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Illustration of a school backpack and a briefcase balancing on a scale as a visual accompaniment to a blog post on work experience at a website agency

A week in the life: Neve's work experience

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One week working with the team at Atomic Smash

“I am Neve Roche, and at the time of writing this blog post, I’m 14 years old and in year 10 at school. I did work experience with Atomic Smash in June 2023 for one week.

Day one, I worked through an accessibility course. It was supposed to take 4 hours but I completed it in an hour and a half. It was simple and informative – Woody was surprised I finished it so fast.

Woody is the projects UX/UI designer and was my mentor for the week. He was very down to earth and answered all the questions I had, even though some must have been a little dense. As well as Beth who is another designer – she was really nice and gave me lots of cool extensions to add to my browser.

At the end of day one, Woody signed me up to a UX design course which was supposed to take four weeks. I got to week four on only day three with Atomic Smash. Easy. The course helps me understand the basic ins and outs of UX design.

On day three, Woody arranged chats for me to get to know more of the people in Atomic Smash. I found it enriching to learn about the business and it opened up a whole new world I hadn’t known much about. Previously, I had only picked up a couple phrases from hearing my Dad speak about it as he is also a designer.

And then entered Mohd.

He is an intern at Atomic Smash and introduced me to Figma, a website used to design websites, animations and more. Woody and Mohd showed me how to improve everyday websites to make them more accessible. For me, I found it very insightful. Now I am constantly trying to find how objects can be improved to make them more accessible. I even thought about a chair. A table. One of those ironing boards, those things are very awkward.

Before working with Atomic Smash, I wasn’t particularly interested in UX/UI design itself. I didn’t know much about it previously, but I learnt as the week went on. I wanted to understand how a team worked together and the experience of working in an office. And that’s why, admittedly, at the beginning I hadn’t thought much about what Atomic Smash actually does.

Atomic Smash is a website performance agency that helps their clients evolve and grow. My interests have always leaned to the creative side but I didn’t realise how much creativity is involved in this type of work. It is all about finding new solutions and designing those solutions. And there is so much thought that goes into building websites, which only now I am realising.

Experiencing a working week with Atomic Smash first-hand means I’ve seen the care put into their work and how brilliant the company is. Learning about a whole new industry of work has been exciting for me. I’m a bit of a nerd if it wasn’t already clear. I found this experience to be tiring (as I am not used to it) but interesting and fun.

One thing that surprised me was that I hadn’t comprehended how green Atomic Smash is. They prioritise low carbon emissions and point companies to green servers, and carbon offsetting. In my school, I am the co-leader of our climate action team. Discovering that being eco-friendly is one of Atomic Smash’s values was amazing.

In the future, I would like to pursue a creative occupation that also benefits the climate. Even though my career aspirations are different to the services at Atomic Smash, I got a sense of how teams work together, how Atomic Smash makes things happen, and the process of finding clients. The lessons I gained from this work experience can be applied to lots of other career paths as well.

Over days three to five, I talked more with the different members of the team to understand their job roles. I also started designing a bit myself. Mohd gave me something to redesign to make it more accessible and the design turned out quite well considering I am new to it all. During the afternoon of day four, Mohd taught me how to do basic animations.

I learned a lot with Atomic and I will use the skills for my future jobs. The team is so nice and I didn’t feel nervous at all.”