A designer's analysis of the Google UX Design Certificate

A designer's analysis of the Google UX Design Certificate


Namra Naser Pasha

a year ago | 4 min read

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) designs are the foundation of
every digital and physical product or service. It plays a very powerful role in
attracting users and putting them to ease with a product or service. The Google
UX Design Professional Certificate is one of the ‘Grow with Google’ online
career certificates. It makes a very bold promise to prepare beginners for an
entry-level UX design role for a very miniscule cost. I just recently completed
my long and overwhelming certification journey. While I may have mixed feelings
about it, I found the certification to be enjoyable and productive and am
excited to share my thoughts and experience with you.

This article is for you if:
1. You are already a UI UX Design who wants to polish their skills
2. People recommend Coursera all the time and you want to know if it’s right
for you
3. You want to know if the Google UX Design Certificate is worth it
4. You’re considering changing your job/field based on this Specialization

Who is it for and how does it work?
This certificate is offered on Coursera and is intended to teach beginners with
no relevant experience or qualification who are willing to learn remotely and
independently. It is composed of 7 courses, each of which is divided into weeks
and contains videos, assignments, readings, projects, testimonials from Google
employees, peer feedback, discussion forums, quizzes, and additional resources.
Once the following courses are completed, you can get the specialization

1. Foundations of User Experience (UX) Design

2. Start the UX design Process: Empathize, Define, and Ideate

3. Build Wireframes and Low-Fidelity Prototypes

4. Conduct UX Research and Test Early Concepts

5. Create High-Fidelity Designs and Prototypes in Figma

6. Responsive Web Design in Adobe XD

7. Design for Social Good and Prepare for Jobs

How long does it take?
Fortunately, students can learn at their own pace through all 7 courses, which
also consequently determines the cost of the monthly subscription. According to
Google, spending up to 10 hours per week should be adequate for you to complete
it within 6 months. Personally, I have earned the certificate in around 3–4
months. The cost is fairly low as compared to other UX bootcamps while
delivering high quality content for a self-guided approach. In all
transparency, it was not easy to complete the entire specialization in this
short period of time. I was studying in lunch breaks of a full-time job, after
office hours, as well as weekends. Nonetheless, I believe that it gets very
heavy to digest the materials and resonate with the project you are working on if
you keep the learning speed very fast. Furthermore, you can also take the
course on any kind of device; PC, tablet, or mobile phone for most of the
content. The curriculum is suitable for all, with or without design experience.
The courses teach students to design in a user centric approach while
considering accessibility, which is uncommon.

As well curated as it is, there are also some very hefty downsides to the
certification. First, it does not include any one-on-one mentorship or
guidance. Secondly, User Experience (UX) is derived from research. Asking
questions, conducting primary as well as secondary research based on potential
users is the foundation of any UI UX project. Yet, none of the Google
instructors teach us to recruit users. If you are joining it with the
expectation of getting an entry-level job right away, it is not worth it.
Nowadays we have unlimited and unprecedented access to information, for almost
anything we want to learn. This course is nothing different. The only reason to
pay for the same information and be bound to finish 200+ hours is to have the
Google name on your resume. Since the number of students’ ratings drops
dramatically in later courses, relatively few students could complete all the
assignments and obtain the certificate. Moreover, in my opinion, the first 5
courses are very interesting. The 6th one is just repetition and 7th is too
complex and sped up. It’s frustrating to do so much all at once, especially
when it’s not even being reviewed by an expert. Peer reviewed assignments are
of absolutely no use since some students either resubmit the sample course
assignment or steal someone else’s work or unfairly mark you without any useful
feedback. That unfair 100% given to fellow students on each assignment is not a
blessing but a curse, because a huge majority obtains the certificate with
minimal possible effort, while others worked hard for months to achieve the
same. Sad to say, the Google UX Certificate does not indicate a person’s
quality as a UX designer.

I majored in Product Design in my bachelors and work as an entry level UI UX
Designer in a full-time job. I was attracted to this course with the
expectation of learning something out of the book by Google. However, the
program didn’t really teach me anything that I didn’t already know prior to
taking it, except for very few research techniques. The way Google does UX
Design is not always applicable in all companies or projects. It is highly
relevant for them and their projects. The 4 months of learning with Google made
me realize the importance of an expert to review your work. Self-learning can
be done for free. It’s the personal feedback that needs to be paid for. Despite
the drawbacks stated above, I still find the Google UX Design Certification to
be useful if you are simply looking to learn a new skill. However, I do not
think this course will help land a great job in a fresh career, because the
certificate alone is not enough. Instead, a stronger portfolio will help you
land a reputable job much faster. If you already have a degree or experience in
design, you might know most of the topics in the courses. Hence, my advice
would be to enroll only in those courses with themes that you are not familiar

I hope this article helps you decide about
starting or continuing this specialization! You can also find other articles
written by me 


Created by

Namra Naser Pasha







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