The Nielsen Norman UX Certification: my mid-career-checkpoint

My personal thoughts on a UX career-level-up strategy

Super Mario Bros Cartridge with an super imposed NN/g Certification sticker
[photoshopped] Super Mario Bros Cartridge with an added NN/g Certification 😊
ScreenShot of Super Mario Bro’s Flag
The end of every level in Super Mario Bro’s has a flag which provided extra points when crossed

How to choose my ⚐

Never would I ever compare points earned to salary when referencing my career development. Money comes and goes, and shouldn’t be a straight indicator of success; that’s why thinking on a cash bonus (although it would be nice 😉 ) wouldn’t count as a career checkpoint. The points metaphor needs to be cumulative, progressive and enriching. Knowledge, on the other hand, fits that description. My checkpoint flag needs to come in the form of an impactful source of knowledge!

  1. Credibility: the institution providing me the knowledge has to be distinguishable and widely recognized so that not only I know I received a top-quality education, but peers can acknowledge it as well.
  2. Specialty: User Experience is a humongous topic; from that big pie; I’d like to have a great slice.
  3. Location & housing: can it be from home? or should I travel? If the later, it should be in an interesting city where some cheap (or free) accommodation could sweeten up the deal.

Nielsen Norman UX Certification

2 months, a huge list of courses, many free trails, emails, reviews, and phone calls later…

Picture of the cover of The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
Picture of the cover of The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
The Design of Everyday Things is considered a powerful primer on how-and why-some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them
  1. Credibility: ✅ besides NN/g being recognized with the highest standards, their courses offer a certification of completion that can only be granted if the attendee passes an arduous academic test after course completion.
  2. Specialty: ✅ one of the certifications offered by NN/g is on Interaction Design Specialty: my favorite topic on the User Experience spectrum.
  3. Location & housing: ✅ I’ve always wanted to visit the lovely city of London 🇬🇧 and since one of my best childhood friends recently moved there … I can sleep on his couch for free!

User Experience Engineer > ricardogerstl.com