User Experience Design Agency

Memoirs of an intern

Memoirs of an intern

Jasper de Kroon (Rodesk UX developer)

Hi, my name is Jasper, and I’m an intern. As I’m writing this, my time at Rodesk is coming to an end. This journal post serves as a recap of my time here, hopefully showing the world how much I enjoyed the last five months here.

Wow, that went by crazy fast!  Which, to me, is an indicator of how much I enjoyed my time here. It doesn’t really feel like it’s been five months. At this point I feel fully integrated in the Rodesk culture and workflow and can bring my own knowledge and enthusiasm to the table. Hopefully this post will shed some light on my time here as well as the insights I gained.

First date

My first acquaintance with Rodesk was actually a presentation done by former intern Nick de Ronde on Rodesk. I had not heard of Rodesk before (I was actually only aware of the really large design agencies), but my curiosity was piqued!

My first personal experience with Rodesk was at the internship event at my school. Here I met Tom Harms (who back then was still an intern, working hard on getting a degree himself) and Laurens Boex at the speed date session and had a really great conversation with them. Rodesk already had my curiosity, but now it had my attention. This meeting resulted in an interview, which went rather well. Less than a week later, I was welcomed as the next Media Technology intern at Rodesk.

Rodesk already had my curiosity, but now it had my attention.

Before I started my internship, I visited the tribe on a friday, having beers and getting to know each other. I was pleasantly surprised that there were common interests between me and the Rodesk tribe members. This made these early conversations a lot less awkward than they would otherwise have been.

Learning the ropes

My internship started early september. I must admit, these first weeks were quite challenging. I came in after a long summer vacation, so I was pretty much unadjusted to anything related to getting out of bed early or hard work. Besides that, getting adjusted to the workflow was a little overwhelming at first. However, I eased in quite fast.

I got to learn the ropes here together with Beau. She is the UX Design Intern. We did some internal work on a new client questionnaire, in which she designed, and I developed. We also went through a slightly cold and windy photoshoot together for our pictures on the Rodesk website.

The first project I got to work on was ELP. The project was well underway, so a lot of work was done already, but I already got to build some interesting things. Of course, I had Bart and Tom as my backup, who gave my work the final approval.

The Maassilo on a cold and windy morning.

The Maassilo on a cold and windy morning.

Into the deep

After having learned the ropes, I got the chance to do more in depth work on several projects. I particularly enjoyed working on Strategic Design Book. This was a small project that went from concept to a finished product in just a couple of weeks. I had a far more important role on this project than I had on ELP, and I’m very proud of the website we delivered. It was also the first time I got to work a little more closely with Jonathan.

Part of the crew

Jonathan and I often sit together when I have questions transforming his designs to a final product. We discuss things like animations, the scaling of different elements on a page for different screen formats and when we’re having a break we talk about videogames. We both like the same games, so we can get a little geeky about those. When I have my game plan ready it’s time to do some coding.

Bart and Tom love kilobytes. They especially love having less of them on our websites. That’s why they often work together on improving our internal development kit by having it compile our code faster and more effective. Every kilobyte they can shave off of the final result is a small victory.

One of the things I enjoy most here is that I never feel like just an intern. I get included in important discussions, both internal and with clients. I’m constantly given the opportunity to work on big components for big projects. Basically, I’m given the trust which in turn motivates me, increasing my output in both quantity and quality.

A day in the life

A typical day starts with a standup session at the task board, where each tribe member lays out their plans for the day. When we’re having a sprint day, all of us work on the same project at the same time. This often leads to a considerable amount of measurable progress done in a single day. At the end of the day I cannot help but feel proud of the work we have all done.

Standup session with Kinderdijk

Standup session with Kinderdijk

Getting to work

After the daily standup, I get myself a nice cup of coffee (the coffee machine might just be the MVP at the studio, giving us all the energy to live through the day) and then I get to work. If I’m busy programming, chances are I have my trusty pair of headphones on. I just love programming and listening to music! While I usually listen to progressive rock and metal, two of my favourite music types, I have gotten some nice electronic music recommendations from Laurens, and I have even dabbled a bit in listening to Hip-Hop.

My morning survival kit

My morning survival kit

Lunch time!

When it’s time for lunch, the kitchen transforms into a salad bar, with only a couple of people eating bread (I’m one of them, salads are too healthy for me). It’s there where a lot of the interesting conversations take place. Whether it’s a humorous anecdote from Tom or Bart about their fitness school (they’re fitness bros), Jasper Rooduijn sharing his views of life or Jonathan proclaiming his love for Scarlett Johansson, lunches are always fun.

Live by the racket, die by the racket

After lunch, occasionally some of the Tribe members play a game of table tennis, usually Tom against Jonathan. Tom plays valiantly, but usually Jonathan ends up winning. This earned him the nickname of ‘Camping Boss’. EDIT: Since I’ve written this, Tom has scored his first real win against Jonathan. Could there be a new ‘Camping Boss’ on the rise? Sometimes it’s me against Tom or Jonathan, but either of them absolute annihilate me. I guess my talents lie somewhere else, or maybe I just need to practice. After that, it’s back to work.

Enjoying a cold one

On fridays, someone usually plays their music through the speakers, which results in a more relaxed atmosphere. From then on it’s finishing up the important work of the week, after which we crack open a cold one and slowly transcend to weekend mode.

It’s during one of these friday afternoons that Laurens and I got the idea of having a cultural session about beer. These cultural sessions are meant to inform the team about a certain topic, learning more about it, see if it can benefit Rodesk as a company and hopefully having a lot of fun in the progress. Since Laurens and I both very much enjoy beer (who doesn’t) but also really like the culture surrounding it we have decided to organize a cultural session about this subject together.

The trip to Paris

One of the absolute highlights of my internship was my trip with Tom and Bart to Paris for the DotCSS convention. Originally Jasper Rooduijn was supposed to go with them instead of me, but he had to cancel at the last minute, which lead to me going instead. It resulted in a very educational, active and enjoyable two days.

During these two days I got to know both Bart and Tom a lot better, which I really enjoyed. When the convention was done (you can read a lot more about that in this blogpost we previously made) we went on to explore Paris. Of course we visited the big landmarks like the Eiffel tower and the Louvre, but I especially enjoyed the Bastille area and the Père Lachaise cemetery, which although a little sinister, is a very unique and beautiful place.

It was actually Jasper van Orden who recommended Père Lachaise to me, which is very typical for him. He knows so many interesting places in so many cities. Really, if you’re visiting a modern city anytime soon, ask Jasper for the hotspots!

Enjoying our time in Paris

Enjoying our time in Paris

Jasper, Jasper & Jasper

Talking about Jasper, having three Jaspers can often be confusing. Somehow we haven’t figured out a way to give each Jasper a proper nickname. Bart gave Jasper Rooduijn the nickname ‘Jappie’, which might have worked out were it not that by now he also calls me and Jasper van Orden ‘Jappie’. So that didn’t really work. I will admit though that it has gotten a little less confusing somehow. You just learn to live with it.

Somehow we haven’t figured out a way to give each Jasper a proper nickname.

End of the year; new beginnings

Another highlight was the Rodesk Christmas Party, which had a small scope but was epicly enjoyable. Everyone was dressed a little more festive than usual (especially Bart, who had an awesome Christmas tie that played Jingle Bells if you pressed it). Tom and Laurens were responsible for the cooking, and they made a simple but delicious meal. Everyone got a nice Christmas present in the form of a book relevant to both their interests and their expertise. I got a book about algorithms featuring drawings of mice.

It was a nice moment recapping the year and the challenges the year brought with it. After Jasper van Orden’s small speech (he made it clear he hates long ones) dinner started and with it, the first beers of the evening (though certainly not the last). It was also Beau’s last day as an intern (her classes started earlier than mine), so it was nice to have her present as well.

The final weeks

Luckily I still had a month left. During this last month I got to work a lot on Kinderdijk, which I’m very proud of. I think it will turn out as one of the best websites Rodesk has ever made. That being said, there still is a lot of work to be done, but it will be very awesome.

With Kinderdijk we’re trying to implement an agile approach, which requires a lot more communications between departments and the client. It’s challenging, and it doesn’t always work yet, but we’re getting there. These kinds of change are best implemented one step at a time.

The last day

And so my time here as an intern is coming to an end. I have learned a great deal and developed a great relationship with the people of Rodesk. My time here has assured me that the path I’m on as a developer is the path for me. While I’m a little sad that I’m leaving, I’m also very enthusiastic of what lies ahead. I have a lot of great things planned for the rest of my education! I certainly plan on coming back to the tribe once in a while on friday afternoons for beers and fun.

Signing off,

Jasper de Kroon

Signing <span>off</span>,
Crossing my t's and dotting my i's
Bart van der Waerden
  • Bart van der Waerden
  • Journal /

Crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s

Today is Tuesday April 25 - a Tuesday unlike any of its namesakes I've seen over the past few years. Today is the last Tuesday I get to call myself a Rodesk UX developer. In fact, this is officially my last Tuesday ever spent as a Rodesk tribesman. Why, you ask? Well, today is the last day working here at Rodesk.

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