Apprentice in User Experience

We turn promising early-career web professionals into user experience experts.

Our apprentices aspire to be leaders in the field by building beautiful, engaging products. All apprentices are taught UX fundamentals and given a chance to specialize in one of three areas: UI design, front-end development, or strategy.

A photo of the Fresh Tilled Soil office

Who's qualified for AUX?

You have some background in design or development, with around a year of professional experience working with the modern web.

You want to move your career forward, but you’ve been having trouble figuring out what to do next. You want to work on problems that matter, but you’ve had trouble finding a place that will let you scratch that itch.

What will we teach you?

We believe user experience is an inherently multi-disciplinary practice. We look for apprentices with a strong core as a visual designer or front-end developer, and then we teach you the broader skills required of a UX pro.

These include:

  • User research & interviewing
  • Prototyping & usability testing
  • Personas, experience mapping & behavioral design

We also teach deeper skills in 3 specific areas: UI design, front-end development and strategy.

Our approach emphasizes structured learning through the completion of skill challenges, one-on-one mentorship, and real-world project work with our teams and our clients.

Who have we taught?

Photo of Mel Choyce

Mel Choyce

Design Engineer at Automattic

“AUX was a game changer for me. I had reached a point in my career where I felt stuck. I was struggling to move forward without any sort of guidance or mentorship. AUX gave me a chance to work closely with design masters and overcome that hump. I'd recommend AUX to any junior designers looking to advance their careers.”

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Dano Qualls

Information Architect at Fidelity Investments

“To help me transition from a jack-of-all trades at a startup into a UX design specialist I attended a two-month bootcamp, got a master's degree in human factors, and went through the AUX program. Of the three, the AUX program had the best breadth and depth of practical strategy, design, and development skills in combination with complex projects and mentoring that helped me build a strong portfolio and find a great job.”

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Xin Xin

Interaction Designer at IDEO

“At Fresh Tilled Soil's AUX program, I built my portfolio with client projects and had the guidance of amazing mentors. Even though I refused another design offer that paid well, it was worth it.”

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Laura Lozano

Lead Visual Designer at Sprout Social

“The AUX program was an excellent way to for me to get the experience needed to kickstart my career as a web designer. I had the opportunity to not only work one-on-one with a mentor and other aspiring designers but also sink my teeth into real client work.”

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Mat Budelman

Product Designer at EverTrue

“The AUX program at Fresh Tilled Soil helped me focus on what's important in digital product design. I could have gone out in the world for a few years and made a bunch of mistakes and learned the hard way, but instead I got all that knowledge in a few months. If you want to learn how to build great products from the best in the biz, apply now.”

The details.


We run our program twice a year. The application period is open for 1 week and will be announced on Twitter, through our partner organizations, and by email to anyone who has filled out our information request form.

For your application, we require you to send us a link to a case study on any one project you’ve worked on. If you have existing case studies just link us to the one you think best represents your skills. If you don’t have one, we expect it to be created for your application. This is the reason the period is open for two weeks: that’s plenty of time to write and design/code a page for your site describing a project.

For the content of the case study, we’re looking for something that demonstrates your thinking and the process by which you go about solving problems. There is no length or detail requirement. You can describe a huge multi-month team project, or a single problem you were able to solve. We just need to see an explanation of how you work so we have something beyond your portfolio to judge your abilities with.


Qualified candidates are invited to attend bootcamp. You’ll get an in-person Saturday workshop on design thinking and how to run a product design sprint, and you’ll be given your bootcamp challenge: prototype a single-purpose application on your own time during the following week.

Everyone will meet again the following Saturday to present their work (you can join this second session remotely if you’re not based in the area). Based on your presentation we’ll invite 4-5 applicants to the program. You’ll get 4 weeks between your invite and the beginning of the program to settle any schedule conflicts.


The program runs for 15 weeks, in person at our office in Watertown, MA. It is a full-time program, running for 40 hours a week during normal business hours, from Monday to Friday.

During your first week you’ll be paired with a mentor to help guide you. For the first 9 weeks apprentices participate in lectures and an intense set of challenges meant to develop new skills. You’ll spend the final 6 weeks working directly on client projects with our team to cultivate valuable real-world experience. During this time we also teach interviewing and negotiation skills, help you with your portfolio, and make introductions to companies looking for UX talent.


You’ll be paid $500 per week to help cover your expenses while you participate. You’ll also get 2–3 paid holidays depending on the session, and 3 paid personal days.

You will be a full-time W2 employee for the duration of the session. This means it’s just like any other job. We cover our share of the payroll taxes so you’ll get more take-home pay in your pocket.

We are unable to extend healthcare or 401k benefits to apprentices.

International Applicants

At the moment, our ability to deal with international applicants isn't as good as we'd like. We are unable to sponsor visas, and we require applicants to be present for the first Bootcamp session (though they can present by Skype for the second session if they wish).

Our goal is to improve this process so we can accept international applicants. If you have any info that you think would be helpful to us please don't hesitate to send us an email.

Have questions?

Feel free to email us, and we can answer any questions you’ve got about the program.

Heard enough?

We’re always looking for our next apprentice. Fill out the form below and we'll email you when we start accepting applications for the next session.