Hi! I’m Rosa, I’m the final IDL member to come to After Digital and learn about UX. Originally from Northern Ireland, I moved to Glasgow ten years ago to do my undergrad in English Literature and Film and Television Studies at Glasgow Uni. I loved my degree but found employment opportunities scarce after finishing.
After a few years of working in bars and restaurants, I upped sticks to Shanghai, China where I taught English for a year and then moved onto copywriting for a global brand. I was doing well in my role and was promoted several times, but with a boyfriend back in Glasgow and a desire to go back to university, it was time to come home.
Having coded as a young teen and always having regretted giving it up, I enrolled in Glasgow Uni’s MSc in Software Development, a one-year conversion course that prepares its students for work as developers. It was an incredibly challenging year but, with the benefit of being a bit older and wiser, I put my head down and came out with a Distinction - definitely one of my proudest achievements. After that, I worked as a graduate developer for 8 months but wasn’t getting enough coding experience or much of a creative outlet from the place I was in so started hunting for something new.
The Inspiring Digital Leaders programme is brand new this year, where did you hear about it and what made you want to apply?
I follow a few agencies on Twitter, although I don’t tweet much myself. Screenmedia had posted a link to the internship’s page, I took one look at it and knew it was for me, as my interests and experience are not solely on development but on the bigger picture which encompasses everything the internship was offering.
Out of the 5 skills you’ll be developing your skillset in (UX Design, Digital Marketing, Web Development, Content Strategy and Client Services), which are you most interested in?
My main interest is in web development but going hand in hand with it is UX design, so I’d say these were the two areas I was looking most forward to. I’ve also got a lot of customer service experience, so client services are something I was keen to learn more about too.
You’re working with our UX Design department, do you feel that you’ve expanded your skill in this during your time with us?
Absolutely. In my Masters, I got to touch on usability a little bit on a course called Human-Computer Interaction and Design and for many of the projects during my course I had to create wireframes. I also had to carry out usability testing for my final project which was an android application.
None of this past experience, however, was done in any great depth. To be a good developer I believe you need to constantly be thinking about the users and therefore you need to have a good UX head on your shoulders. At After Digital I was shown how to carry out proper UX research, to gather this in a UX review document and then how to create wireframes in Sketch. Getting to grips with Sketch was super beneficial and something I’ll be taking forward in my career and in my own projects.
After your time with us, do you feel more passionate about a career in digital or UX design?
I’m still sure I want to pursue a career in development but UX will certainly be a big part of that. Rachel even mentioned the role ‘UX Developer’, which I never knew was a thing, and something I’d definitely be interested in down the line.
Quickfire! 3 highlights of working in the AD studio with our team:
If you could work for anyone or any brand in the world, who would it be and why?
I’m going to sound so basic here, but I have a problem with Glossier, the New York-based make-up and skincare brand. Their CEO Emily Weiss is incredibly inspiring and I love what they’re doing in terms of branding, marketing and their mission to ‘democratise beauty’. And their products aren’t bad either...
Despite how slick they are in every other area, their website is pretty awful. So, as a developer, that is something I’d love to work on.
What is the most interesting thing that’s ever happened to you?
Gosh, that’s a tough one. Maybe the summer I spent in San Francisco working as a charity canvasser for Amnesty International. I had to wear a banana suit and try to get people to sign up and donate, using a rap sheet about how there were more international regulations on bananas than guns - “Isn’t that bananas?”. Spending every day on a different street of San Francisco and trying to get people to stop and talk to you was pretty wild.
Finally, would you recommend a programme like Inspiring Digital Leaders to others looking to start a career in digital?
I couldn’t recommend it more. It’s no exaggeration to say this has been five of the most fulfilling months in my working life and I feel so privileged to have been a part of this programme in what I hope is the first of many, many years.
In a phrase: Just go for it!
On Rosa's last day she surprised our design team by organising an autograph from their UX Design idol - Gerry McGovern. Rachel and Stef were reduced to tears by the thoughtful gift, check it out below. But finally, thanks Rosa, we'll all miss you!
The Inspiring Digital Leaders programme has now come to an end. However, we've had an amazing 5 months hosting the interns and are thrilled to have been such a big part of this programme being introduced - here's to (hopefully!) many more years of it! If you want to find out more about the Inspiring Digital Leaders programme, check out the website.