Karima Saad studied MA Interactive Media at London College of Communication.
What made you chose LCC? What had you been doing before?
I chose LCC because I have always heard great things about it, I also quite liked that it was part of the University of the Arts, which meant great access to resources/libraries on other campuses as well as amazing tutors.
Before joining LCC I was at University College for the Creative Arts in Maidstone, Kent. It was there that I completed a BA (Hons) in Visual Communications: Graphic Design.
And what specifically interested you about User Experience? Was it always on your radar?
It was during my final BA year that we started looking at Web Design and I started becoming interested in designing digital experiences. The market crash in 2008 worked in my favour too, because there weren’t that many graduate jobs, and it was then that I decided to join a Masters course and to gain more knowledge. The course I joined was MA Interactive Media; it was one of the first in the UK that covered the topic of User Experience (UX).
Did you enjoy the MA?
I enjoyed every part of it! The course content was great, we learned so much through practice on projects, and the way the course was delivered was very interesting too. One of the best parts of the experience was the people I met on the course – some of us still meet regularly and share our experiences in the industry. A challenge was the dissertation, possibly because writing is not my strongest point.
What did you do after graduating? (Agencies, in-house, freelancing)
Shortly right after graduating I applied for a graduate role at a large digital agency, LBi, in London. My application was successful and I worked with them for about a year before I moved to their Stockholm office for three years. I then moved back to the UK and decided to work in-house for the Guardian for two years to see how it differed from agency work. I then decided to try Freelancing for two years before I settled into my current role at Red Badger, a digital consultancy that specialises in helping companies through their digital transformations. We do this by showing our clients better design and delivery methods.
Any tips for getting noticed?
Network, maintain contact with people you have worked with (linkedin), attend events, and speak at events.
Advice would you give for those looking to get into freelancing…
Get your portfolio and CV ready before you start reaching out to your network or recruiters. Once you have a few promising leads or a potential start date, quit your current job, but make sure you have one or two months of savings in case signing a contract takes a while.
What challenges did you face when setting up on your own and how did you overcome them?
Understanding how setting up a company works and taxes. There are a lot of elements to learn and I now know why it’s important to have a really good accountant and not feel bad about spending money on them!