins with a two-day workshop led by one of our industry experts. Industry experts are chosen based on their subject matter expertise and demonstrated presentation skills. They are leaders at the forefront of today’s design industry.

Our industry experts write influential books on topics like user experience, front-end development, and content strategy. They give presentations and workshops at leading industry conferences. Their insights and skills are highly regarded by industry professionals and learners from around the world.

Facilitators will work with guest industry experts ahead of time to tailor workshops to your needs, meeting you where you are in the learning process.

After completing the workshop and an individual mastery project during week one, you’ll spend the remaining two weeks of the course integrating what you’ve learned into team projects. You’ll have the opportunity to review the integrated material with industry experts, either in person or via remote collaboration tools like Skype.

What are partner companies?

Partner companies provide real-world projects for our student teams

Partner companies provide real-world projects for our student teams. You’ll work on these projects from initial concept to final deployment.

We’ll work with partner companies to make sure that projects are appropriate for where you are in the learning process, yet challenging enough so you develop the skills you need. These may be “back burner” projects or new projects.

You may be required to travel to the partner company’s location for project work. Travel expenses like transportation and lodging will be covered by the partner company.

Our partner companies see UX as good for business, and they have a growing demand for UX talent. They pay a fee to participate in our program, which offsets the cost of tuition. Many of them are “blue-chip” companies, meaning they’re at least 20 years old with a strong, stable financial track record. Blue-chip companies are often in fields like healthcare, finance, manufacturing, publishing, non-profit, government, and retail.


Video: Partner company program

Our co-founder Jared Spool explains why he’s excited about partner companies and mentors at Center Centre.


Partner company mentors

Partner companies can appoint four or more of their design team members to be mentors. Mentors will work with you on company projects. They’ll meet with you regularly, constructively critique your work, and give advice on the project’s business goals and constraints.

Partner company mentors will attend our industry expert workshops, learning the latest UX skills along with you. Mentors will see the trajectory of your learning experience: How you meet challenges, where you excel, and what happens when you hit a wall. This allows them to see your ability to grow as a student and as a professional.

While they get to know you, you’ll also get to know them and the companies they work for. You’ll get an insider perspective about what it’s like to work at the partner company. If you decide to intern with our partner companies or apply for open positions, you’ll already have insight about the companies’ culture and how their design process works.


Internship opportunities

Partner companies will provide on site internship opportunities for our students. Through internships, you’ll meet even more partner company team members, work in their environment, and experience their culture on a daily basis. Partner companies will also cover internship travel expenses like transportation and lodging.


Do you have questions for us?

If you have questions about our program, please call us Monday through Friday 9AM-5PM at 423-805-7420 or toll-free at 1-844-805-7420. You can also contact us online.


Why Chattanooga?

Center Centre is a project-based school in a project-based city.

Our team loves Chattanooga for so many reasons.
Here’s some of our favorites:

Overview of the Chattanooga riverfront photo by Warren McLelland Aerial Photography.