Tips on "breaking into" IA/ID/UxD industry for recent graduates?
30 Oct 2007 - 12:53pm
5 years ago
First time I've actually created my own message here, just wanted to preface
it by saying thanks so much to all the users who make the IxDA list as
awesome as it is (which is very awesome).
Anyway, I graduated from the School of Communication, Information and
Library Studies (SCILS) at Rutgers University in May, and have since had a
pretty difficult time finding relevant work within the industry. I went
through the Information Technology & Informatics program, which focuses on
things like HCI, good design, knowing the limitations of available tools
(learned a lot about a ton of different languages), and how society in
general comes to interact with and understand technology.
Now I've read plenty of posts all over the Intertubes, and I've got a pretty
good idea of what I'm looking for, as well as what I'm in for:
1. A junior/entry position at an agency with senior IA/ID/UxD folks. I'm not
going to learn anything about my craft if I'm not working with people who
know more than me.
2. I am prepared to make coffee, photocopy, and be a gopher, all for a
meager paycheck as long as it means I will be able to do "real" IA/ID/UxD
work in the near future (earning a little bit more money would be acceptable
3. Most importantly, I want to be part of an agency that really legitimately
cares about the design process. If this precondition isn't met, then there
is no good reason to sign up. Many of you have said that being an
evangelistic junior designer is a waste of good sanity.
All that being said, it seems like there is a lack of opportunity at the
junior/entry level in my particular field of interest. Maybe its because I'm
looking primarily in Brooklyn/Manhattan (trying to move there by next year),
maybe its because I'm looking almost exclusively at interactive agencies, or
maybe its because there is just a general lack of interest in "training" a
newbie. I don't know. I've interviewed at 2 of NY's more reputable agencies,
mostly through the help of connections, only to be told that I'm a real good
kid (personable), my (meager) portfolio (of 90% homework) is impressive as
far as understanding the tools and procedures, but that I could use a few
months of grooming in an agency setting. Now if the people I've talked with
are being honest, it seems to come down to that problem of needing
experience without anyone being willing to give me the opportunity to earn
The fact that I've been interviewed and rejected, despite not having any
legitimate agency experience leads me to believe that I: (A) Was pitied, (B)
Totally blew it on the interview, or (C) Was overwhelming in my lack of
experience. I'd like to chalk it up to (C), and if thats the case, I can't
help but wonder what the interviewers were expecting to see from me. A few
members have mentioned that they are taxed with the job of reading resumes
and interviewing applicants - is there anything in particular you look for
when you see a potential junior IA/ID/UxD? Should we all have some sort of
crucial skill on lock? Is there something that NEEDS to be in our sparsely
populated portfolio? Or is it really just about being you, having a handle
on the standard toolset, and knowing the design process? I can talk for a
pretty long time about the one, EXTREMELY simple website I freelanced over
the summer. Obtaining requirements from interviewing the owner, getting a
feel for who the primary users of the site were, wireframing to establish
design concept, etc., but again, the site is epicly simple, and I'm still
left with no agency experience.
While this post has been very me-centric, I feel like almost all of the
things the community will come up with could be extremely useful for other
recent graduates. I know some of my friends are interested in interaction
design, and I have got to assume that there will be a ton of other bachelor
degree-waving alumni rabid for work in the coming months. Any tips that the
community could offer on portfolio work, interview strategies, networking
opportunities, or just about anything else would be extremely useful not
only to me, but to the handful of hopeful job-seekers that stumble upon this
Oh, and if you'd like to take a gander at what I've got to work with, the
URL for my pseudo-resume/portfolio is http://eden.rutgers.edu/~jjbarb .
Can't wait to hear what you've all got to say!