An interview with Martine McGrath, Junior Designer at SaltDNA.
Time with the company: 1 Year and 7 months
I discovered SaltDNA during my search for a placement nearly two years ago. As this would be my first job in the design industry I stressed about finding somewhere I would feel comfortable in. This lead me to search for typical design agencies, mostly web or graphic. It wasn't until the position at SaltDNA became available that I realised unfamiliar opportunities could offer new experiences, knowledge and skills.
With little knowledge of the cybersecurity industry, i'll admit researching SaltDNA and attending the interview was a little intimidating. After my interview however, I was intrigued by what they were doing, the opportunities they could offer me, and the push that would benefit me as a designer. During my visit I didn't experience typical office vibes or strict formality which was another factor that influenced my decision in choosing SaltDNA.
Working at SaltDNA continues to be a learning journey for me. I'm continuously gaining new knowledge and skills. From day one i've been given projects that require tasks I have no or little experience of. Although tasks may be assigned to you individually, there is always someone willing to offer guidance and help. The team at SaltDNA understand placement is the time to develop and grow whichever department you may be in.
I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to continue working part-time at SaltDNA whilst completing my final year at University. Although it is stressful at times balancing both it's easier when you enjoy coming to work. It gives me the chance to work on other projects and tasks rather than just university work. It's also beneficial I can apply knowledge i've gained from working at SaltDNA to University work and vice versa.
The creative freedom and ownership of projects SaltDNA give you is great, especially for placement students. The work is flexible enough that I can apply my own style and interests. Having done or been involved in such large tasks has had a huge impact on my confidence and overall work pace and quality. Gaining this experience has definitely reduced the intensity of final year and provided me with insights and preparation for the real world after University.
The office culture and amicable coworkers at SaltDNA is a huge perk. The relaxed atmosphere created by such a friendly and intelligent team makes work more than just a job and more like an enjoyable hobby. It motivates you to strive for success not just for yourself but the team and company.
Definitely, placement year is like a bonus year. SaltDNA was and continues to be a journey packed with hard work, rewarding experiences and fun. Placement was an optional module on my course, but i'm extremely glad I completed it, and grateful for the experience. I would have missed out on so much that has benefited me during my final academic year and the years to come after University. SaltDNA will give you first hand practical experience within a professional environment and contribute greatly to both your professional and personal development.
Firstly, if you have little knowledge or experience of the Cybersecurity Industry, don't rule it out. Challenging yourself is the best method for rapid development in your career. The Cybersecurity Industry is a steep learning curve, be prepared and confident to ask questions and seek advice. Learn to reach out when you need help. I have a tendency to sprint ahead and attempt to solve problems myself, this is something i've previously been used to. Take advantage of the team surrounding you. Being in an open office space like SaltDNA enables you to have input from the entire team. The quicker you do this, the quicker you will understand, develop and gain a greater skill set.
Also be eager to consume content, whether it's from your team, talks or blogs. If you do so you'll stay up to date and be able to apply this information to your work and produce better results.