Once Upon A Time
It’s been 2 years since I began my UX journey, though there were lots of enablers and pointers to it which began long ago. I could always draw, Illustrate and tell stories since I can remember, but the desire to design in my earliest memory would be when I looked at the way companies communicated their products through billboards and thought ‘This could be way better’. It took me to learn Corel Draw and Adobe Photoshop by myself while I was an Engineering Undergrad and then my first Internship as a Designer.
My UX Internship came about because I really wanted to work hands on after undertaking a Design Masters programme, and in a design agency in the UK, I needed the experience. Previously, I had been learning all I could, wanting to ‘find myself’ both online and offline, through workshops and seminars. I had tried to apply my learned skills and my talents by freelancing and consulting on UX matters. This taught me alot of valuable lessons and also taught me that freelancing wasn’t the best approach for my level of experience hence the need to get under the guidance of middle to senior UXers. Another factor has been the lack of Junior UX roles in the market.
Getting Into It
I got my Internship through Twitter. I searched and saw an opportunity in London, so I sent my CV and went for an interview later on. I was really happy about this particularly, because it wasn’t just any digital agency. Salterbaxter has a focus on Sustainability and Corporate Reporting. Sustainability, I am all for,( and have tried to start up an initiative along that line). Corporate Reporting, I had no clue. It also didn’t hurt that the it was a nicely paid internship.
My main goals for this Internship was to have, at the end of the contract, more confidence in my work and better communication with people. I wanted to be exposed to different kinds of tools and processes while adding value to the company.
On my first day, I got to eat at a Thai restaurant, it was very enjoyable, never had any Thai food before so this was a really good first. Through out my time, people were always leaving nice and yummy treats on the kitchen table. It created a sense of ‘one for all, all for one’ amongst other things.
Before I got on the job, I prayed that even if I was only going to be getting bagels and coffee for people, I’d be able to present/learn good User Experience through it. Luckily, even while I had to do tea sometimes, 99% of the time I was on actual work. I was teamed up with the Digital Team, which had two developers, a Lead UX (who doubled as my mentor) and Head of Digital. I got to work with FTSE 100 clients and learn on the job. One of my first assignments was to research for a Social Media seminar focused on corporate communications we were going to hold for some clients. I also got to put together some parts of the presentation.
I got to learn much more about sustainability and the parts companies play, can play in the wider scheme of things. Attended events like the RSA seminar and a whole day event to launch SB’s CR initiative. I really liked the Beer O’Clock sessions which tried to promote knowledge share within the company. Different teams would get to talk about their work or any interesting topic on a Friday evening over drinks. Knowledge share is really important to me.
The End Of The Matter
Overall, It really did feel like I was a part of the team. Most of my goals were accomplished (even got to do a photo-shoot!) and I have to say, it really saddened me to leave because I could only see the potentials for the company and wanted to be a part of it. I’m going to miss SB.
I’m glad at this point, I can say it was a really valuable experience, I’ve got so much to put in my portfolio, I’ve got to understand people better, some of my ideas are in use. I am more confident as a UXer and I’m able to continue my personal projects in a new light. Good times! I would most likely give more in depth insights about this and in addition to my UX journey later on. Now, I look positively towards the future.