From our Depsters July 22, 2019
Being an Intern at Dept in Dublin
Studying Creative Digital Media in college gives you a lot of exposure to different areas of expertise. But after 3 years I was still unsure which area to specialise in. I enjoyed everything, from filmmaking and web development. But the design and the creation of websites always interested me and I thought that maybe my career path was in UX and UI design. Luckily, as part of my studies I got a chance to be an intern and learn more about these areas in Dept, Dublin.
First office job
In my 3rd year of college, we were required to find a 3 month internship. I wanted to apply to a company that would aid me in learning more about UX and UI design. My lecturer suggested applying for Dept but as an oblivious college student, I didn’t know anything about them. I soon discovered Dept is an agency that “unites creativity, technology and data”. I saw this as a great opportunity and applied immediately.
I got a chance to attend an interview in Dept’s Dublin office. Mairead Hession, Head of Project Management, and Annika Rahman, Senior Designer, talked about the importance of design and process and how they use this in their own projects. They also offered different options of what I could learn and gave me a chance to explore many things other than UX and UI design as part of my internship. I was very intrigued and came out excited and hopeful that I could work for them. I wasn’t sure if I did a good job in the interview… but here I am writing this blog.
Being an intern
Have you ever seen those TV shows or movies where the intern buys coffee for their co-workers and runs around doing errands for everyone? Well, I thought it was going to be like that. However, I discovered that what happens in TV shows and movies only happens in TV shows and movies. Not all internships are like that. An internship should be an extension of your learning outside college.
When I first started, I was given tutorials for the software Sketch and research to do about our clients. Sometimes it was hard going, but it was essential for me to do those things in order to learn and progress. I was then given the opportunity to work on projects that related to what I had learned so far. This meant that I got to be involved in many projects, and discover different types of processes and learning outcomes along the way.
People in the office
Being an intern in an unfamiliar environment may seem overwhelming and intimidating. You don’t know how you should act and how to approach different situations. It’s not college where you and your peers are on equal ground and the educators are a form of authority. As an intern, you feel that all of your co-workers are your managers, but I soon realized that even your managers are humans too. They want to communicate and get to know you. You talk to one of your co-workers like one of your friends but then you find that they are one of the Senior Management Team. I started to question, “How did I come to a place like this?”. I feel very fortunate to have helpful and fun people around me.
When you are staring at your computer screen for hours and hours on end, sometimes you need a quick break. A lot of people take a walk in the park or read books during lunch time so that you’re not staring at the computer screen all day. As for myself, I like to keep my creative juices flowing. I like to dabble with origami during lunch time as it gives me a break from the computer screen, but at the same time it keeps me focused and does not affect my work flow. Luckily enough, my coworkers enjoy the craft. It motivates me to create more!
What I learned
Using the processes that I learned gave me a framework and it made things easier. It also answered questions that weren’t answered when I was in college. Applying the process to clients’ projects and delivering those projects, made it clearer why certain things were being done.
After expanding my knowledge in UX and UI design, I was offered the chance to learn more about front-end web development, After Effects animation and using different content management systems. These skills would be beneficial to my current and future college projects. Operations Director, Marianne Herbert, had said in my first week “Ask as many questions while you are here. Take advantage of what you have and we will help you every step of the way.” I took this advice and used it to my benefit in order to hone my skills for college work and hopefully in my future employment.
I didn’t just learn pure technical skills during my 3 month stay, I also learned interpersonal skills. I learned how to work in a team with multiple different people expertise and how they work together to serve the same goal. I also learned about a good work ethic. Co-workers will come in extra early to start on a project and stay very late to finish one. Out of all that, I also found confidence within myself. Dept didn’t treat me as an intern but as part of the team. They made the transition from being a college student to working in an office seamless. They made it easier for me to adjust and feel at home.
I think Dept Agency is the perfect place to be an intern. There are many different ways to learn to improve yourself especially with the support of the people around you. It may seem like I’m a suck-up, but I have learned more in the past 3 months than I’ve learned in a year in college alone. If you are having second thoughts of doing an internship, do reconsider. But if you think otherwise… well, what do I know? I’m only an intern.