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My year in UX Design
Eilis describes her first year as a UX Designer in Kainos
02 August 2016 | Posted by Eilis van der Merwe

When I started to write this post about my year as a UX Designer within Kainos, my first initial thought was “how do I write this post without it being completely cheesy and cliché?”. The worry to be over the top lasted all of 5 minutes. So prepare for the cheese.

When searching for a placement year employer, I had two main things in mind.

  1. An amazing company that would help to develop my skills
  2. In a suitable location.

Yes, I wanted to increase my skills to help me in final year and start growing my career, but I also aimed to try and develop myself as a person. I wanted to move away from home as a 45-minute train ride to university just didn’t count. I wanted to use my placement year as a completely new and exciting chapter of my life. Which, as it turns out, it was!

My year – an overview

I started my year in Swansea, helping out with the graphics for Kainos’s AppCamp course. Here, I expanded my skills in Photoshop and iOS app design. I then came to Belfast where I continued working on AppCamp remotely, and then started the 8-week MAP training programme offered to all new-starts. Once this was completed I moved to London. I then eventually started to travel between London and Bristol, working on a customer site, learning and focusing on the User Journey, Content Design and drawing up wireframes and solutions for the service. Bristol then changed to another project in Nottingham, where I worked closely with the client to produce visual artefacts, helping me to develop new skills in Illustrator.

Eventually, I moved to Nottingham full time. Having never been to any of these places before and being completely on my own, this was definitely a shock to my system which I absolutely loved. Moving away from home added another layer of independence which helped me to grow in confidence and also allowed me to meet and work with more people within Kainos and the User Research and Design team.

Working as a team

The User Research and Design team are definitely a major factor in why my year here has been amazing. They have been extremely supportive, and within their specialist fields, they have all contributed to my development and have made my year here truly meaningful. I feel that my main learning came from being around my Design team through discussions with them, observing how they work, think and solve problems.

I was given numerous opportunities within Kainos and I felt like I was always encouraged to try new things and expand in different areas. I was continuously pushed, which was scary at first, however those small moments really allowed my confidence to grow. I felt that all those I came in to contact with always tried their best to accommodate me in any way they could, and they were always interested in finding out which areas I wanted to move and grow into.

In terms of the work I was involved in, I was provided with new and exciting projects, this then allowed me to get to know a large number of people within Kainos from all areas of the business. Various training courses were provided within the team, such as Content Design and Analytics training. I was also given the opportunity to attend a Data Visualisation master class within the Guardian Newspaper.

Everyone’s opinion matters

One of the main things I noticed and loved about working in Kainos for the past year was that we weren’t treated as placement students. When within the team or in social aspects of the company, everyone was equal, everyone’s opinion mattered and was valued. I definitely feel that the people within Kainos are what make the company so great, being around such intelligent, enthusiastic and passionate people.  The support I felt within this company was amazing and I am extremely excited to see where it will take me in the years to come.

Want to know more about careers in UX at Kainos? Whether it’s trainee or lead, we have vacancies across the UK at all levels.
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1 comment
May 30, 2017
Brian Gannon

Great blog, Eilis!

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