December 15, 2017
The end of the year is the perfect time for summaries. We are particularly proud that we managed to pilot a new internship program in NoA Ignite’ Krakow office.
This summer we put four young, aspiring professionals into a real-life project for a client. One visual designer, a user experience designer, a frontend developer, and a backend developer formed one team and were guided through the process of re-imagining an under-performing app and creating a working prototype to pitch to the client.
All this happened in two months, while they took part in various workshops and worked side by side with knowledgeable and caring mentors to develop their vision and turn it into a viable reality.
Here is how they summarized their internship afterwards:
The internship at NoA Ignite was an amazing experience for me. I had the privilege to not only improve my skills in my main area of backend development, but also develop my English and soft skills, while working with an awesome interdisciplinary team. I had the possibility to create a real-life project from scratch, and write code that was checked by an experienced developer. My mentor was always willing to help if I had any problems. The atmosphere in the office was incredible – with free breakfast every day and supportive teammates.
I’d recommend the internship in NoA Ignite to anybody who wants to develop themselves through an amazing adventure.
When the internship was about to begin I knew very little about NoA Ignite or the challenges of the next two months.
The first surprise was joining an interdisciplinary team composed of girls only. The IT field is largely dominated by men, so I was very excited to get a chance to work alongside three intelligent, growth-seeking women, pursuing different professions. As a front-end developer, I work closely with designers as well as back-end developers, so my goal was to create a strong relationship and learn to communicate more efficiently. First week workshops gave us space to get to know each other, and discussed personal strengths and communication skills, while being guided by mentors. This experience was an important stepping stone for future collaboration.
Our task was to re-imagine and begin prototyping a fitness app originally intended for trainers. While I was initially worried about contacting and meeting our respondents, they were very helpful and happy to talk with us. Watching the designs grow, my excitement had to meet the reality. There I was, trying to figure out how many of our ideas could be implemented in such a short time. I had to learn that part of a developer’s job is to break the bad news, getting used to telling my colleagues “this won’t work” or “we don’t have enough time”. There were days when I felt that my limited skills might disappoint the team. On those days my mentor’s support was invaluable. She taught me to not take it personally, learn as much as I can on the subject in my given time, and be realistic with what I can do. Her engagement and patience guided me through those challenging moments.
I learned what I’m looking for in my dream company and will not settle for less.
During the summer internship at NoA Ignite, our task was to find a solution to the problems facing a client’s existing product.
As a User Experience designer, I was really pleased that all design decisions were preceded by user research. We performed contextual inquiries with the potential target group of fitness trainers and sport coaches, which gave us many valuable insights, helping us to discover user needs and expectations. It was a great opportunity for me to practice UX research methods and improve my skills.
The result from the design phase was a clickable prototype that we evaluated by testing it with users. All our training was practical and lead to the creation of a tangible, valuable solution.
Every team member was involved in the project from the beginning and had a real influence on the product strategy and development. Comparing totally different perspectives was extremely valuable and important for the results of our work.
Before my internship, I attended several lectures given by NoA Ignite representatives during World Usability Days and was very impressed by the speakers. I looked forward to coming to NoA Ignite to learn as much as possible, expanding my skills and developing my ability to design for digital products.
The two months of this internship were a real adventure for me, quickly becoming part of a team, attending workshops, and collaborating towards our final project. I especially appreciated the different training sessions about soft competencies – collaboration using the calm rhythm of Scrum, how to conduct meetings or prepare presentations, as well as methods for dividing tasks and organizing team time. These issues are often under-acknowledged but are commonly crucial for the success of projects.
The finale of our internship was a trip to Oslo. Despite many duties, we managed to see Edvard Munch’s “Scream” in the National Gallery – an appropriate warm-up before the presentation! I was very happily surprised by how much our project appealed to the client, who considered it useful and inspiring. Because the focus of the internship was a real problem, we were able to learn quite a lot.
Working with people who can use the business potential of design is a great opportunity to gain key skills for beginners and learn how to cooperate with other specialists. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to work in such an inspiring company and I hope that NoA Ignite will organize further internships in the coming years.
We promise to continue this program and host many other young people, share our knowledge and experience with them and guide them into the world of design, technology, internet and customer experience.
Check praca.makingwaves.com regularly for updates.