11 Online Courses & Alternatives To A Design Degree

While a degree may be useful to learn design, only practice can make you great a designer. With the recent explosion in online learning, you can learn everything a designer needs to know online, and with less time and money invested. Perhaps, with the curriculum below you can become the next Jony Ive.

Creative & Design Focused Courses

Foundations via Coursera

While you don’t have to go to college to become a designer, taking a few Massive Open College Courses (MOOCs) can help you establish a strong design foundation. Free.


Hack Design

Hack Design is a free resource that is curated by over 40 different respected designers. It contains 30 lessons (with more to come) with articles, videos, and tutorials that you can consume at your own pace.



What set’s creativeLIVE apart from the competition is that it’s tutorials are live. Anyone watch the can live workshops for free, but viewing after the event has passed requires a purchase. Downloads start at $ 49/class.



Skillfeed is a video tutorial site with  a diverse assortment of 1,000+ tutorials from niche experts on various creative skills and techniques. $ 19/month w/ 7-day free trial.


Web & App Design

Aquent Gymnasium

Aquent Gymnasium is the MOOC equivalent for front-end web development. Courses are in real-time and vary month-to-month. Free.



Treehouse is an expansive web development language learning library but also includes design and business considerations. It includes interactive exercises, gamification/badges, community forums, and a job board. $ 25-49/month.


Code School: Fundamentals of Design

Code School is similar to Treehouse but with an extra focus the coding. However, they have one especially good design course and its free! Other courses available for $ 25/month.



Learnable has operates under a similar model to Code School and Treehouse. However, in addition to video tutorials it also has a library of PDF books from its parent-company Sitepoint (a very reputable source for web development learning), and students can download 2 course/books per month. $ 29/month.


Design Boost

DESIGNboost is a small library that focuses only on app development. The content is delivered in separate learning kits for various aspects of app development. $ 49-99/kit or $ 249 for the whole bundle.


The Catch-All

Tuts+ premium

Tuts+ is a large learning library that bridges creative and technical design and contains a mix of video and text tutorials. While it is available for a monthly subscription, the Tuts+ blog network has a lot of free learning material. $ 19/month.



And who can forget the matronly lynda.com. lynda is the oldest and biggest library in the bunch and with over 2,000 video courses, which covers every programming and design consideration under the sun. $ 25-37.50/month.


Don’t Forget Your Portfolio

While you can hack together a decent education in both the creative and coding aspects design, you are worthless as a designer from employment perspective unless you have a portfolio. Behance, Dribble, and Coroflot are all great site for you to not only aggregate your experience, but also serve to monetize or find you employment. Best of luck hacking design!

Brad Zomick works at SkilledUp.com, a leading curator of online educational content, including over 90,000 online courses from over 300 providers available in areas like Programming, Graphic Design, Content Creation, Marketing and more. Find the best online courses at SkilledUp.com to get skills and get ahead, and visit them on Facebook and Twitter.

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