Internships - The Design Career Springboard

Internships – The Design Career Springboard

So you’ve successfully attained an internship at a Product Design Consultancy and are completely in the dark about what to expect. When it comes to internships, think of it as a year-long interview with a steep learning curve, lessons learnt here become the foundations of your design career. Remember, this relationship is reciprocal, each helping the other in the pursuit of growth. Here’s how an internship at a Product Design consultancy can help both employer and employee.


The ‘year-long interview’… 


Don’t be intimidated or feel you don’t belong, after all, you’ve been hired for a number of reasons. Mentors want to help you as much as you want to help them, they’ll take you under their wing as they show you the ropes of the business and your place within it. From here it is important to keep an eye on the end goal and maintain your work ethic throughout the placement, this just may well score you a job after university.

The ‘year-long interview’ can be split into two parts. Your first job is to soak up as much information, knowledge and skills as possible. Your second job is all about application. Learning how to put everything you’ve learnt into practice, and do so across a variety of live projects. This is the key to continually growing as a designer.


The Foundations of your Career


Gone are the days of designing a product solely for your portfolio, you’re now an integral part of a team. Working on live projects for real clients, it’s the real deal.

You’ll be juggling multiple projects at different design stages, ranging from concept generation right through to manufacture. Working on a variety of projects across many sectors may be overwhelming at first but stick with it, you will soon get to grips with the pressure.

It may sound scary, but this experience is invaluable and will aid you immensely in you final year of University and in the years to follow. It will act as a springboard for your design career, having worked in a high pressure environment under real world conditions all before you’ve graduated is a huge plus for employers, and will help you stand out from the crowd.

Interning at a Product Design Consultancy may also give you the chance to design your own product under the company’s umbrella. This is a daunting responsibly, you get to take the reins personally and lead this internal project. Now is your time to shine and show your full potential, think of this as a test run for your University Major Project, a chance to implement your design and time management skills.

What is Your Value To The Company?


By the time your internship comes to a close your mentors will have invested a lot of time in you, honing your skills and moulding you to fit within their ranks. So working hard and efficiently during your stay makes you a very appealing candidate to hire, you understand how the company functions, as well as now holding the skills relevant to carry out the type of work the consultancy brings in. This makes you valuable as a legitimate designer, and it is this investment and pay off scheme that benefits both you and your employer.

To summarise, having the right people around you during the infancy of your design career can foster rapid development and build a sturdy foundation of design knowledge and skills. The benefits of this experience will set you up for what the industry has to throw at you in the future. Even if you don’t manage to land a job at the company you interned for after graduation, you will still have gained invaluable experience and made friends and connections in the process.