There are many job opportunities in both Creative and Technical fields, but as a CreaTer it is hard to know what to expect and how to prepare properly for the future.
This article will try to shed some light on that subject by talking to a CreaTe graduate who is currently working at Nedap. He will talk about his current job and will give some tips we can use to prepare for our careers.
Bob Loos is a developer at Nedap Healthcare and graduated from the CreaTe bachelor in July 2014. He is now combining three days studying for a master’s degree in Human Media Interaction with two days of working. Nedap Healthcare focusses on making software to simplify the work done by caretakers and to make their work more fun.
His work at Nedap
The variety of things Bob has to do at Nedap is one of the things he likes. After doing his bachelor assignment at Nedap, he got the opportunity to actually develop it into a real life product. Being the responsible person for the product, also called the “product owner”, he was not only busy with the programming part but also with the future of the product.
Even though he is officially a developer, he is absolutely not only programming. “Also visiting clients to talk about existing products and researching possible new products are activities that often occur.” He tells. “It is even encouraged a lot to visit your customers, no matter what part you play. Besides programming, we also brainstorm about new products or about improving existing products and carrying out research. It is definitely a diverse job but that’s what makes it fun.”
Bob is currently doing his Human Media Interaction master and even though he is not technically graduated yet, he still notices the difference in studying and having a job. Things like waking up at eleven because you had a late night don’t happen anymore. Luckily Nedap is rather flexible with the working hours. However one of the main differences he noticed was the work attitude in projects which was a lot more serious that the student projects. “But that is actually very nice!” He adds. “You work together with colleagues, who are all experts in something else, to deliver cool products. And of course it is not all hard work and seriousness, there is enough room for sociability! We have a game room where we can play games for example.” When he started working at Nedap, they gave him the feeling that he was really part of the team and that his colleagues put their trust in him. This already started during his internship at Nedap in which they were responsible with a team for a Lowlands project with a major deadline. Of course projects for companies are way tougher than a university project, because it has higher risks and there is more pressure.
When Bob is finished with his HMI master, he is planning on continuing to work at Nedap. It’s important for him to do work he likes and at Nedap he likes what he is doing.
Influence of a master
Because of combining work with his master, Bob is taking more time to finish his master than the two years given for the HMI master. He says that one of the main advantages of doing a master is that he can apply the things he learns here during his everyday job.
But also the other way around, in his master he can use knowledge he learned at Nedap. “CreaTe is a really broad study and a master is definitely recommended to specialize in a specific field. At HMI I learned a lot about the interaction between human and technology. In my masters I read a lot of papers about this and this can often be used unexpectedly at work.”
From personas to programming
Create has changed a lot over the years because of the fact that it is a rather young study. It already changed from a rather practical study to a study in which also the theory is important, according to Bob. He thinks this change is rather good. He says that most of the things heard learned during CreaTe can be used in his job. “At CreaTe I already got a decent amount of programming, but the real programming I learned at Nedap. However the skills I learned during subjects like Visual communication made me look at the appearances of applications. Looking at, for example, fonts for something instructive in an application or the colors to emphasize some components, occurs often. But also the sketching classes are really useful for showing your idea rather fast.”
As a CreaTer you learned to brainstorm and tinker, which helps with thinking out-of-the-box. This can also be used in Bob’s current projects. “Combining it with user centered design, making personas and scenarios will make it really valuable for thinking about new products and improving already existing ones.” He doesn’t really remember things that didn’t come in handy at his job.
There are a lot of benefits but also some downsides if you have a Creative Technology background. One of the major benefits is knowing a bit of everything including the programming, business, brainstorming and product/concept development. This results in being able to understand and talk with colleagues from the same or another field. One of the downsides is that you are not a specialist on all the fields. In the end you should be the one to decide in which field you do want to become a specialist.
Bob thinks that making a portfolio is one of the most important things. “As a CreaTer your portfolio is a much better proof of your capabilities than your diploma. People want to know what you made and which choices you made. So focus on your portfolio and don’t be satisfied with just a six for your projects. Try to make awesome and innovative projects.”
As a last tip Bob said it was important to try to get good in one of the areas of CreaTe. “The combination of being a specialist in one area and the knowledge of a lot of areas and having a lot of other skills is really powerful. Try to do an online course on Udemy and learn how to make things like web applications for example. The basics you have learned will help you to pick up new skills rather fast.”
It’s good to know about the experience of somebody who already had the opportunity to start his career. Of course the developer position is not the only route to take as a CreaTer, but Bob told us a lot about how to prepare. It is nice to hear about the importance of a portfolio from a graduate instead of a teacher. We do have to prove ourselves, as we cannot say in one word what we are or can. Specialising in one area of the CreaTe study sounds like a great recommendation. I think this can make you stronger than some other people in the same area, because as a CreaTer you do have the basic knowledge about more than just that specific area. However getting on the same level will take time and effort. If it’s worth the time and effort, it should be something every CreaTer decides on their own.