You know how sometimes when you’re starting your new job and you take your first few steps in to the building feeling like you’re a triangle trying to fit in with a bunch of squares? My first few steps in Carter Hales Design Lab as an intern felt nothing like that. I was immediately greeted with a loud “hello” by Ross Hales and soon after, it sounded like a wild crowd cheering me on as I took a few steps toward my desk. The funny part is, this wild crowd was really only made by 5 wildly fun people.
Interning at the Carter Hales Design Lab
Carter Hales Design Lab is a Vancouver based boutique branding firm. They are a group of senior leveled designers for brands, websites, annual reports, packaging, environment and corporate communications. But what I’m doing there doesn’t have much to do with making designs myself, but mainly developing their website designs. On my first day at work, I’m pretty much in the corner of the room with a lovely charger ready for me to use. On my desk was a desktop that I could use to extend my own laptop’s screen — which I haven’t used very often. The people around me are always making me smile with their ridiculous stories, funny rants, and silly teases. But to top it all, they often praise me for my outstanding work in getting things done incredibly fast and capabilities of adding a little development twist to their designs. They pretty much made me feel at home in less than a minute and made me feel great about what › Continue reading
6folds is a web design and marketing firm located in Richmond. They are a tremendously knowledgeable group of marketers and web designers putting every ounce of their expertise into any project that comes their way. With a small group of employees and a humble office, they seem to take on bigger than life projects on a consistent basis. From web design/development, mobile application to ecommerce solutions and SEO, they’re a one-stop agency that’s got you covered all across the board.
Two weeks have gone by fairly quick at 6folds, unlike school I don’t have to worry about going home to a pile of different projects (unless you’re freelancing) rather, they are all being done throughout my shift. The transition to work wasn’t very difficult to be honest, during school I was already waking up early to workout, now I am just substituting it for my commute. I live in Vancouver and my internship is in Richmond, so the first week of commuting took some getting use to, after that it started to become routine and I eventually started to use that time to get some reading done on the train. › Continue reading
I started working at Engine Digital as a user experience intern about 3 and half weeks ago, as part of the Interactive Design program internship period, and the experience couldn’t have been more positive.
Engine is a transformation digital agency with big clients like MTV, Western Union and BC Hydro, with a focus on user centered design, something the user experience team takes care of. I think having had experience in a research and development telecommunications company in Europe before enrolling the Interactive Design program has given me an advantage in the transition from school back to work. While working, one learns the industry habits, the stress, the rush, the fast paced environment, the busy meetings and the short deadlines. Being busy and stressed is something that you don’ forget in the Interactive Design program. School is not a holiday and hard work is the norm. The program helped in developing new skills, and reinforcing the previous ones.
UX Career Choice Confirmed
At Engine the rush came very soon as I got involved in more and more projects. I had forgotten how exciting and fun work could be, and working at Engine has reminded me why I chose to become a user experience designer in the first place. Meeting with clients, being part of a team and seeing your efforts come to fruition again: the feeling of accomplishment after › Continue reading
Playerize is a rapidly growing company that specializes in monetization and high quality user acquisition for the social and mobile gaming industry. When I first arrived at the office on my first day, I introduced myself to everyone, got situated at my desk, and scrambled around trying to figure out a way to plug my laptop in without making a fool of myself. The Playerize office is in the same space as East Side Games, tucked away in a small corner with aPlayerize banner on one wall and a few lines from a Macklemore song on the other: “Make the money, don’t let the money make you, change the game don’t let the game change you.”
Playerize and East Side Games could not be more different, as far as atmosphere goes. Everyone is really friendly, but while there seems to be constant discussion going on over on the East side, the Playerize side is very quiet. Almost eerily so, at times. Nothing but the hum of workstations, the tapping of keys and the clicks of mice as the developers in the room pore over code. There’s the occasional burst of discussion, often between the graphic artist and one of the developers working on one of the publisher or public sites, but most of the developers seem to ‘plugged in’ and focused intently on their own tasks.
Playerize: Day to Day
The day starts with the morning ‘stand-up’, as the Lead Software Engineer gets the run-down on what everyone accomplished on the last day, and what they would be working on today. Everyone is in this, right up to Jeff Magnusson, the CEO (who frequently says he will be ‘CEO-ing’). Once that’s done, everyone gets back to their workstations and their work.
I spent much of my first week at Playerize re-learning how to do things I thought I already knew. The first day I was pointed at the relevant materials to set up the development environment, which I was told was a task that has taken some developers weeks to get fully functional. Getting it set up involved more Unix command line work than anything I’d done before, and a good deal of looking things up, experimentation, and frustration.
The second day, I sat down with the CEO and hammered out what project I’d be working on, and a plan to get it underway. From start to finish, my six weeks at Playerize will take me through a project involving almost everything we learned in the two years spent in the Interactive Design program, from user research, usability testing, interaction design, visual design, and the actual development and deployment of the finished product. The next days were spent creating test plans, doing research, and making notes on › Continue reading
The first two weeks of my internship with Rethink Vancouver have been great! Rethink specializes in big ideas for advertising, design and online, and handles strategy, creative and production for clients on a retainer or project basis, locally, regionally and nationally through their offices in Vancouver and Toronto.
I am so happy to work on an App and help the team figure out solutions for UX, design and functionality. I can’t wait to see what we’re going to come up with next. We have a great team so I have no doubt that it’s going to be great. During this week I even found myself spending time in the evening at home working on the App because I’m so excited about it and excited for it to go well!!
I’ve also had the opportunity to help Rethink organize and upload their assets and projects because they are getting ready for a new site launch. It’s a daunting and meticulous task, but it requires a lot of organization and attention to detail…which is right up my alley. After a day of working out details and planning the execution, I got in a great groove and successfully uploaded tons of files for clients like A&W, Alzheimer’s Society of BC, BCAA, Coast Capital, Egg Farmers of Canada, Lavalife, and more! It actually has been so awesome seeing some of the work that the staff at Rethink have created. I couldn’t believe that so many of the commercials that I’ve seen at home that make me laugh so hard have been created by people at this company.
What an amazing place! I really love what I do, and I’m excited to be a part of the Rethink team.
The first two weeks of my internship at VoltageCRM is nothing like I have imagined. VoltageCRM helps companies learn from their valuable sales data, and has built the most advanced forecasting & reporting platform to help businesses learn from their sales data without having to learn statistics first. The office is mainly occupied by Launch Academy, but has over a dozen other companies sharing the space. VoltageCRM is one of the few small companies that occupy a couple desks. So far, I love working here. There are two employers that I know of, both of them are the co-owners of voltageCRM. One of them has experience with Marketing and customer service; the other is the main developer. I have only met with the marketing specialist, Collin. He’s easy going, works hard to keep the company progressing, and he’s great to work with.
Since I was sleeping in later to get to my afternoon classes, it took a couple days to get › Continue reading
Brandspank is a “retailer specialized” design agency that works with all forms of media for independently owned retail chains, as well as regional and national franchisors. As retail branding specialists, they help any business that seeks to connect with a consumer, such as restaurants, financial institutions and salons. Interestingly enough they are located inside the international mall in downtown Vancouver, among several retail stores. I have a computer, a desk, a chair and most importantly a great team to work with. My first two weeks at Brandspank have flown by, and definitely have been fun.
Transitioning to the Workplace
Apart from the huge challenge of waking up early again, the transition into the workplace at Brandspank has been an easy one. My previous internship at Knowledge Network last summer certainly has helped. It’s definitely different than working in a classroom, but it feels just the same when it comes down to working on projects. I was immediately put to work on designing style guides. I work with a small team that I’m slowly getting to know day-by-day, along with another intern.
I find that at Brandspank I am able to contribute in all areas of projects. This includes parts of the planning and concept phase, to design and development. The pace is very comfortable for me, I’m able to work on tasks on time and efficiently. Because Brandspank has a small team, I’m slowly starting to find out where my niche in the company is. I’ve been able to play to my strengths because of this when working on team projects. It’s also nice that Brandspank is › Continue reading
Finally, we are out of the classroom and getting our first taste of real world experience in the industry. For my six-week internship through the Interactive Design program at Capilano University, I have the pleasure of working with Hangar 18. Hangar 18 is a hybrid creative firm specializing in advertising, design and interactive.
There were many reasons why I was drawn to and sought out an internship with Hangar 18. However, it was primarily Hangar’s multi-talented team, its longstanding reputation as a Vancouver-based firm, and Chris Callendar’s mad Salsa dancing skills.
Into the Wild: Week One at Hangar 18
It has been a great first week so far and I am really enjoying my co-workers. The first day I spent getting oriented with the office, setting up my workstation and learning all the tools I will be using.
I was definitely nervous to start, wondering whether my skills would be adequate to meet their needs and expectations. So far, there has been a lot to learn, but luckily, my mentor Chris is patient and very knowledgeable.
On my second day, I was put to work on a Drupal site. At first, it took some time to reorient myself with the CMS, but I was soon I was up and running. So far I have had experience with troubleshooting, browser › Continue reading
For my 6 week practicum I chose to apply to Domain7, a digital creative agency headquartered in Abbotsford, with a number of satellite locations including downtown Vancouver (where I’m now interning). My reasons for wanting to intern at Domain7 can be boiled down to the quality of their products and business strategy. They have a number of clearly defined manifestos, a well-developed approach, and they turn out high value products for their clients that receive a lot of good recognition (Their responsive redesign of Regent College’s website was recently featured on mobile design superstar Luke W’s website).
The First Two Weeks
As a front-end development intern at Domain7 the first couple of days were spent getting my work environment set up, signing up for the many different services that Domain7 utilizes in their workflow, and learning about some of the tools that I would be using on a daily basis (Git, virtual servers, Drush…) By the third day I was up to speed, so I was able to start to get my hands dirty with some real work. I’ve been assigned a number of front-end development tasks, mostly html/css/js tweaks on existing responsive projects. Admittedly, the tasks to date have been fairly simple, but the complexity will ramp up as they assess my skills. On Friday afternoon I was given the task of applying graphic mockups to dynamic wireframes for a responsive web app.
The transition from school to the practicum at Domain7 has been a smooth one. I attribute a lot of that to the experience that I gained working for a local startup since last summer, and the other freelance jobs that I have taken on throughout the school year. They helped to give me the technical and workplace skills that I will need during my practicum. I highly recommend that any first year students try › Continue reading
My first two weeks working at Clio have been awesome! From the moment I walked through the door on day one I felt welcomed by the entire team. Clio is the leading legal practice management, time & billing and client collaboration web application platform for small- to mid-sized law firms. Calendaring, time tracking, note-taking, document management, trust accounting, managing retainers, and billing are just a few of the features the web-based system provides for lawyers to run their practice more efficiently from any networked device.
The first few days have been spent understanding the design and development team role I would be filling, and also meeting each individual department and getting acclimated to the software and web development workflow. Craig Carlyle (former classmate now co-worker) is very helpful in answering my many questions as he spent the previous summer working as a summer intern at Clio.
One of my first work assignments was to develop a landing page for an upcoming event Clio would be attending. Having had group project experience throughout the Interactive Design program, collaborating with members of the team felt natural. After a couple design iterations, we completed the page and the site went live at the end of the week.
I was as excited to start my second week as I was the first. The environment at Clio is positive and I look forward to the tasks ahead.
On a side note, I have challenged Craig to a Fifa ’13 match in the “Lounge”. If I win, I will be sure to talk about it in my next Clio internship update.
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