Design your career journey – Webinar

Careers research

As park of my preparation for placement and as a way of exploring my career options I decided to attend the EDGE accredited talk posted on Handshake on designing your career journey. The following are my notes on the talk and the research I conducted thereafter.

Speaker: Dr Donna Caldwell – employability advisor –

What will be covered:

  • Career planning through reviewing Ulster’s employability journey
  • Researching career option
  • Before starting to apply to jobs it is essential that you complete your handshake profile.

Great websites to search for work experience

  • Prospects
  • Target jobs
  • GradIreland
  • Rate my placement


My options

  1. International work experience: research at Go global
  2.  Online professional profile and networking: Digital learning hub – digital presence, LinkedIn, Handshake – Events
  3. Professional skills profile:

Never be afraid to seek advice – Ulster university offers their students support in planning their work experience, placement, internship or graduate opportunity by offering career guidance appointment.


We were tasked with making a mind map to help us in our career planning journey – This is something I was very keen to do as I had been doing my own research before starting this and was looking forward to the help and guidance.

Here are some mind mapping template resources we were given:

  • Coggle – mind mapping for beginners
  • Mindly – for mobile mind mapping
  • – free mind mapping
  • MindMup – for creating public mind maps
  • Stormboard – for in-person mind mapping sessions
  • Lucidchart – for turning your mind map intoo an organised flowchart
  • Ayoa – for a modern approach to mind mapping
  • MindNode – for Apple users.

Here are also some examples that were shown to us as part of the PowerPoint presentation:

Learning outcomes

How can I get my EDGE accreditation with this activity?

  • By acknowledging the importance of career ownership and planning through the development of a visual map.
  • Identify and articulate my career goals and ambitions by researching relevant industries and sections.
  • Effectively present and adopt professional standards in an online context.
  • To learn the importance of body language and personal projection in delivering an effective online presentation.

Assessment details:

  1. Attend the initial 1 hr webinar session (this one).
  2. Create a mind map through researching your chose career area/s using the prospects website – what can I do with my degree? DEADLINE – 1 month max (there is no specific date as it is an extra curricular but the sooner the better).
  3. Attend an individual 1-1 coaching session with your employability advisor – to discuss draft mind map. My employability advisor is Stella So –
  4. Deliver a short, impactful PP presentation (5 mins) based on the mind map research to highlight your career plans and goal/s. Feedback will be provided on the day.
  5. 300 word reflection essay summary. Once completed send to employability advisor that I did the presentation with. It will then be added to be EDGE record by them.

AIM to do the EDGE PLUS award. Do as many skills talks as you want as it could lead to a scholarship. Great for upskilling and progressing in my degree.

Future events

Future jobs and opportunities week 11-14 October: More information here

  • placement opportunities
  • graduate jobs
  • industry experts
  • skills development

Schedule of events:

  1. Skills boosting programme —- 11-14/10/21
  2. Graduate virtual fair (All disciplines) —- 12/10/21  1pm – 6pm
  3. Placement & Internship virtual fairs – Comp, Eng and construction —- 13/10/21  1pm – 5pm
  4. Placement & Internship virtual fairs (All disciplines) —- 14/10/21  1pm – 5pm

E&C and EDGE activities

  1. #PreparefortheFair: What can I expect from the virtual fair?  —-   04/10/21
  2. #PreparefortheFair: How to create an impressive Handshake Profile —- 05/10/21
  3. #PreparefortheFair: How to make a good impression at the fair —- 06/10/21
  4. #Future Jobs & opportunities week – The ultimate CV makeover —- 11/10/21
  5. Skills for your future (EDGE accredited) —- 15/10/21
  6. Improve your presentation skills (EDGE Accredited) —- 20/10/21
  7. Design your career journey (EDGE) —- 26/10/21
  8. Improve your presentation skills (EDGE Accredited) —- 03/11/21
  9. Design your career journey (EDGE) —- 10/11/21
  10. Improve your presentation skills (EDGE Accredited) —- 17/11/21
  11. Skills for your future (EDGE accredited) —- 24/11/21


I found that attending this event was greatly beneficial as it helped me focus on the things I still need to research and focus on to not only decide what career path I would like to pursue but also to research and consider my alternatives. I have become very interested in applying to study abroad instead of taking on a placement; having said that I would still like to research and apply for placement as it would grant me an amazing learning opportunity as well as real life experience in the workplace within my field of study. All in all I found this session to be greatly beneficial and I will continue with the tasks to earn the EDGE accreditation and further progress in my career journey.

IXD302 – Creative entrepreneurship – Week 1

As part of our module introduction we began at the lecture hall were Daniel explained how the module would procced.

In total it will take 12 weeks to complete the module (20 credits worth).

Class times:
11:15 lecture theatre
12:15 break
12:30 workshop In studio

The module will be assessed as follows:

Body of work 60%

  • Deadlines for cover letter and cv: week 4
  • Quotation and invoice deadline week 8
  • Present a pitch deadline week 13 (MON)

Research 40%  due on Wednesday 5th January 11 am

12 week breakdown:

Week 1 intro and workshop
Week 2 applying for a job
Week 3 etiquette
Week 4 interview skills
Deliverable o1 – cv and cover letter due 10 am Friday 22nd of October
Week 5 intellectual property and copyright (how to protect yourself and your ideas, ownership, legal requirements)
Week 6 time management, organisation skills, budgeting your time, how to charge for your time. Time = money
Week 7 pricing and accounting
Week 8 guest lecture (maybe)
Deliverable 2 – quote and invoice for hypothetical job due 19th of November 10 am. We have to hand in a job quotation and example invoice designed on a designed headed paper.
Week 9 idea generation – do not have to make it but to learn how to convince someone to pay so you can make it.
Week 10 pitching
Week 11 catalyst (maybe) men tour ship that helps designers bring their ideas to life
Week 12 tutorials
Deliverable 3 digital product – investor pitch. From 13th December. This will be done in group. We will be pitching to a panel made up of Daniel and some other students.

As a designer I must work on your communication skills.

Module aims:

  • To be introduced to professional practices within the creative industry, career options and skills to improve employability.
  • To demonstrate a clear understanding of idea generation and research tools for digital product design.
  • To demonstrate skills in written and verbal communication within a professional context.
  • Working on paper and supporting research and independent study. Reflecting and evaluating your work in a professional context.

Learning outcomes:

  • To develop professional practices skills and employability.
  • Cv, cover letter, give a pitch and confidently present ideas.
  • Creating products that will solve problems. Idea generation and the research that leads you there.
  • Produce work and research and then feedback within the allowed time. Personal development and career development.
Feedback will be ongoing and it will come in 2 different forms:
  • Formative feedback: this is the kind of feedback that helps the work progress and its development.
  • Summative feedback: this is the feedback one receives after the work has been handed in.

Idea: It might be beneficial to leave my work in the studio; like a printout and ask for feedback, it will be a great help as showing my work will get me better feedback and therefore better results.

Preparing for Placement

  • Always ask, mentors that simply refuse to help are useless to me as a young designer as they don’t help me increase and hone my skills. Do no waste your time, it is not worth it.
  • It is ideal to recognise a bad situation when you are in one, if your studio environment is not helping you grow, then you should leave it. You are not only there to work but most importantly also to learn and improve.
  • As part of building up yourself as a young designer attending events such as the Belfast Design Week would be greatly beneficial.
  • Be aware of the challenges of your industry and how it is continually changing. AIGA (the professional association for design) has an amazing website which would make for a great resource.
  • The UX design collective trends has a great resource – 100 lessons for 2021
  • The article ‘are you a good fit for UX?‘ talks about skills you need to succeed in the industry; this would be a great learning resource.
  • Employability; it is essential that I identify my strengths and weaknesses.
  • What kind of studio environment am I interested in. It’s up to me to find the direction I want to go in.
  • Challenge yourself, this will help you grow as a designer, learn new skills and develop my design process.
  • When creating my portfolio to show to employers a mix of physical and digital work is a MUST.
    You can get ideas down on paper faster than on screen, these sketches are essential when applying for placement.
  • Don’t let an employer pay you less because they know you are willing to do the job simply for the love of it. Get you that money sis.
  • You need to know what you are looking for before you start looking for it. Separate the jobs that are of interest to you and set aside the ones that are not of interest.

Possible job roles

  • UX designer
  • UX researcher
  • UI designer
  • UX engineer
  • Visual designer
  • Content designer
  • Front-end developer
  • Graphic Design

Here is a link to a separate blog post where I carried out further research into the different career directions I can take.

Companies that have previously offered placement

  • Rapid7
  • Puppet
  • Fathom UX
  • Output Digital
  • David Henderson Design
  • White Space
  • Sugar Rush
  • Little Thunder
  • Cirdan
  • PSNI
  • Secure Broadcast
  • Core Systems
  • Global Payments
  • Qarik
  • Aurion Learning

Things I would like to have in a workplace

  • Innovation
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Growth opportunities
  • Feedback
  • Mentorship
  • Travel opportunities
  • Driven
  • Exciting
  • Learning opportunities
  • Friendly
  • High quality content created
  • Collaborative
  • Great pay
  • Focus on work/life balance
  • Learning Opportunities
  • Good fitting environment – it is important to be mindful of the environment and that you are a good fit for it.


  1. Find 3 examples of local companies, UK and Ireland that you admire and that represent great design/wok and that you would like to work for
  2. Also three examples of international design firms that you believe are world leading and produce exceptional work – ones you would aspire to work for.
  3. Write a short paragraph on each and show some work examples to back up your thoughts
Click here to see my blog post where I completed this task.

IXD302 – Companies that produce great designs

As part of our IXD302 module we were tasked with the following:

  1. Find 3 examples of local companies, UK and Ireland that you admire and that represent great design/wok and that you would like to work for
  2. Also three examples of international design firms that you believe are world leading and produce exceptional work – ones you would aspire to work for.
  3. Write a short paragraph on each and show some work examples to back up your thoughts

Things I would like to have in a workplace

Before starting my search I decided to narrow down my search by identifying the key attributes I would like to have in my future workplace.

  • Innovation
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Growth opportunities
  • Feedback
  • Mentorship
  • Travel opportunities
  • Driven
  • Exciting
  • Learning opportunities
  • Friendly
  • High quality content created
  • Collaborative
  • Great pay
  • Focus on work/life balance
  • Learning Opportunities
  • Good fitting environment – it is important to be mindful of the environment and that you are a good fit for it.

Local companies I will be investigating:

To find local companies I read an article posted by Tech Behemoths

International companies I will be investigating

  • BigDrop
  • Amazon
  • Disney
  • Pentagram
  • Clay
  • Neuron
  • Firefly
  • Raw Studio
  • Milkmonkey
  • EA Mobile
  • Wandr
  • Neuron

Step up Facebook career challenge


  • Ailbhe Menton (director of marketing science in Facebook)
  • Rachel Keane
  • Patrick Kennedy (Marketing science partner manager)
  • Safia Dawood (Marketing science partner)

Facebook mission: To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.

  • Acquired Oculos – virtual reallity head sets acquired by gfacebook
  • Workplace – basically facebook for work

Facebook quiz – how much do you know about us?

  1. Monthly active users – 2.8 billion
  2. Messages shared everyday – over 100 billion messages shared everyday
  3. Stories shared everyday – 1 Billion


Someone who can influence others using their knowledge and relationship on a platform.

Most followed Instagram account is Instagram.

Marketing science mission

Our mission is to help all businesses grow by transforming marketing practices, grounded in data and science.


The challenge

What kind of events would clients from the shop attend?

  • Gala
  • wedding
  • fashion week
  • prom
  • award ceremony
  • premier

The problem

Jasper’s Designer Boutique has been advertising on Facebook and Instagram over the past 12 months. They have recently started collaborating with influencers to promote their products and would like to understand if this new collaboration is better for their brand awareness and sales.

The mission

We need your help answering these questions:

  • Which advertising strategy is working better overall?
  • Which is working better for brand awareness?
  • What can be done to improve their advertising on Facebook in the future?

Is there anything else you would like to analyze to improve your conclusions?

The Toolkit:

We will provide you:

  • Background of Jaspers Designer Boutique
  • Data for their latest social media adverts
  • Key questions
  • Hints and Tips to get you thinking!

Jasper’s Designer Boutique offers a range of occasion and formal wear and accessories for teens and adults of all ages.

  • Customers/audience – Unisex clothing brand (all genders) with a variety of styles and sizes to suit everyone aged 13 and over.
  • Sales – Jasper’s Designer Boutique is an online only store with no retail stores. Their website reflects the brand’s fun and colorful fashion style! Think more ESOS than Primark.
  • Location While the company is based in the UK, they sell at home and abroad, with customers in the UK, EU and the US.
  • GoalsTheir goal at the moment is to increase the awareness of their brand and to increase their sales. Growing these areas will help their brand grow and help them build a loyal customer base. This is good as it ensures repeat purchases, continuing sales, referrals, brand trust, steady income, greater market share, sustainability, reputation, word of mouth,
    Long term business stability and new business generation by reference. It’s also cheaper to keep old customers than to get new ones.
  • MarketingThey advertise mainly on Facebook and Instagram. They create their own social media adverts and work with local influencers to grow their brand and sales.
  • DataThey measure their marketing activities by surveying people who have (or have not) seen their ads, to see if the ads are successful.

Facebook utilizes a Randomized Control Trial approach to minimize bias and to help advertisers determine the causal impact of their ads

Deliver polls – would you like to buy from Jaspers boutique?

Each person in the controlled group will only answer 1 question at a time.

Add info after this look at slides



The storytelling

Once your data analysis over, think about how you want to communicate your results to your audience

Things to consider when presenting data:

1.How technical is your audience?

2.What is the conclusion you want them to make?

3.Is your insights immediately clear from the chart, or is there other information that will distract from your key point?

How can Jasper’s Designer Boutique increase their brand awareness and increase their sales?

Influencer vs Ads Only

1.Do campaigns involving influencers drive better results than ads only campaign?

2.Are the proportions different for those who saw the social media advert to those who didn’t?

3.Which strategy drove better Brand Awareness?

Creative Considerations

1.Does sound on/off work better for influencer ads?

2.Is it important to showcase your brand in the first 3 seconds?

3.What combination of platform and format works best to drive purchase intent?

What are your thoughts?

1.Is there a link between brand awareness and purchase intent?

2.Based on the information provided about the social media advert and the analysis you’ve produced:

  • Were both strategies successful? Did one perform better overall than the other? What could be the reason(s) behind this?
  • What should Jaspers Designer Boutique do for their next social media post? Should they stick with both adverts or combine them into one? What are the pros & cons of doing either?

3.If you had more time and more data, what other types of analysis would you run to help Jasper’s boutique raise their brand awareness and increase sales?

6pm on Friday 29th of October DEADLINE


Can be an infographic!

Becoming an interview pro

My current attitude to interviews is mainly nervousness and fear of not being fully prepared. This is something I am working on fixing.

I believe that attitude can play a big part of how good a first impression you give an employer so I would like to go from looking like the guy (Jim for the Office fans) above to being excited and happy to have an interview and maybe even approach it as a learning opportunity weather I am successful with the application or not.

As part of my placement research and preparation for future interviews I decided to attend this talk to help me improve my skills to hopefully help me land my dream placement position when the time comes.

Speaker: Eilis Spence, Employability advisor


Link to the recorded talk can be found here.

In this session I was given top tips to help me prepare for interviews, learn about the type of questions to expect at interviews and how best to answer them. I noted down some of the things that I felt might come in useful later on. This talk helped me understand the different types of interviews, how to use the STAR technique and offered me some ideas on how to better prepare for an interview. I have outlined some of this information bellow:

Things to consider

  • What technical skills/qualifications have been asked for?
  • What transferable skills/competencies were mentioned?
  • How might these be assessed

Questions to ask the interviewer:

Always have a couple planned!

  • The organization – what are the likely future developments
  • The work and training

Things I should do to be best prepared for:

Before the interview

  • Find out as much as you can about the type of interview you will be having
  • Find out who will be interviewing you
  • Learn about the company
  • Prepare answers to possible questions
  • What areas do they value the most?

On the day

  • Show confidence – consider your body language
  • Keep good eye contact and smile!
  • Listen to the questions and think before you answer (provide)
  • Be positive
  • Remember to be articulate

Online interviews

  • Make sure you know if it is live or pre-recorded
  • Choose a suitable location
  • Make sure there are no distractions
  • Become familiar with the software
  • Prepare using an interview simulator like:  Interview 360 tool in Aventegro

I think that overall attending this talk was a great way to start my research journey as it gave me a starting point and some insight. Some of the things I would like to do is research and maybe come up with some more possible interview questions more specific to my degree. I would also like to do some mock interviews maybe with my classmates, tutors or even some of the careers advisors at the careers university service. I am less nervous about the many interviews I will hopefully be invited to and the prospect of having to explain my strengths and weaknesses. I would like to keep researching and learning as I think it will help me success.

Finding your perfect ’employer’ – key tips for taking ownership of your own career success story


Dr Donna Caldwell, Employability Advisor.

When an employer asks us, what is your salary expectation, what should we answer as a fresher who has never worked before –

Look up VMock

Place info on Slides!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Future skills and opportunities

Speaker – Eilis Spence, Employability advisor

Topic – Prepare for the virtual fair – how to create an impressive handshake profile.

Look up the video from yesterday on YouTube – here is the link.

Future jobs and opportunities fairs week 11-14 October:

  • Placement opportunities
  • Graduate jobs
  • Industry experts
  • Skills development
  • Skills boosting program with Allstate, ALMAC and Deloitte


It is vital to have a good profile as employers can view it. Handshake is the middle man so the employers can interact with us. This could be the first thing an employer will see, making it very important.

  • MY profile must showcase me, my education, skills, experience and career aspirations.
  • There are 7 key areas to complete: My journey, education, work and extracurriculars, classes, projects and skills
  • Upload supporting files such as CV and cover letter.
  • Level of study – level 5 for second years. It’s very important to get this right as it will affect what job opportunities will be brought to you.
  • My journey is a short summary of yourself and what you are looking for. Its your chance to introduce yourself. It’s the first thing the employer will read – make yourself sound employable.
  • put actively looking for a job.
  • Ad your experience and add a few notes on your responsibilities and key roles.
  • When adding your cv make sure to check over the skills as handshake automatically adds things into this section that may not be necessary
  • Documents: this is where you can upload your CV and cover letter.
  • Organisations and extra curriculars  – add edge activities here also


An introduction to Puppet

Rick Monroe @monro

Now working at Contrast security

Who is Rick Monroe?

  • Started working at Tibus (one of the first 2 web developer agencies in NI) now a network organisation. They morphed into Zesty – They work on websites and apps. It is a fast-paced agency. Monroe introduced the UX design idea to this agency. Agencies make their money by doing as much work as possible as fast as possible.
  • Then went to FATHOM a dedicated UX agency. Top 3 UX agency in NI. They built up a client base by consulting with them on usability.
  • Whilst at FATHOM he worked at an app called MyWallST he worked around 3-4 times with them as they would run out of money and he was just part of an agency. They then won the award for the Irish startups. But while working at an agency its very short term, you don’t stay with a team.
  • Puppet – a US company starting an agency in Belfast. He started of as a UX engineer. Puppet users can interact with code in either a code-based system or a design based system. They have worked with Intel, Nasa (their system is used in space), Cern, SONY, Apple, Disney (Puppet facilitated the management and success of Disney+, it allowed the streaming quality and demand to be appropriately supplied.)
  • Contrast: US form in Belfast – no placements atm. Creates self-protected software. Cybersecurity is the start of a hige wave, there is tons of money in it atm

Don Normal – the design of everyday things book. First person to have the UX job title at Apple. Living with complexity – book of his.

“Every application has a level of complexity that simply cannot be removed.”


What are companies looking for in students?

  • Go to the companies website and watch a summary video on their website to try and start learning the problems the company solves.
  • They are just trying to make/design tools that will make peoples lie/work easier. In the world of cyber security that is.


  • Rapid7 is a big organisation that will take a large amount of students
  • Go to their website, understand what the industry is about and from there understand which company you want to learn from
  • Big motive – invented NI covid app.
  • Some companies may have a too structured
  • Go in armed with questions into an interview – ask what design probrems the organisation solves? Can you show me a product you have worked on and any improvements you have made? Do you have a plan in place for interns? What will I be doing? Who will I met and can I meet them? How much exposure will I get from different areas of work? What does a year look like for placement students?
  • Work I need to show – Don’t think quantity. Talk about your process. State very clearly what kind of problem you were trying to solve with your work. Don’t be afraid to show them the roughest of work if it aided you work. The elements of user experience – BOOK – talks of how you think through the layers and how you talk about it to show you knowledge and process. Do not focus on the UI and the pretty parts of it, focus on the nitty gritty.
  • Don’t be blinded by perks in company open days, focus on development and opportunities. Don’t jump at the first option, compare and contrast.
  • Rapid7 is super strict, rigid and organised, an agency is more disorganised and wild west if you will.
  • Still show branding even if you want to work in UX as its still problem solving and a way of communicating. Talk of improvement and constant iterations

Design should solve problems

UX Belfast – LOOK up – 18/10/21 online 6pm register at