Post-graduation

Go further

When you participate in Designation, you become part of a worldwide Designation alumni network. After it ends, we’ll work with you to make sure you find a career path in digital design that provides a lifetime of learning.

Incredible resources for alumni

Values report

We ask each designer to write a document we call a values report a few weeks before graduation. It’s a succinct but wide-ranging look at their personal and professional values—and how they combine, overlap, or balance to form a picture of what the designer looks to do in their career. Numerous graduates report that it helps them identify their ideal career paths and create a necessary structure for their job search. It’s a tool graduates find useful for years after the program. 

Career support

After graduation, designers get several weeks of dedicated, 1:1 support from the Career Phase creative director. Designers can meet in-person or virtually to review outstanding career materials and discuss the job search. 

Exclusive job board for graduates

Designation’s active Slack community, available to all current and past designers, contains a job board updated daily with opportunities in Chicago and around the world. Graduates also post openings from their teams, making this a resource useful for—and added to by—everyone involved in Designation.

Partnerships with recruiters

Designation enjoys excellent relationships with many creative recruiting agencies with offices around the world. These agencies exist to help professional designers find short-term, long-term, contract, contract-to-hire, or full-time jobs at companies of all types—and always as a free service to graduates. The lengthy list of agencies includes WunderLand, The Creative Group, Vitamin T, The Smart Dept, TransTech, Brooksource, and more.

Siri Preston

“Each phase of the program thoughtfully builds upon the next so that when it comes to the end of the program you feel confident and knowledgeable in your new field. You leave knowing what you don't know and having a really good idea what role or area in UX/UI you want to focus on in your career.”

Siri PrestonUX Designer, Periscope

Career mentors

Shortly before graduating, each designer is matched 1:1 with a professional designer who serves as their mentor. This creates a rewarding, purposeful relationship that focuses on giving actionable, specific feedback on career materials, and serves as a resource for their job search process. Mentors may be in-person or virtual, but they’re a truly important bridge for all designers between Designation and their first professional job.

If you’re interested in becoming a career mentor, visit the Volunteer with us page.

Graduate success disclosure

The Illinois Board of Higher Education requires approved schools to report and publish certain student success data. The following table discloses the required student success data for the most recent reporting period, July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

Kim Dobe

“Designation provides a wealth of tools and resources for launching a design career. If you are proactive throughout the program and truly commit to the tasks at hand, you will leave with a solid body of work and an incomparable skill set.”

Kim DobeUX Designer, bswift

Frequently asked questions about life after graduation

  • What’s the average salary for Designation graduates?

    We’ve found that graduates earn an average of $60,000–$65,000 in their first year after finishing the program. This number varies greatly due to location—it goes up to an average of $95,000–$100,000 for graduates in San Francisco, for instance, but also down to an average of $40,000–$45,000 for graduates in cities like Omaha. It also varies by industry, company type, company size, cost of living, and several other factors.

    For graduates who work as freelancers, contractors, or interns, the average hourly rate is $35–$50. 

  • Does Designation guarantee a job after the program?

    A graduate’s employment is based on a large number of factors both external (the health of job market in their city of choice, entry- and low-level design jobs available) and internal (how quickly they can finish their portfolio after graduation, their drive to get a job quickly, how engaged they become in their local design community, their willingness to network and research to find openings). All of those factors contribute to a designer’s ability to get a job that will be fulfilling and challenging. But they also mean every graduate’s job search is a fundamentally unique experience, and one that must be undertaken by the graduate themselves.

    We can, however, guarantee that we give every designer in the program what they need—skills, tools, experiences, portfolio-quality projects, and a drive to continue learning—to be truly competitive in the design industry. It’s up to the graduate to use it all.

  • How long does it take to get a job after the program ends?

    We’ve found the average length of time is about three months. That means some graduates will get a job quickly—even in the final weeks of the program—and others will take more than three months. 

Take the leap

Join an upcoming cohort and make the best change of your career.