Nathan Dawn - Placement Year Blog #1 turn off the lights.

Nathan Dawn - Placement Year Blog #1

Hey! My name is Nathan and I'm on my placement year at Dynamic. I am a Digital Media student at the University of Leeds which allows me to explore many different sections of the digital world such as Graphic Design, Web Programming and Film Editing as well as giving me a more theoretical outlook on the media sector such as Research, Communication Theory and Videogame Identities in Play.

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Web Banner Graphic Design for my University course

When I first started university, my aim was to do a study year abroad. However, I soon realised that it would be much more beneficial for my career if I secured an industry placement which would mean gaining experience in the field I want to work in and acquiring the skills that will place me in a better position to get a job after graduation. At the start of my second year, when this idea started to become a reality, I found that most placements and internships were for more specified roles such as ‘software development’ or ‘graphic design’, whereas I was looking for something a bit broader (like my course) so I could find out what I’m best at within a workplace environment. This is one of the key factors that led to my interest in Dynamic.

I was first introduced to Dynamic when they guest appeared in a lecture at university for my module ‘Working in Digital Media Teams’. The lecture itself was great as it allowed me to see previous work they’d done; they showcased some very creative projects for big clients. However, when their placement student at the time (my now ‘mentor’, Louisa) did a short presentation about her role at the company, my interest was piqued due to the various roles she was given the opportunity to carry out, and the fact that she was involved in many different stages of the creative process. When they said at the end that there was a position open, I knew that I had to apply for that position.

After applying, I attended two interviews – both of which I left feeling quite confident, seeing as the people interviewing me in both of them were so welcoming, making it feel like more of a discussion than an interview. When I got the call from Dan confirming my place at the company, I was completely ecstatic and actually left a team meeting with other students for a piece of university group work to take the call and subsequently call my Mum (of course!).

Since starting at Dynamic, my role within the team is much more integrated than I first thought it was going to be. After being introduced to the different departments within the company, I was able to get stuck in to Storyline training and I was given work to do for real clients within my first week – something I thought would be stressful, but the people I work around made it so easy, answering any questions and taking time to show me how to do things I haven’t done before. The work that I was given was a rebrand from an old module to a new one for a company called HCA Healthcare UK. Using modules that had been made previously, I had to adapt the content for the new brand guidelines of this company, as well as make some of the interactions more modern and effective. This was a great introduction to the development workflow as this more basic task allowed me to get to grips with the development of a module, as well as everything around this such as following brand guidelines and uploading to our test LMS. Thanks to the support that is available and a constant flow of tasks, I feel that my skills are improving week on week which is boosting my confidence and making my work get better and better.

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HCA Healthcare UK Click to Reveal Interaction

Once I had finished working on HCA Healthcare UK, I went on to do some work for a leading supermarket. This was a surprise seeing as they’re such a well-known company, I was shocked that I was given the opportunity to work on such a big name as soon as this. The work was similar to that for HCA, where I was updating old modules to match their new brand guidelines and make the interactions more interesting for the learners. This allowed me to get used to different animations that can be used when presenting information and also different ways of presenting information to the user in an interactive way, in order for them to be physically involved in the learning process, instead of just reading text on a screen.

Now that I’m comfortable with using Storyline – which is the majority of my job role – I look forward to branching out in to other areas of the business and learning new skills, such as After Effects and a bit of JavaScript. This is being made possible through the people that work here, as everyone has various different skills and they are all willing to share their knowledge with you in order to further your creative experience.

Whilst the digital work I'm producing is interesting and improving constantly, I'm also lucky enough to take part in social activities with people from Dynamic. Playing in the weekly 5/6-aside football games has really helped me enjoy playing football again and I've also started learning to play the guitar (something I've been meaning to do for a good 10 years)! They even got me to wear a bow tie - I never thought that’d happen.

Overall, I've loved my time at Dynamic so far, meeting people that I love working with every day and starting a working relationship with an amazing company that I hope lasts a very long time! Roll on the next 5 months!

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