My First Product design Internship at Shunya, Summer 2020

Mayank Parnami
Intern, Product Design & Frontend
September 24, 2020
6 minutes
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I recently completed my product design intern at Shunya Inc. I must say, In the hard times (middle of the pandemic), it was one beautiful journey of two months, and I would like to share my experience.

“There is no reason why the future should only happen to a few people”

I was looking for an internship in the field of product design and frontend development. On LinkedIn, I got connected to Ekta, Founder of Shunya Inc. At Shunya, we were trying to build a product for improving the educational outcomes. The vision was simple ‘There is no reason why the future should only happen to a few people”.

My Role at Shunya

In startups, there is a lot of ambiguity, and you are trying to define both the problem that you can solve and how to solve it. We started with a lot of User interviews, building personas, experiments that we were doing to test those hypotheses, handling multiple tasks at once, and you have to do it with full efficiency to keep the progress going. It was a lot of pressure to keep so many things in the mind at the same time — and keep moving.

My role was to bridge the gap between engineering and product teams. At Shunya, I closely worked with both the sides, I was building Frontend with the engineering team, and at the same time, I was creating UX and UI with the product team.

My Experience at Shunya

Working at Shunya was the best learning experience I’ve ever had in my life, and overall, 2020 summers were the best for me. As an intern, I’ve learned a lot about both product design and Technical nuances to make it happen. The beauty of the startups, it makes you do the things that you couldn’t do in a short time, but you do not only end up doing things, you do it at high efficiency.

Ekta also used to set up the mentor calls, which helped us to remove the barriers from the building process and helped us ramp up faster. These were specialists, and she often used to learn, ask questions along with us, which was very encouraging.

At the start, I thought it would be challenging to work as a team virtually. But the long hours’ online meetings, Design sprint, Brainstorming session, etc. sorted everything out. We ended up as a strong team.

Our team was very diverse. There were people from various IITs(Indian Institute of Technology) and NIDs (National Institute of Design). I don’t have to mention every team member was pretty much excellent with the knowledge and skillset they carry with themselves. The team was very cooperative. We were always there to help each other out. I learned a lot from my team members and their experiences.

Besides just learning about the design and engineering of the product, I learned a lot about entrepreneurship and market. Big thanks to Ekta, She was always there to teach us. She is a great mentor. The best thing about Ekta is that she is ready to learn and share those learnings with the team. She shares her knowledge by any means possible, like sharing articles and videos on the product, market, startup stories, digital confidence, Next Billion Users, etc. or by meetings. The environment created by the Ekta was so powerful that I was always pushing myself to learn and get the most out of this intern.

She also doesn’t shy away from giving hard feedback, and looking back, my designs and approach were so much better because of that.

Some Random Snapshots

Ideating & designing the first version of the UI/UX
Analysing the results from user interviews & building persona's ahead of on-ground user testing

Usability study planning, execution & results for human centric design patterns

In conclusion

Working with the team at Shunya made me realize that I’m no where close to being a kick-ass designer, and that was worth it for me. I just gotta keep grinding. I learned with the best talent — and also learned how to collaborate more effectively, using our complimentary skill sets to achieve better outcomes as a team.

If you have the opportunity to work here, do it — I can’t recommend it enough. They have some of the most incredible people working on the product, combined with a unique culture that you won’t regret.