Article by Cameron Caldwell
By mhenrichsen | 06 Nov 2023
My time spent at the Scottish Government was both a demanding and rewarding experience. Having studied Interaction Design at Edinburgh Napier, I applied for the interaction designer role to challenge myself, building on the skills I had acquired during university.
The job description highlighted the user-centred methodology that the design system follows. The lecturers on my course preach the same processes so I looked forward to applying these in a working environment.
My role as an interaction designer was part of the design system team, who create static web assets for the Scottish Government and Scottish public bodies. The team is filled with talented interaction designers, user researchers and graphic designers. The team follow agile methodologies, including daily stand ups to ensure every member is on the same page.
The pinnacle of the placement was creating the Axure Component Library. This entailed developing numerous components, styles and patterns in line with the Digital Scotland specifications. I enjoyed this project because it will have a direct impact on public sector bodies, who will have easier access to professional website blocks. Knowing that my work is going to have a positive impact is an exciting and motivating prospect. For this reason, I would love to return to work in the public sector at some point in the future.
My experiences in this role have translated into several new skills that I can take into the future. My abilities using software such as Figma and Axure have skyrocketed – this will be crucial for subsequent interaction design roles. My confidence in presenting my work and receiving work has improved dramatically, and I feel more self-assertive following the placement. Lastly, my knowledge of agile methodologies has been boosted, not only within the design system, but also following the training session with SDA Learning Facilitator Jamie Wardlaw. This session highlighted the history of agile as well as the processes and practices of agile teams.
I plan on returning to the public sector at some point in the future, preferably within interaction design. I also have strong aspirations to work in UX Design as I enjoy populating my design portfolio with UX and UI based work. Overall, my experience within the Scottish Government has been rewarding. I have been honoured to have spent time within the Design System Team.
The placement enabled me to develop my customer service and support skills, and I gained a great deal of experience in solving a wide range of problems at very short notice. My public speaking skills have greatly improved, and my confidence in my own abilities has increased considerably.
I'm a student, currently studying for a BSc in Cybersecurity at Abertay University. My path into the cybersecurity world has been a unique one, having lived a former life as a Primary School Teacher for 5 years. I'll be entering the third year of my degree after this placement, so I'm relatively new to the field.
The goal of my research was to help the government understand existing analytical capacity, identify potential gaps, and forecast future hiring and training needs as data and evidence-based policymaking continue to grow in importance.