Anna Debenham: One of the questions that most young people ask me is “how do you get into this industry?” It’s a bit of a catch 22. To get a job in the industry, you need experience, but to get experience, you need to have worked in the industry.
Clearleft are offering a 10 week internship in the spring. This is an incredibly valuable opportunity to work with an award winning web agency alongside a group of amazing people. If you’re a web designer or aspiring user experience designer and would like to work in the coolest city for the coolest company in the UK, you’d be an idiot not to apply.
Don't worry if you've missed the deadline. Clearleft run the scheme every year, sometimes twice a year, so send in an application any time.
We asked Clearleft’s previous intern, Jon, to tell you a bit about what it involves, and what he got out of it in the end.
Jon Linklater-Johnson: When it comes to web design and development, I think the best way to learn how is to simply sit down and building stuff. Learning this way is tremendously rewarding, not only have you learnt a new skill but you have created a thing. Something you can show off and people can play with. But sometimes it can be tough, sometimes you get stuck, you get a super frustrating IE6 bug that now matter how much you mash around your code or google for obscure workarounds you just can’t seem to fix.
What if, when you sat down to build stuff, you happen to be sat down next to someone with years of experience, that has already made all the mistakes you are about to make, someone that knows the best way to debug that super frustrating IE6 bug and that you can turn to to ask them how they did it? Great learning opportunities like this can be hard to find but for ten weeks in 2009 I was lucky enough to do just this while I was an intern at Clearleft.
Doing an internship at Clearleft is probably one of the best things I have ever done. Okay, I’ll admit that I did make an obscene amount of tea, seal and put stamps on 50 envelopes, build some flat-pack furniture and get inside a cardboard box – the usual intern or work experience sort of duties – but this was a fraction of what I got to do. Most of the time I was working on real projects for real clients. From ideating with James and Paul to doing front-end builds with Natalie and Jeremy or trying out the latest version of Silverback with Andy. I had a go at bits of everything, learnt new skills and gained valuable experience.
Living in Brighton was also a fantastic experience all of its own. Brighton has a very active geek community and every week there are interesting events to go covering a broad range of subjects that attract people from a multitude of backgrounds. These are good networking opportunities but also a chance to make some great friends. I enjoyed my time in Brighton and working at Clearleft so much that I am going to be moving there to start freelancing!