I loved the atmosphere and the company values at Redgate, the benefits were great (free breakfast, lunch, coffee, team trips etc). The area of work is the only thing that lowers my rating of Redgate, the problem solving part is interesting but as an industrial designer it wasn't the most exciting area of design for me.
I felt valued in my team and received comments on my positive contributions to the team, the developers were also keen to get my opinion on design issues. My opinion in the design group was potentially less valued but that is as expected since I was working with experienced UX/product designers.
My manager sat next to me through my whole internship and was very supportive through one to ones and regular catch up, as well as arranging tasks for me to complete to make sure I learnt plenty. However designers at RG are very busy and can't give as much time to working collaboratively/ supporting interns as they would like.
Through most of my internship I was balanced in my workload, I had project work to do for my team but if I faced a blocker or ran out of things to do I dedicated my time to another project I had been given with the other design intern. If I felt like I had spare time I spent it learning new software, creating case studies for my future applications and reading articles to level up my UX skills.
I was given as much responsibility as I was comfortable with- I was not making decisions beyond my set design task but I was allowed to iterate on my screen, speak to colleagues about ideas and develop them on my own. The most responsibility I was given was given was to run usability sessions with internal and external participants.
These skills will improve my design thinking and research skills, but as this is not the main deliverable on my university course it will not likely have helped me much. However beyond I think these skills will help me massively as I now plan to pursue a career in UX rather than industrial design. Also the skills I have learnt just being part of a large company will help me understand the dynamic of businesses and teams in the future.
Very relaxed and there was a general good mood around the office. I sat near the door and people often stopped for a chat or invited me to work next to them if I was working alone that day. People felt free to be themselves and I never felt any judgement.
I think the planning in theory was good, I moved teams half way through the internship as a way to give me the widest pool of learning possible. However a summer internship is always going to be plagued by holiday absence and unfortunately this affected my internship and slowed my learning at times.
They took time out to teach me domain knowledge and collaborated with to teach me design skills occasionally. A meeting with a remote designer weekly was set up to teach me design and recruitment skills in the field of UX. Mostly I was encouraged to undertake challenges which pushed me to learn. Moving teams half way through the internship to improve my learning showed the interest in my personal development over contributing to the company. As well as this on Friday afternoons it is suggested that we spend time learning new skills and working on our personal development.
Working from home
Hopefully positive, it is almost an expectation within the company to return after graduating (especially for software interns). However Redgate seem to be looking to hire more senior designers and a junior designer position may not be available for me. But they are a rapidly expanding company so returning at some point in the future is a strong possibility.
Yes, I regularly went for drinks with the other interns and a group who went to the pub every Thursday. I appreciated the commercial interns who started for the first time this year as they were more extroverted and willing to do things than the developers. Weekends were more lonely as most people went away and we didn't become good enough friends until the end of the internship.
Living in Cambridge is expensive but worth it because it is a lovely place to live. Socialising in the centre of Cambridge was more expensive but nice pubs along the river were surprisingly cheap. And if you went out with the permanent staff they inevitably would buy your drinks to make up for your 'intern salary'
The night life in Cambridge is more about drinking in nice pubs and having a good atmosphere rather than clubbing, and I never made it to a real club here, only a Wetherspoons turned club, a popular haunt for poor students.
Some interns were included in team days/evenings out and there was an opportunity to go punting on the companies budget. Apart from intern welcome/ leaving drinks and going to the pub I did feel like there weren't many activities. However we did have an intern budget which we spent on an escape room and nice meal.
Internship (1-4 Months)
13th September 2019