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Craftzing people: How our intern Tommy became our next promising UX designer

Last spring, we welcomed Tommy as a UX design intern at Craftzing. After working as a student over the summer, he’ll start as our newest full-time UX designer in October. As a real team player who’s eager to learn, he couldn’t have been a better match.

Why did you choose to do your internship at Craftzing?
It was actually one of my lecturers who advised me to get in touch with Craftzing. I was studying Multimedia & Creative Technology at KDG Hogeschool in Antwerp and Craftzing’s work matched with what I wanted to do. During the interview there was an immediate mutual connection so I was super excited when I got the news that I could start my internship in April.

In Multimedia & Creative Technology, you come into contact with a lot of facets of media technology. Why did you choose UX design?
During my studies, I developed a strong interest in both UX and UI design. Both creating the structure and flow of the ideal user experience and its visual elaboration really appealed to me. When I started my internship, it was not yet entirely clear to myself which path I wanted to take: UX or UI design. Fortunately, Craftzing gave me the freedom to do both, which allowed me to expand my knowledge in both areas. By bringing the things I had learned into practice, I got a much better idea of what I like and what my strengths are. That is precisely the great added value of an internship.

"At Craftzing, I got the chance to do both UX and UI design, which taught me many new things about both domains. Applying my knowledge in practice gave me a much better idea of what I like and what my strengths are."

Tommy Buelens, UX designer

How were your first days at Craftzing?
The first days were very exciting and interesting. As an intern, you are welcomed like any other employee at Craftzing, which is nice! I received a warm welcome from the office manager Louise and a welcome pack. The COO Warre gave me an extensive introduction to the company and introduced me to my personal mentor and UX designer Elise. She explained in detail the project I would be working on. Last but not least, when you start new at Craftzing you get to choose what to eat at lunchtime. Little things like these made me feel welcome immediately.

Which project was assigned to you?
The Smart Borders project of the federal government's Immigration Department. If I had to explain it in one sentence, it is a kind of digital passport that keeps track of exactly when you have been in which country and for how long. The main goal of the project was to improve the user experience by bringing uniformity in the different tools of the Immigration Department. A very interesting project that I worked on mainly with my internship mentor Elise. 

"My internship mentor Elise gave me a lot of freedom and confidence to do my own thing and involved me 100% in the project. This made me feel like an actual UX designer rather than just an intern."

Tommy Buelens

What was your role in the project?
At first I thought I would only be allowed to follow along from the sidelines, as it sometimes happens during internships. Surprisingly, Elise gave me a lot of freedom and confidence to do my own thing and I was 100% involved in the project. This made me feel more than an intern but a full-fledged UX designer. 

What did you remember most about your internship at Craftzing?
The new turn my thesis took thanks to the insights I gained here. I was initially not supposed to work on the project during my internship days but everyone was immediately open to help. I could directly apply the things I learned to my project: working differently and more efficiently in Figma, handling user interviews differently, and so on. I am convinced that my internship really took my thesis to a higher level. My project eventually won first prize. An achievement I am very proud of.

Tommy's thesis project: Fridge.

My thesis project was a UX/UI case called Fridge. With Fridge., I designed an app that combats food waste and makes sure you don't have to throw half a fridge in the bin every week. In the trailer below, you can see a teaser of what the app would look like once it goes into development.

For what reasons would you recommend an internship at Craftzing to your fellow students?
You get a basis of trust and freedom here where you can only learn things. Looking back at how much I myself have grown over the last six months compared to my fellow students, I really do notice a difference. Not only professionally thanks to the technical knowledge I have gained from my colleagues but also on a personal level. 'Teamwork makes the dream work' can be taken quite literally at Craftzing. During my studies, I was used to always working alone on projects. At Craftzing, I suddenly had a team around me to work with and to whom I could turn. This was quite a pleasant surprise for me. At the same time, it was a learning experience to see how closely teams work together. So I can definitely say that my teamwork skills have grown. 

"It was very interesting to see how Tommy evolved over the period. We also really saw from his work that he had a good grasp of the concepts and methods."

Elise Ulens, UX designer

How did the internship better prepare you for the job market?
Mainly by giving me the chance to be involved in the projects as much as possible and embracing me as a full employee of Craftzing. Was it how I expected it to be? No, not really. But I came here with an open mind to learn as much as possible. If you ask me if that mission succeeded, yes, 100%. After my internship, I got the chance to gain even more experience within UX and UI design as a job student at Craftzing. It goes even further than that. In October I will start as a UX designer at Craftzing. I couldn't have imagined a better all-round experience!

What energises you outside of work?
In the summer, I love going to festivals. If I can't be found there, chances are I'm off somewhere visiting friends all over Europe. I met a lot of really nice people during my Erasmus in Germany, so I try to visit them as much as possible. Reading a good book is also something I can really enjoy. Especially if it's Harry Potter! Travelling and reading broadens your horizons and I do think that's important.

By Michele Stynen

Digital Marketeer