One of the most challenging things when starting as an intern, grad or junior designer is feeling like you aren’t good enough. This notion brings out a sense of urgency, indecisiveness, comparison to others and a drive to over-exert yourself. The concept of ‘imposter syndrome is commonly raised and is entirely normal (around 65% of professionals are experiencing it).
When deciding what to do in high school you get thrown into seminar after seminar of uni students promoting their courses and universities, or you get lost in the labyrinth of university websites and hyperlinks to handbooks, or youtube clips and it’s really hard to figure out what is actually going on.
As a founder, you need to be a jack of all trades, each day wearing a different hat. But although being a generalist is essential in the early days of a new company, it certainly does help to have ‘T shaped’ expertise, where you specialise in one area above all others. By the nature of your education or experience, this area of expertise will undoubtedly inform not only the output of your company, but the decision making and processes that led you there.
It can be difficult to even understand what kind of company you want to work for, or what kind of career path you want to lead to start with. Some might know instantly but for me it was definitely something I learnt over time — and still am. What has worked best for me so far is experiencing work at different kinds of companies — from structure to size to what they do. Overtime I started to create a list of things I liked and didn’t and I knew what to look out for. The interview is a great time to ask questions to help you figure out if you would enjoy the work and culture at that companies.
The “making things look cool” often comes natural to me, having a designers eye — taking in the colours, textures and fonts of the world and media, helps me work my visual magic on a very functional content brief.
The technical aspect to my job is something that doesn’t come so natural to me. As a digital designer, I must confess — I don’t know how to code, I don’t know how to animate in after effects, and making Figma component libraries is one of my top ten least favourite things to do.
We had two Design Computing students talk about why they chose this degree and how they’ve been finding it. They also left some advice for other students, that can be applicable to those from any background!
[Swaetha]: It’s quite hard finding a Product Design Intern / UX Design Intern during university that is part-time, or during the middle of the year as most of the time it’s done between Nov — Jan. After getting ignored 😖 seen zoned 😥 ghosted 👻 by about 30 different companies, only 2 got back to me, only 1 actually interviewed me and I currently am a Product Design Intern @ Lyka woohoo🎉!! This is how I did it.
[Taryn]: There are a few places where you can find designations/hackathons/case competitions to compete. The first and arguably most well known is through your university societies i.e. SUEDE, DigiSoc etc. Others can include larger organisations or bootcamps such as Adobe Creative Jam, General Assembly, IxDA. If you’re feeling extra ambitious you could even have a go applying for international university designathons which are open internationally and work with diverse individuals and apply these soft skills in a new way.
When we did Industrial Design, we did a little bit of coding with HTML, and at that time, Interaction Design was a really new area. It was more about “Do you want to be a Creative Technologist?” ‒ we wouldn’t use that term now since the field has matured so much. Things were much more experimental in that era, because of the field being so much newer.
Pat Hwang is a Design Computing alumni working as a UX Designer at Google. Previously he worked at Atlassian and Deloitte Digital. Pat is passionate about design education and mentoring, having tutored for Bachelor of Design Computing and Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts. We, Rebecca Zhang and Shrawani Bhattarai, sat down with him to talk about his life as a designer and his journey from being a design computing student to working at Google.
From websites and mobile apps to the internet of things and virtual reality, you will be at the leading edge of today's user experience (UX) design world when you study with us.
By taking the Bachelor of Design Computing, you will learn how to create human-centred products and services. You will gain a toolbox of skills in visual design, digital media production, coding, prototyping and UX design.
You collect… what?
I’ve been collecting old, obsolete Apple computers since 2013.
Why? A question I’m asked every time I bring it up.
Short answer; I couldn’t tell you. But the longer answer might be slightly interesting, maybe. No promises.
Having a flashy degree is important in getting into the FAANG companies as a software developer or UI/UX designer. However, to successfully become a contract worker, freelancer, or being hired by a startup you would need a fleshed-out portfolio with many useful projects in your arsenal. Having projects that you have completed in the past not only shows you are competent in what you are doing but it also shows employers your progress that you are always constantly learning.
The most common first project would be a portfolio website.
As you know, you’re in a room full of like-minded young people who have very similar interests to you. That doesn’t happen again. So it’s an excellent opportunity to start doing stuff now. And that sense of urgency, I don’t know why I had it at University, but I was desperate to start working on things as a professional.
I think many students are very capable of doing that right now.
If you have your passion, but you’re not quite sure where to direct it just yet, then let me propose to you an approach that will let you test-run the applied work of any design career path, provide the basis for some of your own discoveries, and help you explore the question of what design field your heart really desires?
This is the student entrepreneurial option.