So I understand that these internships are a pretty big deal, and I’m curious where students, graduates and designers have interned and when. Just talk about your experience, good/bad, paid/unpaid, and should I really be looking to land one my freshman year if it only means taking out the garbage and getting everyone’s starbucks?
Landing an internship your freshmen year will generally be pretty difficult. You’d be better spent working all summer and saving up for some nice equipment and developing your skills in your free time (or spend all the free time at your crap job sketching) – and then wait till after Sophmore year to start looking for something more serious.
An internship where you take out coffee is virtually useless. When you go to get hired companies want to see what you did at an internship and what you learned. Saying “I took out the garbage and sometimes they’d let me sketch” won’t make or break you. The biggest experience an internship will offer is the ability to work collaboratively with a team of professionals. If you’re working some place where they just send you off on your own to do their bidding, it won’t help much.
Thanks, I was leaning towards that conclusion. What has your personal experience been with interning? Who did you intern with, what did you learn?
0.Name or reputation of the brand/company isn’t going to make your experience any better or worse. All of them are unique, and you WILL learn something from all of them.
1.Don’t pick on the jobs they give you. Just do it.
2.Do the job better, faster, more than they have expected.
3.Then they may challenge you with a tougher job.
4.Repeat 1 and 2, then they may repeat 3.
So on and so forth.
It’s not about impressing anyone. It’s about building confidence in them about your capabilities. It’s also about earning your opportunity to show them what you’ve got.
5.Observe as you go.
6.Ask questions, lots of them, and be smart about them too.
Many students think they are going to somehow improve their skills through internships. In my experience, this doesn’t always happen.
What is more important in an internship is to observe the things that you don’t get to see in school. Things like:
Peer to peer relationships which include:
Communication between individuals in a team, between teams, inter-departmental, casual, between managers and workers etc.
Observing who are the good leaders and team players, how they do it and what makes them good. The same goes for the bad ones.
What makes or breaks a company.
The last thing I would ask myself is, if I liked it, because that is quite irrelevant IMO.
Also, don’t forget to promote yourself to them too. It’s a rare chance for students. Who knows, maybe 10 years down the road, you will get a phone call from one of them offering you something unexpected.
I never had an internship. At least not a formal ID one. I had work experience in the professional web design world, but never landed an ID internship. I got a job anyways, so an internship doesn’t make or break you.
My point of view is from experience of peers and having sat in on interviews for the past week. For candidates that had internships (or other design jobs) the most frequently asked questions are really finding out what they learned, how they contributed to the projects, and how they dealt with other people in the process (engineers, marketers, end users). Design is an entirely collaborative field, so without being able to prove you can collaborate in one way or another hurts you.
I’m currently doing an Internship at an automotive design company in Mexico. I’m Australian and have one more year of uni. I can’t say how good my experience has been so far, I’ve learnt far more than my previous 3 years at uni. I think the reason it’s been so good is because I’ve been given big responsibilities and given jobs such as a proper employees.
I’ve been here for 7 months. I’m not technically supposed to be paid, however i am paid just enough to live off and also accommodation supplied.
I’ve had it really good here, however i think even if your going to be making coffee, it would still be worth while because you learn how a practice actually operates in real life. What you learn at University is insignificant and not the real world.
Just thought i’d add my thoughts on this one… I’m currently a senior in ID, and about to start my 6th internship. I’ve specifically worked in different fields and types of offices every time- and it has completely paid off. Maybe I’m picky, but of the 5 companies i’ve been at, I wouldn’t really want to work at any of them permanently.
Although they were all great experiences with awesome projects, I learned that it’s the little things about design work and office life that make the biggest differences. So now I know exactly what to look for in a job, that I’ll seriously be happy at. For example… you could have a killer job at the best firm in the country, but if everyone hides in their cubicles all day with their head phones on, chances are you may be miserable after a few months. So interning will give you a feel for the kind of job/environment that will seriously suit you after graduation.