Interview answers from design interns at Facebook – Interview 1

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Design internship.

An internship is one of the most exciting and dreaded phases for any student. All your aspirations and dreams come together at this one moment and become a reality check for life. We always look up to that one student who made it, and we want to know what they said in the interview that got them hired! On the other hand, while hiring, you want to know what are the kick-ass answers that got these guys into the top tier firms.

( P.S. – Connect with quality design talent to speed up your hiring process at Yanko Design Job Board)

To answer all our queries, Geunbae “GB” Lee who is a product designer at Facebook has compiled the answers from the students who got selected for the Facebook summer internship of 2017. Read on as we publish each of the candidate’s interviews in a multi-part series sharing the student’s answers to the most common interview questions!

Interviewing design interns at Facebook

What their thoughts and experiences have been in the design field.
Asking questions about their experiences getting into the design field: How did you get into design? What is design to you? How do you stay inspired or motivated? What are some of the tools you use? What would you say to students in design like you?

Several of the former Product Design Interns at Facebook (Summer of 2017) were happy to share their personal experiences and thoughts. Hopefully, this article helps those who are just getting into design. Special thanks to Amanda, Daniel, Katherine, Rohan, Ally, Jane, Eric, Robyn, Hunter, Yifei, and Ishaan for your time and participation!

*This is not representative of all the former Summer 2017 Interns, just several who were willing to share their personal experiences. And this is NOT about their internship projects. It’s only to utilize Medium as a place to share their thoughts and experiences with other people about design.

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Amanda Hum

Degree Pursuing
B.S in Industrial Design at Carleton University

Profile Links
Portfolio Website / LinkedIn / Facebook

How did you get into design?
When I was in high school, I was always interested in visual art but I didn’t know how to apply it to a career in the future. My older sister was the main reason for how I first became aware of the concept of design. She studied to be a graphic designer and soon after became a product designer at Facebook. She definitely played a big role for why I became interested in pursuing design. You could say it was a “following in her footsteps” type of scenario.
During my senior years in high school, I was trying to figure out who I was and what I was passionate about. I am very observant and curious person. I have a detailed-oriented mindset and I am always questioning how things work or how they’re made. The minute details that I find in the things around me provokes me to discover more about it or to do research on it. I often find myself dissecting objects and finding different ways to improve upon them. I am also an empathetic person as I am cognizant of the feelings and emotions of the people around me.
Out of the subjects I was learning in school, I wasn’t very strong in academics but I excelled in my art electives. I took classes like visual arts, technological design and photography. Soon after I realized that all these courses had one thing in common: design. I liked these courses because it allowed me to express my ideas in a visual way and it enabled me to work with my hands. I developed a passion for design because it combined aesthetics, functionality and usability. After graduating from high school, I knew I wanted to go into design so I worked on building a strong portfolio. I eventually got into the industrial design program at Carleton University and have loved it ever since.

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What is design to you? What do you think design is about?
Design solves a problem in a way that is harmonious, user-focused and thoughtful. Its sole purpose is to create valuable experiences, products and services. Design is interdisciplinary and considers different aspects of the world. Psychology, art, engineering and communication are factors that contribute to design. To me, design can be viewed at different perspectives. Design can be visual, physical, emotional, psychological, and abstract. It is a broad term that encompasses a large and iterative process. Ideas, interactions, systems, interfaces, people, and places all come into play during the design process. It considers aesthetics, functions, usability, ergonomics and economics. Many times, design calls for considerable research, thought, adjustments, and often times redesign.
How do you stay inspired or motivated to learn more about design?
Inspiration and motivation can sometimes be hard to come by when designing. For me, stressful deadlines can have a negative effect on my output. I sometimes find it impossible to force an idea while under pressure. In times like these, I would step away from the computer screen to take a walk or read a book. I would also try to do things like meditate or exercise to shift my mindset to focus about things other than work. Breaks are necessary for me because I can become blocked if I concentrate too hard on an idea. One other solution I’ve found success in is talking to other people. Talking through my process has helped me to become unblocked. When I go back to designing after taking a break, I have a fresher mindset and a new sense of motivation.
Hobbies are also a great way to stay inspired. I love playing video games, piano, and cooking because it allows me explore things other than design and to have fun and be creative in other ways.

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What are some of the tools that you use for design?
As an industrial designer, I deal with objects that live in a 3-dimensional space. This requires me to work with 3D CAD software. This includes Solidworks, Rhinoceros and Keyshot. As a product or UI/UX designer I use software to produce wireframes, mockups and prototypes. This includes Sketch, Origami, InVision, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, etc.

Are you learning anything new that are related to design?
Currently, I’m interested 3D motion graphics and animation. AR/VR is also a huge thing right now so it’d be great to have the opportunity to tinker around in that space. Having an industrial design background can also make this a relatable project for me to undertake.
From a young age, I’ve always been a big video gamer. I’d also consider exploring game design, character concepts and character modelling.

Where do you see yourself in about… 5 years?
In 5 years, I see myself continuing to pursue the career path as a product designer. I want to grow with a company where I can add value, learn new things and take on more responsibilities. I’d like to work on projects that bring meaningful value to peoples’ lives. I also want to work somewhere I can have ownership of what I design and to have a voice within the company. I could also see myself starting my own company if the opportunity ever come up!

Anything you would tell or give advice to students in design like you?
Try not to have a one-track mind when you’re in design school or if you’re making the transition to become a designer. Design is an interdisciplinary field and it can lead to diverse opportunities.
Design is an ever-changing industry. Try to be open-minded and wary that design is never entirely constant. Also, try not to get attached to your designs and learn to accept constructive feedback. Different perspectives from other people can always shed a new light on your ideas. Break out of your bubble and explore new ways of thinking. There is more than one solution to a problem and everything always has room to improve.

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The original write-up by Geunbae Lee can be found here.

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