Oluwatoyin Ige is a UT iSchooler who is enrolled in the M.S. Information Studies program where she is studying User Experience (UX) design.
Where is your internship and what do you do?
I interned with IBM Watson as their Design intern for the summer. They currently had no unified platform for their designers and developers to find assets and codes for designing and developing IBM Cognitive Solutions products and services. I helped them to design/develop a Watson Branding Guideline website.
What drew you to this internship?
I felt that IBM Watson – a new IBM Business unit under 3 years old – is the best place to start my career, to work with experts and to gain new skills. Also, not many companies out there invest in User Experience; IBM is one of them that do. Under Phil Gilbert, IBM Design grew and become one of the biggest players in User Experience (UX). They’re building something in IBM that will change the future and technology as we know it. I wanted to be part of the movement.
IBM is also a company where you can move from one business unit to another. For example, if you no longer want to be a UX Designer, they train you to work where you want, i.e., as an Offering Manager.
What have you enjoyed most about your internship?
OMG! Everything! I mean everything. I enjoyed working with the Watson Design team because they are all so helpful, smart, experienced and wonderful. I love the work culture too. For such a large company, everyone is simply happy and willing to keep bureaucracy off the table. I also got to learn and talk to other business units: Offering Management, Developers, Finance, etc.
What have you learned from your internship?
I have learned Agile UX. I believe that it’s more productive and faster than the type of UX I’ve been learning in class. I also learned beneficial tools that could make my UX processes more efficient. Working with and talking to Watson Designers, I learned what I want to do. Prior to interning with IBM, I wanted to develop and design; now I know that research is for me.
What skills, knowledge or experience did you develop in a class that you have used at this internship?
- Usability testing/user testing
- Creating wireframes/prototypes
- Contextual analysis/Data analysis
- Logical reasoning
- Information Architecture
- Outside of the classroom, I worked as a student technician with Sam Burns at the iSchool IT Suite. There, I worked with expert developers and designers, and I learned so much.
How did you find this internship position? What resources did you use?
I applied online on Indeed.com.
When did you begin searching for an internship and how long did it take to find this position?
I applied in March and got a call within 5 days of submitting my application. However, the interviews took weeks. I got my official offer for the position in May.
Is there a class that you’d recommend to students interested in developing the skills needed to work in a similar internship/position?
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Projects in HCI
- Information Architecture and Design
- Understanding Research
- Interaction Design
- Database Management
What advice would you give other students searching for an internship or work opportunity?
Don’t just restrict yourself to what you’re learning in the classroom. Try to gain skills by 1) teaching yourself how to code if you want to be a UX Designer, and 2) create a personal UX research project, i.e., redesigning a website of your choice, etc. Just do something and start working on a portfolio.
Thank you for participating, Oluwatoyin!