A Summer to Remember

Anam Bhatia
Sep 28, 2019 · 4 min read

My experience as a UX Research Intern at Cisco Webex

After a long and tedious job hunt, I had finally gotten the opportunity to work as a UX Research Intern at one of the leading tech companies in the world. It was a chance for me to gain quality industry exposure and learn from some of the most experienced professionals in the field. Both excited and anxious, I stepped into the office determined to work my hardest and make the most of this opportunity. Now, as I look back upon the 12 weeks I spent here, the projects I worked on and the people I worked with, I can confidently say that this experience has played a significant role in both my personal and professional development.

Some office candids

Working with a small but growing team of researchers, I was fortunate to not only work on one but three diverse projects over the course of my internship. Although these projects were really interesting and fun to work on, they did come with their own set of challenges.

For instance, the project I started out with was a quantitative benchmark and coming in, I had absolutely no prior experience working on a quant-focused study. I soon realized that the best way for me to move forward was to take help from people around me, learn on the fly and get regular, constructive feedback on my progress. This not only helped me successfully complete the project but also taught me the importance of shedding my ego, asking for help and learning from others around me.

The work I did here also made me realize how important it is to take responsibility and always be prepared for unexpected obstacles that could potentially delay the progress of a project. My final study, for instance, involved interviewing blue-collar workers to understand their collaboration needs. When the recruiter failed to provide us with the right interview participants after struggling for 2 weeks, I was concerned if we would be able to complete the project on time and had no idea what my next steps should be. Should I ask the recruiter to keep on trying or take matters into my own hands? Is it even my problem to solve? Finally, after a discussion with the team, I decided that the quickest way to tackle this issue would be to recruit participants on our own using online tools such as Craigslist and Linkedin. Within a couple of days, I received a number of emails from people who wanted to be a part of this study. We were able to both recruit and interview the desired demographic within a week and complete the project a few days before the deadline.

With the team

Work aside, I was really lucky to be a part of a team that cared so much about my growth as a UX researcher. I was encouraged to sit in and observe job interviews of prospective full-time researchers, attend UX networking events and even take part in Hackathons at Cisco. I was also greatly impressed by the team’s desire to learn and improve upon their research skills. The weekly team meetings where we would discuss research tools, concepts, and methodologies, and how we can incorporate them into a product’s research lifecycle were a big part of this learning experience.

My last day at Cisco

All in all, this summer at Webex not only helped me understand what it takes to be a successful UX researcher but also taught me the importance of collaboration and constructive feedback to get better at what you do.

I had the most wonderful time here with The Design Group and I would really miss working alongside such talented people. I hope to see you all again in the near future.

Thank you so much for the memories.

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