Working Corporate at State Farm
Every summer since high school, I interned, practicing UX design professionally to hone my skills and broaden my view of the industry. I’m familiar with small business and startup culture, but I wasn’t familiar with corporations. In tech circles, corporations were usually put down, while startups were praised. I figured before I made any assumptions, I should experience the corporate world. This summer, I interned at State Farm in Atlanta as an ISD intern.
Some background about State Farm and State Farm Atlanta: State Farm’s HQ is in Bloomington, IL, but recently expanded and opened hubs in major cities, one of them being Atlanta. Here, most State Farm design material (digital) is produced here, meaning that every app or webpage created by State Farm passed through here in some way. In the past, State Farm outsourced their design work to Razorfish, which they still do, but decided that they wanted to do most things in-house. This was the birth of the Integrated Solutions Department (ISD). This department houses UX-Ds, UX-As, DEAs, CDs, DVTS, and other lovely accronyms. I worked as a hybrid designer, doing both architecture and design work, and I gotta say, I enjoyed it.
Instead of going on-and-on about why I liked or disliked SF, I’ll just put it in a simple bulleted list:
- Diverse, friendly, interesting, and smart co-workers
- Collaborative workspace and culture
- Hands-off work mentality
- Designs empathetically
- Proactive when trying to help
- Got to see the workflow within a large work environment
- A good view from the 7th floor
- Can get a bit draggy
- Lotta red tape (typical among corporations)
- Behind on best practices (to be fair, ISD has only been around for a short time)
- Weak snack game
As a designer, corporate life didn’t seem too bad (I have heard otherwise in other departments) at State Farm, and I could see myself returning in the future. It excites me to think about the potential State Farm has for innovation, being so new. I still have a lot left to learn, so I’m going to keep exploring. Maybe I’ll try consulting next.