Digital Skills Academy
Graduate Sharon Brady: Designing a New Digital Career Path

Graduate Sharon Brady: Designing a New Digital Career Path

Sharon Brady is a graduate of Digital Skills Academy's BSc in Digital Technology and Design Programme. 

What did you get out of the course, what did you learn?

The list is endless! I began the course with having previous experience and education in design. Each design class held endless new techniques, history and principles. That complexity expanded my means of designing, influenced how I look at everything and ultimately how I approach my practice today. The beauty of the course was that it wasn't simply just design/project management/coding. The general classes (that spanned across the three streams) were just as edifying as your main stream.

Of course then there's the 'working as part of a team' aspect, not only that but working remotely as part of a team. It's an acquired taste, but one that's necessary and important to learn - and I'm glad I did. It's a necessary skill, particularly today with freelancing and co-working spaces becoming more prominent in the work environment.

What was your experience of taking the course online?

Not being face to face with the team and the academic team was a tough one to come to terms with, but in hindsight I think that was my lazy brain looking for an easy path through the course - and that made it more difficult. If I had been face to face with the team or faculty this would have ensured a lot more information than I was given, which would have in turn lead to a much different outcome. Honestly, I don't think I would have done as well if I didn't have the ability to overcome this obstacle. The participants created a fantastic sense of togetherness through the use of the online tool Slack and this was another contributing factor to working successfully online.

The pros of the course greatly outweighed the cons. The fact that the course took place online meant that all of the classes were pre-recorded. There's a huge sense of freedom having the classes available anytime of the day/ night. There's no commitment to a pre-defined schedule and watching the modules online gave me amazing flexibility.

Overall, I think the combined pros and cons are irrelevant. The course provides important training for the digital world as we know it. The majority of work today involves remote teams and online collaboration - and this course provides invaluable training for those skills.

What were the advantages of working with an Industry Partner?

I was lucky enough to be a part of a fantastic team. As we worked on our entrepreneurial project, Spree, we had a chance to put our new-found skills to practice, not only from an entrepreneurial aspect but also, for me, from a design position -  and we were able to put our 'remote team-building' to the test. The beauty of this project, and the other continual assessment projects throughout the course, is that they are tailored to suit the different members of the team, be it project managers, designers or coders.

What skills did you learn from working on the entrepreneurial project?

Besides the obvious things, bringing a project from abstract concept through to precise completion, we learned how to bring it further than 'just a project'. We were trained to get it to a presentation standard. This allowed the product, along with us, to stand on our own and be prepared enough to bring it to an investor interview, to be able to hold our own in the business world and, beyond, to success.

What benefits did you get out of working in a cross-functional team?

Working as part of a cross functional team was brilliant. It gave me a deep understanding of how project managers and coders work and how they think.

Since the course, I've started working with a new company that has a team in an open plan office. A few members of the team are positioned abroad. We communicate through various online tools just as I did throughout the course, and thanks to that experience I've settled in very easily and quickly.

What type of project did you develop on the course?

For the entrepreneurial project we developed a website called Spree. Spree was an online portfolio and networking tool targeted toward, and specifically designed for, people in the gaming industry.

We recognised the sudden rise in popularity of the gaming industry in Ireland and found a gap in the market where a specific social networking site where developers, designers, programmers and investors in the gaming world could congregate and, not only build/ share their portfolio and CV, but collaborate on projects remotely, be head-hunted or apply for jobs at their own discretion.

The site experience was designed to be completely customisable to the user with varying privacy settings. It was a perfect project for the three of us, specifically in terms of personal interests and practice. I was the lead designer on the team - which was fantastic as I had full control of the reins. I created the company name, brand, logo and content. I worked closely with the other team members to ensure everyone was happy with the outcome.

What were your goals when you started the course and did you achieve them?

My goal was not only to expand my current skill-set but to gain important insight and experience into how the practice is run in a modern company. When I say "the practice", I am referring specifically to my design practice, but really it benefits all types of disciplines and business ventures. It really is an invaluable course.

What are you doing now and how did the Digital Skills Academy help you to get there?

I'm a post-production artist in 3D Design Bureau. I primarily work on architectural visualisations, but also on numerous post-production work that needs to be carried out through the company; product design, animation, graphics etc. We are working on some very exciting VR projects at the moment too - I'm excited to see where that leads!

Anything you'd have done differently?

Nope! Everything I did, I did with the best intent, and I think it turned out pretty nicely!

Twitter: @squidgeb


Find out more about our degrees and short courses:

BSc Degree in Digital Technology and Design

BSc (Honours) Degree in Digital Technology, Design and Innovation

Short Courses in Digital Skills

Professional Diploma