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Emma Nicol

Career Path: User Experience Researcher, Department for Work & Pensions
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

I am a User Experience Researcher because I find it an extremely rewarding career. I’m able to help shape services, ensure that user needs are met and meet a lot of interesting people in the process.

What are you doing now?Emma Nicol

I work for the Department for Work and Pensions as a User Experience Researcher, my current project is looking at how we can make it easier for pension-aged citizens to claim the money they need.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I knew I wanted to study in design and digital so 'Interaction Design' at Northumbria sounded perfect. Newcastle is a great city with friendly people, at the time there was no other course like it in the area.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

My course didn't have a large class size (no more than 30 students) which meant I could easily get access to 1-1 support from my lecturers. It also meant that at some point I got to work with everyone in my class so by the end of the three years I had strong bonds and friendships. I had easy access to the library if I needed to work independently and the Students' Union if I needed a break from study, I loved how close everything was to each other.

How connected was your course with industry?

The best thing about my course was that each year we worked with different companies and charities which meant we were doing real client work. You come out with a great portfolio and experience so going from study to work wasn't a massive transition.

What was the best thing about your course?

What I loved the most about Interaction Design was how close I was to the lecturers and the people in my class. It made you want to put the time and effort in to really create some pretty awesome projects!

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do career-wise at Northumbria, other than I wanted it to be something design and digital related. The course allowed me to explore different areas of design which meant when I graduated I could go down multiple avenues.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Team work! Team work! Team work! Also how to handles deadlines and prioritise work.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

The friendships I made.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

Go have a look around, speak to the lecturers and previous graduates to see if it's a good fit for you.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Challenging, memorable and fun.

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