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Degree show connection opens the door for graduate opportunity

James Hanks

Brunel provided me with a well-rounded education in both technology and design, of which you need both to succeed in today's working environment.

James, Alumni

Digital Product Designer, Inktrap

Digital Design BSc - 2019

From UK

Previous Institution

City College Brighton and Hove - Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Tell us about your educational and/or career journey since you graduated from Brunel?

I was fortunate enough to meet my current employer at my course's interim Degree Show, which is held in January, a good few months before graduation. After two interviews with them over the next month, I was offered the job, so I was able to start immediately after graduation.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

The day usually starts off with responding to emails and running through notes from the day before. After this, we have a brief team meeting which breaks off into separate meetings with clients and teammates depending on the project. After this, we'll have either new client work to do which can range from user experience design/research all the way to the front-end development of a web app. At the moment I'm finishing off the interface design for a project.

What’s been the highlight of your career journey so far?

I was lucky enough to work on a design sprint soon after joining Inktrap, which is essentially a solid one/two weeks working very closely with a client to solve a particular problem and create a solution in a short amount of time. This went very well, and since then I have been working very closely with this client, even taking the lead in making certain product design decisions and in client liaison. I don't think I'd be able to get this experience at a larger company and am thankful that my company trust me with this.

How would you say your Brunel experience has helped you to get where you are today?

It has provided me with a well-rounded education in both technology and design, of which you need both to succeed in today's working environment. As well as this, its alumni network (those who studied Digital Design in particular) are very supportive and have helped me gain confidence in networking and given me the opportunity to work and communicate with a vast number of creative people and organisations.

Why did you choose to study at Brunel and why would you recommend Brunel to others?

I chose Brunel because of its value in both technical and creative skills - neither one seemed to take priority. I found this particularly in the Digital Design course, which taught a mixture of digital design and programming, not shying away from teaching its students computer science fundamentals, which I think should be required learning because of how important they are. The knowledge of how software is developed was beneficial in helping me become a more well-rounded designer, and better able to communicate with the engineers I work with on a daily basis to build great products.

What is your best memory of studying here?

My best memory would have to be the various socials our department held in partnership with the Digital Society. These were always very fun and brought a lot of different people together - even staff sometimes! It was always good to socialise and see the non-work mode of people on our course, and the events would usually end at the on-campus establishments, like Loco's.

If you could give one piece of advice to current Brunel students, what would that be?

Many of the courses teach a lot of different topics, and therefore encourage you to become a generalist by default. I would say try not to compare yourself or your abilities to others - find your specialism and embrace being different and good at what you enjoy.

What would be your top tip or key advice for new graduates as they begin their career journey after leaving Brunel?

Stay in contact with people from your cohort, as even if you're all going on different journeys, you may be able to help each other out in the future and it's always exciting to see where people end up in the future.

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