As part of my degree in Creative Digital Media a work placement module runs for twelve weeks in semester two of year three so just before Christmas I started to research different companies that I felt I could learn from and contribute to with the skills I had learned in college. I had a look at Strata3’s website, the case studies of “eir”, “KBC” and “Lily O’Briens” were impressive. The areas Strata3 are experts in such as front-end and back-end development, UX/ design and analytics are areas that I was maintaining a minimum grade of B+. A meeting with the studio manager and head of UX was organised and I was delighted to be given the opportunity to have my placement with Strata3.
On my first day as I was shown around the office and then to my desk a decal on one of the walls caught my eye, it read 'People before technology. Always.'. A work-in-progress meeting was held and every member of the studio from developers to the Managing Director spoke about what they were working on for the week. Potential changes or issues were discussed with everybody having the opportunity to speak and help a teammate out. This was a positive start to my time in Strata3 knowing that communication between everybody in the studio is of the utmost importance.
I discussed areas I would be working on with the Studio Manager. I had half expected to be making coffee all day like some of my college colleagues in their placements, but my work included Information Architecture, development and personal development by completing the “Analytics Academy with Google”. I was immediately given the opportunity to work on meaningful projects such as quality control and testing projects that had been completed by developers, analysing analytics and publishing content to the Strata3 blog. Throughout this I had lots of questions and where most people would have probably told me go away, everybody in Strata3 made me feel welcome and helped me as much as I needed. Nobody was too busy, be it a Project Manager, Developer, Designer or the Managing Director, I have learnt a lot from every member of the studio.
A boost in confidence.
My placement introduced me to a new area of the digital industry I was not familiar with, 'Project Management' and support. Having potential OCD or maybe just me being a very fussy person, I quickly realised that organising tasks, talking to developers and designers and reporting back to clients was a role I was interested in pursuing. I had a chat with the Studio Manager about wanting to learn more about project management and almost immediately I was given more responsibilities. I was involved with meetings, scheduling and maintained constant communication with both the clients and the teams working on the projects I was involved in.
Having support from everyone in the studio boosted my confidence to work strongly and efficiently in an area I knew very little about. The project management team taught me more about their process and how to effectively manage issues that may arise quickly that would have taken me months to read about. Using the tips and suggestions helped me complete tasks a lot quicker and with confidence. In no time at all and with constant support from senior project managers and everybody else in the studio, I was resolving issues for clients smoothly and managing tasks through the different stages of design, development and sign off.
A new career path.
I have learnt so much while at Strata3 and my skillset has increased, although not in foosball as I’m not brave enough to challenge anyone yet. While I initially thought I would be using the skills I have already learnt in development and design, working here has opened my eyes to a new career path in project management and support that I plan to follow. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here and not just because of the weekly doughnut runs (thanks mostly to a developer for grudgingly going!) or the amazing Easter Egg we received. Strata3 is not just a company, it is a community, everybody inputs on issues and goes above and beyond to come up with and implement solutions.
While I may have thought I would have been bottom of the food chain while being an intern, the opposite was true, I was made to feel like a valued member of the team and that my opinion and work was valued and appreciated. I will be forever grateful to everybody in Strata3 for the help, guidance and support I received and those words on that decal 'People before technology. Always.' are not just words, they are the Strata3 way and a motto I will carry with me throughout my career.
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