At the beginning of her university career, Katherine Carras vowed to never repeat a co-op placement. However, this summer she found herself working at Kik for the second term in a row.
Why the change of heart? Katherine cites a unique design challenge - Kik Codes, as the main reason for coming back.
I knew that this would be the project that really launched my design career, just because of the sheer magnitude of the feature
Katherine, a Systems Design Engineering student, was told that if she were to return to Kik for another four months, she would have the unique opportunity of taking on the role of lead designer on a major product feature. When Katherine started her co-op term, the only part of Kik Codes that was finished was the code under the hood - she was responsible for creating everything else.
From conducting user experience research, wireframing, designing interfaces and creating animations to user testing and tweaking the final product - Katherine had full creative rein over every design decision.
Designing a feature for a chat app with over 240 million registered users was also awesome for me; having that kind of exposure at 20 years old is incredible.
Like many other Waterloo students, Katherine appreciates the ability to apply some of her classroom knowledge to projects in the workplace.
Personally, I find I do the most learning while on my co-op terms. Applying the skills I’ve acquired in school to solve problems for a company is a really unique exercise that challenges my abilities and helps me grow.
Katherine leaves some words of wisdom for other students, suggesting that they pursue jobs that are challenging while at the same time in line with their interests.
A year ago, I had no idea design would be the career I fell in love with, but I took a chance and decided to try it out.
Katherine recently wrote a blog post that goes into more depth on her story, so make sure to check it out for a more personal take.