Is A Career In Tech Right For You?

The tech industry has been booming for the last few decades. The industry composes of a quarter of the S&P500 (CNBC), an index based on the market capitalizations of the 500 largest companies in the US stock market.

joseph crafting cocktails at prohibition at rosewood hotel georgia
My life was about crafting cocktails before crafting digital experiences.

Is A Career In Tech Right For You?

You might be asking, who am I and why should you consume anything that I say? Despite being in my twenties, I’ve explored many different careers in the past from sports, hospitality, finance before making the transition into the tech industry. I haven’t looked back since and here’s why:

work anywhere

The Criteria

After venturing different career paths, I found that a fulfilling career needs to meet the following criteria:

  • Opportunity. The career needs an opportunity for me to grow intellectually. I needed to take on more responsibilities, create value in the marketplace in order to be compensated more and eventually start my own business.
  • Freedom. Over the years, I’ve identified that my core needs are to be both emotionally and financially free. My goal is to have the freedom to do what I want without any constraints. A career in tech can provide that. I can grow within the company, start my own business, and work location-independently as all I need is an internet connection.
  • Fun. What’s What’s the point of doing anything if it’s not fun? Even though it’s a grind, you must enjoy the process. There is no exception and that applies to all aspects of life!
guy working on his computer at night
Burning the midnight oil

The Truth

It’s easy to get caught up with images on social media of people working at a beach in Thailand while sipping on coconuts. It seems too good to be true and what goes behind the scenes are often neglected. Here is some truth about working in the tech industry:

  • The Grind. Working in the tech industry is a grind. Whether you’re at an agency, a startup or an established corporate company, a heavy workload will be expected of you. But what about the table tennis, foosball and the workout rooms onsite? They are available to set your mind off work for a while so that you can get right back to it!
  • Continuously Learning. You’ll never fully master your job. Why? It’s because technology is so rapidly changing. From the tools of the trade to the user preferences, things are ever-changing and should you stop learning, you will eventually become obsolete from the workforce. Therefore, you become a lifelong learner and improve continuously.
  • You Must Deliver. Freedom comes at a cost and it is the ability to deliver and provide results. It doesn’t matter if you’ve worked overtime or all weekend to solve a problem. There’s only one way to track performance and it is your ability to produce results.

Here’s How To Get Started

I hope that the last section didn’t discourage you too much because the benefits by far outweigh the costs. Wondering where to start? Here are some tips:

  • Find Your Place In Tech. Whether you’re seeking a role as a Marketer, Designer, Developer, Content Writer or a Project Manager, there’s a place for you in tech. For example, I became a User Experience Designer because I was interested in human behaviour and how we interact with things. Take a crash course and find professionals that are already doing what you want to do on Linkedin and invite them out for a coffee chat! People are generally friendly and willing to help out. All you have to do is ask.
  • Education. Teaching yourself to enter the industry sounds very appealing as it doesn’t cost much. The truth is that being motivated to teach yourself to the point that an employer is willing to give you a try is very unlikely. I tried this myself by taking courses on Lynda.com and other resources like Free Code Camp and YouTube tutorials, but I was never confident enough to break into the industry.
  • What I resolved was to take a 3-month intensive bootcamp at RED Academy to become a designer. Was it expensive? Yes, but it was worth it because it shortened my learning curve to break into the industry faster than if I were to teach myself. Because it’s such a booming industry, training courses are offered everywhere from universities, private schools to online courses. Be fully intentional if you decide to enroll in these courses because it’s all about how you leverage these programs to enter the industry, not their ability to train you and get you the job. Take full responsibility for your own destiny and go for it!
  • Document And Publish. This ties into the last point about education: as you learn, you’ll be creating. Document and publish work even if it’s not complete! Get your work out there for the world to see. When you’re trying to break into the industry, most companies hire based on how ambitious you are and if it’s worth their time investing in you to learn and grow. At the very minimum, they will take the foundation of your technical skills into consideration when making the decision to hire you.

What Are You Waiting For?

Dale Carnegie once said “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” It’s so easy to get caught in your head and wonder the what if’s. Instead, try it and fail. Learn from it, try again, fail again, and you’ll eventually succeed.

I’ll end with a story of my journey into the industry to demonstrate the above paragraph. Two years ago, I quit my full-time job as a Financial Advisor to enroll in a 3-month tech bootcamp. The course was thousands of dollars and I was unemployed for the first six months coming out of the program. I was offered an internship position at ElementIQ and I was hesitant to accept the offer as I believed that I could do better. A year and a half later, I’m still with the company and learned tonnes in the process. In hindsight, I’m glad that I took action to create an opportunity and prove myself instead of passively waiting for it to happen to me.

I’m no guru and I didn’t have any design background (let alone the foundation in art) when I came into the industry. If someone like me can successfully break into the tech industry, you can too!

Want To Jumpstart Your Career In Tech?

Apply to ElementIQ’s Internship Program Today!

Three Things I’ve Learned About Myself As A Digital Marketing Intern

camera and laptop on a desk

I’m just over a month into my internship at ElementIQ, and I’ve gone through some pretty big changes as a person in that time.

First off, this has been my first “real adult 9 to 5 job”, so that’s come with its own set of realizations. After having spent the last two years in film school, and the years before that working construction, landscaping, retail, and every other entry-level, no experience needed job out there, for the first time I feel like I’m on a promising career path. That’s pretty exciting (to me, at least). 

While I was expecting professional growth, I’ve also run into some changes that go deeper than my skillset.

 

#1 – I Had To Become Organized Or Fall Behind Fast.

very organized library
This is what my brain had to become.

Admittedly, I’m not the most organized person. Never have been. I’m more of a ‘leave it until the last minute and get everything done in an anxiety-fueled manic sprint’ kind of person.

My college years involved more 4 AM nights than is even remotely healthy for an individual. While this method worked and got me through the program with half-decent grades, it wasn’t something I wanted to continue, mainly for the sake of my own health. (Do you know how dangerous lack of sleep is? I didn’t until I looked into it. Now I’m terrified of not getting enough sleep. Start here.)

If there’s one way working at an agency differs compared to working for a brand, it’s the amount of work you’ll be doing for a variety of clients. While I learned to juggle a variety of projects at BCIT (and our course load was no joke), it’s a whole lot different when the work you’re putting out is affecting someone’s bottom line.

Disorganization just doesn’t cut it in an agency environment. To stay on top of your workload, you need tools. One of the biggest eye-openers was when I got introduced to the various project management and task tracking platforms we use. I was nervous seeing what it would take. I’ve never been this organized, and I knew I had to adapt quickly or fall behind and jeopardize myself.

So I did. I killed the old, disorganized me, and boy, it feels good.

I’ve been doing my best to be disciplined and log all my time, stay ahead of late tasks, and get help when I need it. This has also directly affected my personal life, as I’m becoming a more organized person. I used to be known in my friend circle as the guy who’s always late for everything, but now I come to work 20 minutes early most days and I love it.

 

#2 – Imposter Syndrome Is Real (But I Might Not Actually Be One).

“Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.”

Our current team is six people, plus two remote specialists. Each person brings such a different skill set, that in unity, we’re able to cover a lot of bases. Given my film school background and very minor education in digital marketing, I knew there were some things I could bring to the table, but I still wasn’t sure how I was going to fit in the puzzle and be a valuable team member.

What if I’m not good enough to do the job?

I was pretty nervous to see how things would play out, but those feelings were laid to rest when I sat down with Vikram on my first day and was shown my roadmap.

The first 8 weeks consist of a different mentor teaching you a new area of digital marketing each week. After each 101, you’re quickly assigned to work on a client project, utilizing what you just learned. Jumping into work that is meaningful (and affects a clients’ bottom line) has been incredibly fun. This approach is a fantastic way to figure out what you like and what you’re good at early on.

The second half of the internship is more intensive, as you decide on your primary and secondary responsibilities and take on a pet project of your own. While I haven’t gotten there yet, I’m excited to lead a creative project and really hone in on the type of marketer I want to become.

I honestly think ElementIQ has a really unique internship program. You’re doing meaningful work (I still haven’t gotten anyone coffee), and are spending a lot of time learning. It’s essentially school with real clients. I’m excited to watch myself grow and see how I can contribute down the road.

 

#3 – My Opinion And Creative Direction Is Encouraged.

white guy drawing on white board
This is not me. We just look similar.

I love strategy.

I love sitting down, auditing a brand, and coming up with creative ways to tell their story.

I’ve had the chance to sit down for a few strategy meetings with colleagues so far, and each time has been remarkably mentally satisfying.

Best of all, when I have an idea about how something could be improved, not only do I feel like my opinion is welcome, but if it’s a legitimate solution to a problem, it gets implemented.

I’m a big believer that discussing tricky subjects is better than dishonest harmony (though I also give better advice than I follow). It’s fantastic when egos can be put aside and critique is encouraged for the sake of better work.

I feel I can really grow as a marketer at ElementIQ, due to the fact that I’m actually trusted to experiment, try things the way I think they could work, and own the results. There’s always help if I ask for it, but I have the freedom to take ownership of tasks as I see fit.

Is there a better, more efficient way to approach something we do often? I can go ahead and create a manual for that. Is there an outdated page that could use a touch-up? I’m free to tackle that myself.

There are many ways to step up to the plate and take projects to the next level. At its core, it seems that many of ElementIQ’s foundations are built on pillars of self-initiative.

As I mentioned earlier, I come from a blue-collar background where you’re usually waiting for someone to tell you what to do all day. Giving employees the freedom to approach situations as they see fit is a fantastic policy that has only boosted my confidence in my own skills, both in and out of work.

 

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a mentally stimulating career that isn’t going anywhere, consider digital marketing. With all the noise that’s generated every day, the ability to create content that people care about is becoming increasingly valuable. Learning how to do that is my obsession, and I’m forever thankful ElementIQ is taking a chance by giving me a shot.

ElementIQ Internship: Malika’s First Week

Why Digital Marketing?

When I graduated from university in May 2017, I felt overwhelmed and confused, unsure about what I wanted to do next. I studied International Relations at a small liberal arts college near Los Angeles, and while I loved my major, I knew I wanted to try something different for a bit.

I decided to pursue digital marketing because I love writing. As an International Relations major, I spent most of my university career conducting research and writing long papers. When I graduated, I was uncertain about many things. However, one thing I knew is that I wanted to incorporate writing into whatever career path I chose.

After talking to many people in different industries, I decided that digital marketing was right for me. I could put my love of writing to good use and work to promote brands on social media platforms, two prospects that excite me greatly. I subsequently decided to enrol in the Digital Marketing Professional Program at RED Academy.

After completing my program at RED, I applied to countless jobs. I saw a post in a RED Alumni group from Joseph about the ElementIQ internship program and decided to try my luck and apply. After two interviews, I was lucky enough to be offered a position, which I immediately accepted!

 

Day 0 – Monday June 4

I arrived at CMPNY, a co-working space in Coquitlam, ready to begin my day. I live quite far from Coquitlam and am unfamiliar with the area, so I left my house at 7:30am, as I didn’t want to be late on my first day. Instead of being late however, I was extremely early, so I decided to walk around for a bit before heading inside.

The first thing we did at 9:08am was the Daily Huddle. Every day from 9:08-9:23am, we check in to discuss our wins (personal or professional), blockers (things preventing us from completing our work), big rocks (big tasks/schedule for the day), and chatter (other work-related topics).

As well, a different person is assigned to share a quote every morning. Lincoln shared the following quote, which I really liked:

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” -Muhammad Ali

While I was initially confused about the Huddle’s structure, I appreciated the fact that everyone came together to start their day on the same page. I realized that the team is given a lot of autonomy in completing tasks, which makes the Huddle important for communicating with each other.

For the rest of the day, I learned more about ElementIQ and was given access to some of the online tools the company uses, such as Slack, Quip, and Teamwork. While I already had experience with Slack, I was excited to learn more about Quip and Teamwork, both of which help the team stay organized.

Teamwork is very efficient for completing tasks, as it facilitates  tracking of what needs to be done and what has already been completed. It also allows the team to log time and assign action items to specific people.

Day 1 – Tuesday June 5

On my official first day, after the Daily Huddle, Lincoln gave me an introduction to Digital Marketing. He explained a bit about the different digital marketing channels that Element IQ focuses on (SEO, Social Media, Paid Advertising, Content). I had already been exposed to these channels during my time at RED, but I enjoyed hearing his perspective and learning about ElementIQ’s work specifically.

After lunch, he gave me an overview of all of ElementIQ’s clients and let me do some of my own research. I learned that most of EIQ’s clients are in the dental and cosmetic industries, which I don’t have a lot of experience with. Nevertheless, I was excited to read about coolsculpting and dental services, and am looking forward to deepening my knowledge on these areas.

As well, I was given my first client task! I had the opportunity to help Greg and Sagar write captions for Instagram and Facebook posts, which I had a lot of fun with.

 

Day 2 – Wednesday June 6

My first remote day! I joined the Huddle on Zoom at 9:08am, from a cafe in Downtown Vancouver. After that, I had the whole day to continue researching clients and reading an Introduction to Digital Marketing that Lincoln had sent me.

While I was initially kind of nervous about the prospect of remote work, I found that I liked being able to complete my tasks wherever I wanted. It was nice to not commute. As well, I often get tired of routine, so I appreciated the change of scenery.

Day 3 – Thursday June 7

Back in the office! Lincoln showed me Sweet Process, a tool that EIQ uses to record all of the company’s processes and procedures. At first, I was a bit confused about the difference between a process and procedure. I learned that a process is the overarching task that you need to complete, and the procedures are the steps you must take to complete the process. I spent the rest of the day looking through EIQ’s processes and trying to familiarize myself with Sweet Process.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I had an awesome first week. I liked getting to know the team and learning about EIQ’s approach to digital marketing. While I am a bit more familiar with digital marketing concepts than some past interns, I know I still have a lot to learn. As well, Lincoln mentioned that I might be doing client work a bit earlier because of my background, which I am super excited about! I can’t wait to see how the rest of my internship plays out.

ElementIQ Internship – Kevin’s First Week

Kevin’s first week at EIQ

Lets back it up…

After finding out that Film and business school wasn’t for me, I found a tech school that offered various tech programs where I signed up for the full-time web and app development program at RED Academy which admittedly was one of the best choices I’ve ever made as I’ve always felt that the traditional school system was a little “broken”.

The program ended in December where I started doing freelance work and running my own team of designers/devs. Browsing, I stumbled across Joseph’s post on the schools facebook alumni group about an internship program at ElementIQ. I was a little hesitant at first when applying. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to grow as a developer in a marketing agency. But, I gave it a shot anyways. During the interviews, I came to realize that ElementIQ was big on personal growth which was very reassuring. Joseph emailed me a few days after offering me an internship position which I gladly accepted.

ElementIQ’s Internship Program

Day 0

I made my way into Spacekraft, a coworking space out in burnaby, where I was greeted by Joseph and 2 other interns, Greg and Sagar, who were also starting the same day.

We started off by getting a walk through of the spacious building then getting right into the tools that ElementIQ uses such as Slack, Teamwork and Quip.

After getting to know more about the company, we were treated to lunch at a restaurant right around the corner. We bonded over lunch as we got to know more about each other. After lunch we discussed a little more about what goes on at ElementIQ and ended the day early.

Day 1

We started our day with the daily huddle where we talked about wins, blockers, big rocks and chatter. It’s nice to have these daily meeting as it keeps everyone on the same page.

Lincoln joined us that day where he took us into one of the meeting rooms and gave us a lesson on the basics of digital marketing and how ElementIQ uses these techniques.

After lunch we had a group session where we brokedown the current ElementIQ website and pointed out what could be improved. It was nice to see how everyone’s thought process worked.

We broke up our tasks and started tinkering with the site.

Day 2

Our first remote day. It was a little weird getting straight into working remotely. I’ve done a lot of freelancing where I would work remote but this was a totally different feel, although Im essentially doing the exact same thing!

We did our morning huddle and broke down what we were going to do for the day. I picked up where I left off from yesterday, cleaning up what I can on the the site and trying to improve its page speed.

Lunch came around and I decided to head out to my local coffee shop where I usually work out of when freelancing. The familiar atmosphere and the delicious coffee definitely got me going for the rest of the day where I finished off most of the tasks that I was assigned.

It was a pretty relaxing day.

Day 3

Back in the office… a different office.

Since it was CMPNY Coquitlams 1 year anniversary, the team decided to head out over there to work for the day and enjoy the festivities that followed.

I had to admit, the Coquitlam location was very nice. It wasnt much bigger than the Burnaby location but it felt like it had a bit more to offer. They had meditation rooms for relaxing, hammocks for snoozing and larger meeting rooms!

 

We did our usual huddle, this time sam and Vikram joined us over Zoom, a video conference tool. It was nice to see almost everyone join us for the huddle that day, felt like the team was coming together.

Lincoln ran us through a few of ElementIQ’s clients and explained to us how each of them operate and what types of services they needed. He also told us a lot of funny stories that the team has encountered while working for clients.

The rest of the day, I finished up my tasks and got to relax a little before the event that was taking place after work in the main area.

They had food and drinks laid out and a giant jenga game which me and Sagar battled it out in a couple of intense games. I had to leave a little early since I had to go to a dinner afterwards. I wished I could have stayed a little longer to talk with everyone there and bond more with the team.

Day 4

TGIF … and another remote day!

I started my day off with doing the huddle with the team while in bed, where I came to learn that one of the clients had some email issues which I was tasked to help out with.
It was my turn that day to share something..
So I read out a quote from Gary Vaynerchuk, one of my favourite influential speakers:

“Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless.”

Right after the huddle, I hopped onto the clients website to take a deeper look into what can be done to resolve the issue. Me and Lincoln decided that setting up a different mail server on the site was the best course of action.

After helping Lincoln with the task, I went back to trying to improve the ElementIQ load speed, where I kept playing around with it until I was satisfied that it would be as fast as it could, while still keeping the tools needed to monitor and track stats.

I ended the day off a little early as I was done all of my tasks. I went on to formulating ideas on how to improve the current workflow that ElementIQ utilizes as I was big on efficiency and simplifying processes.

Overall

The week went by really fast and I feel that I learned so much in so little time. I really got to understand the values and goals of ElementIQ and how they really care for each other. It’s a close knit group that i’m happy to be a part of. I’m excited to continue with the internship program and learn more about marketing and how I can integrate it in the work that I do.

Learn more about ElementIQ’s Internship Program

 

ElementIQ Internship: Gregory’s First Week

Who am I?

Let’s go back to the summer of 2008 for a moment. I had just completed high school, full of big dreams and an even bigger lack of direction. As that summer ended, and I headed into my first year of post-secondary, I came to an immediate realization. My lack of direction left me with an impossible disconnect between my dreams and my current reality. I dreamt of a career built off of personal passions, but I no longer knew what my passion was, or meant to me.

After 2 years of general studies, reality sat on my dreams and sent them home crying.

I spent the following years working retail at a hockey shop and teaching ice skating lessons. They were jobs I could create a routine for. I didn’t have to think about it. I didn’t have to think about my passion, my goals, or my dreams. It just kind of worked at the time.

Fast forward 5 years, to the winter of 2015. The routine became monotonous. The monotony reintroduced thoughts about the future. Passion and dreams are hard to ignore when thinking about the future. All I could think about was my lack of them.

I didn’t look for it, but it found me.

During the 5 years of complacent, monotonous routine, I dabbled in photoshop and cartoons. At the time I considered them to be messing around. Little did I realize, that messing around can be a very indirect way of finding your passions.

Photoshop sparked my interest in the Graphic Design world. I had no clue what it was, but I was determined to find out. That spark of curiosity ripped me from my mundane routine and took me on the rollercoaster of events I currently find myself on today.

I started with a Graphic Design program at BCIT. I followed that with freelance work before heading to RED Academy to learn about User Experience. A few Graphic Design contracts later, I found my way to Element IQ.

How I found Element IQ.

After RED Academy, the school kept me (and other students), interconnected through social platforms such as Facebook. It was in this RED Academy Facebook group that I found the job posting. The poster (Joseph L), stated that their Digital Marketing Agency was looking for a Graphic Designer and a Developer. I was curious about the position and immediately reached out to Joseph. After meeting with a few of the staff, and then the CEO (Sam A), I was convinced that this was the right place for me.

Thankfully, they agreed.

They offered me an internship position, and I eagerly accepted.

Day 1: Orientation – Mar 12, 2018

The day started at 10 am at CMPNY’s Spacekraft co-working space in Burnaby. We had the luxury of 3 interns with different skillsets starting on the same day (Kevin: Developer, Sagar: Account Management, Me: Graphic Design). Led by Joseph, the day consisted of Element IQ orientation. A quick tour of the workspace, lunch (courtesy of Sam), and a whole lot of onboarding of programs and apps.

The tone of the day revolved around the company culture. There was a strong emphasis on self-improvement, self-motivation, and transparency in communication. Work hard, learn lots, enjoy.

“What you put into life is what you get out of it.”
-Clint Eastwood

Overall Feeling

Excited, eager to learn and grow while working with new people in a new environment. Initially, there were some nerves with meeting new people, but those quickly went away. I found it easy to connect well with everyone I had met.

Day 2: Company Lesson – Mar 13, 2018

Every morning at 9 am, EIQ (Element IQ) host a huddle amongst their staff. The huddle focuses on discussion of any Wins (positive work/personal things), blockers (tasks that require an action outside of the owner of the task to move forwards), and big rocks (large tasks for the day). Huddles are meant to be short and to the point (15 minutes).

Communicate what everyone is doing for the day to avoid inefficient workflow.

After our first huddle, we spent the rest of the morning getting a brief history of Digital Marketing. Led by Lincoln C, we learned about EIQ’s origins, what they specialize on now, and where they plan on heading. It was a nice way to get everyone inline with the company’s goals and mentality.

The afternoon was spent auditing the EIQ website with Joseph. The exercise/task allowed for all 3 of us interns to get a sense of how working with one another would be.

Day 3: 1st Remote Work Day – Mar 14, 2018

At EIQ we get 2 remote work days (Wednesday & Friday). We are allowed to work from wherever we please, so long as we stay within digital communication with the rest of the team.

Day 3 marked the first day that I had Graphic Design related tasks. My task was to redo the iconography for the EIQ homepage (a task created from our group audit the previous day). I was also tasked with learning more about a brand that I would be working on a logo for (with Joseph) down the road.

The day was smooth sailing. Nothing notable. I worked on my couch, avoided waves of sleepy comfort, and had a great day working from home.

Day 4: Party in CMPNY Coquitlam – Mar 15, 2018

CMPNY, the organization that runs the co-working space EIQ works out of in Burnaby, also has a location in Coquitlam. Their Coquitlam location happened to be turning 1 year old on this day. As a result, we were headed to CMPNY Coquitlam for Day 4. I was not, and still am not very familiar with Coquitlam, but I heard the space was super cool and was very excited to see it.

My transit time to Coquitlam was 1 hour and 15 minutes. A far cry from the luxury of my usual 15 minute bike ride to the Burnaby location. However, the longer commute was worth it. The space was beautiful.

Coquitlam had Foosball, Ping Pong (Burnaby has one as well), large meeting rooms, a coffee/espresso machine that rivaled R2D2, and a pretty nice view. We spent most of the day discussing File Sharing procedures, and finishing tasks from the previous day.

Low key let down of the day – Coffee robots do not guarantee enjoyable coffee. Just the idea of an enjoyable experience with it.

Sam, came by for a one on one with each of the interns to check in with how our first week was going. I told him how my week had been a great experience so far, and that I was excited to begin/continue working on upcoming projects.

Lincoln then led a deep dive, where each of the team members discussed a certain topic. The topic was passion. Each of us shared what we were passionate about, where we wanted to head career-wise (and somewhat personal wise), as well as little snippets of our past leading up to this point.

When we finished, the party began. I ate a sandwich, drank some drink, and then we headed home.

Day 4 theme = Your team at EIQ genuinely cares about you.

Day 5: Remote Work Day (Return of the Couch) – Mar 16, 2018

Day 5 marked the first full day of individual Graphic Design work. The big task of the day was to create a concept homepage for The Hive: Bouldering Gym that would combine their current websites (they have 3, one per location). Using an early concept (Joseph started the prior day), I spent the day working on refining a concept.

By the end of the day, I had completed a polished concept of the homepage. The completion of the task caused me to come to this conclusion: Remote work days are prime for individual tasks.

I also came to another conclusion on Day 5. Remember to eat. I usually bring a lunch to work. I don’t usually bring a lunch to remote work at home. Making lunch mid-workflow is easy to forget. Remember to be hungry.

“Remember to Eat”
– Gregory Ma

Week 1 Final Impression

  • YOU matter to your company
  • Your team cares about YOU
  • Work smart, and have FUN

Week 1 flew by. The team at EIQ, evidently a tight-knit one. The laughs, the struggles, and the bonding all paint a wonderful picture for the future (in a short sample size).

My first Week at EIQ has peaked my interest for a future with this company. I’m excited to be a part of this group, to see where my growth and career take me, and to see where this company’s upward trajectory takes it.

Learn more about ElementIQ’s Internship Program

Sagar’s First Week at EIQ

online marketing internship

It’s crazy to think how my professional career began. I was meant to go to an airline head office but ended up at an ad agency where I met the general manager. I tried my luck and asked for an internship, which I landed, which then led to a full-time position as an Account Executive. In this position, I regularly met with clients to help design multiple forms of media to meet their advertising needs. Whether it be print broadcast or digital, I aided clients with the best possible, attention-grabbing advertising strategies that make them memorable while garnering new customers.

When I moved to Canada in November 2017, I hoped to find a place where I could play a similar role. I ended up networking with Vikram Shivahare during a pickup soccer game amongst friends and learnt about what he did at Element IQ (EIQ), a digital marketing agency in Burnaby, BC. As luck would have it, EIQ was looking for recruits. After two rounds of interviews, I was fortunate enough to be offered a 3-month internship with an account management role similar to my last job.

Day 1 – Monday, March 12

This was more like a “Day 0.” I am joined by two other interns; Kevin: Web Developer and Greg: Graphic Design. Together, we are introduced to the workplace and the communication apps used on a day-to-day basis. The last part was a bit over-whelming as there are a lot of apps/programs that we use. Each app is used for a specific form of communication. I’m sure with time I will get the hang of it. I also got to know the guys better over lunch (Courtesy: Sam).

Day 2 – Tuesday, March 13

Every morning we do a huddle at 9:08am for 15 minutes.

Huddle: A team meeting where we lay down the agenda for the day. It is done in the following order.

  • Wins: Achievements in your job/personal life.
  • Blockers: Items that are keeping you from completing your tasks that need to be shared with the team.
  • Big Rocks: A very brief overview of the items you are working on, and if you need any collaboration on anything.
  • Chatter: Items that are not task specific that need to be shared with the team.
  • Share: An inspirational or motivational quote or message.

My Big Rock: I’m provided with reading material, a study guide for online marketing, to better understand different facets of the business.

Day 3 – Wednesday, March 14

First remote day. This is the first time I’ve worked from home.

Day 4 – Thursday, March 15

It’s a party! (Well, kinda.)

EIQ works out of Spacekraft by CMPNY, a co-working space located in Burnaby. However, on this particular day, we were headed to CMPNY Coquitlam as it is celebrating it’s 1 year anniversary. This space is ridiculous and totally worth the long commute!

  • We get briefed on the list of clients by Joseph and Lincoln, along with Element IQ history and company culture.
  • I get to talk to Sam one-on-one and get a better understanding of what I’ll be doing in the coming weeks.
  • Finished a few chapters of the guide. (So much reading!)

Once we are done with work, the party begins. The games begin, drinks start flowing, the sandwiches start… sandwiching? It’s been a fun day of learning and socializing.

Day 5 – Friday, March 16

Second remote day. Kinda late for the huddle.

  • Blocker: Need to figure out how to get Zoom started at the right time.
  • Big Rock: Spent the day reading the guide and familiarizing myself with major EIQ clients.

Conclusion

My first week at EIQ has been interesting. Although it seemed like the work I would be doing is similar to my last job, there are differences. Clients do not hound you like they do with a traditional agency. There’s a clear understanding of workflow and deadlines are not random.

I’m still getting familiar with the clients and the process. In the meantime, I’m learning all the different aspects of a digital marketing agency, which is great as it will help me understand how each of them works and help me serve clients better in the future.

Learn more about ElementIQ’s Internship Program

The Intern’s Last Week – Rounak Sardesai

It is a beautiful thing when career and passion come together”
-Author Unknown

 

On the last day of my internship, I’d like to shed light on some of the things I’ve learned at ElementIQ. This may help some of you understand what you’d learn and work on as an intern at EIQ.

 

As an intern, I would often find myself working in collaboration with one of my colleagues to help them accomplish a bigger chunk of the campaign. Whether it was helping build a website for one of our biggest clients or auditing existing records of client data, it was all very exciting!

 

There were also a few times when I found myself taking the lead in certain aspects of the campaign. I was never so much a writer both in terms of skill and will. However, because I was born in the 90’s and grew up in the eon of social media, I could navigate through social platforms with ease. Karmen and Vikram noticed this and assigned to me small tasks to kick-off my involvement on the social media side of things. My interest in social media grew to a point where I am now individually managing two client Facebook profiles which seem to show constant growth in engagement.

 

Now that I’ve summarized a little bit of the work I was involved in, I’d like to talk about 7 awesome things that the ElementIQ internship has to offer!

All You Need Is ZERO Experience

As an international student who had just graduated, I was in need of a career starter. I came across a Facebook post talking about a digital marketing internship at ElementIQ. The post said that curiosity, enthusiasm and organizational skills were the only things the candidate was required to have (I did not believe this) so I went ahead and applied. With absolutely no experience in marketing or digital marketing, here I am, writing about my four month term!

The Workspace Is AWESOME!

On the day of my interview with the EIQ team, I walked into the Spacekraft co-working space by CMPNY where the EIQ team plays ball. I had one thought in my head “ I want to work here because this space is AWESOME!” This thought still lingers in my head every now and then even after four months because this office is genuinely great. The tall windows allow for ample sunlight and an airy atmosphere prevails in the office. Not to mention the free coffee and ping-pong room that is open to all.

Have You Ever Worked In Your PAJAMAS?

Honestly, I never thought I’d be able to work in my PJs. It may not be a very big positive for people who don’t mind winters, but for someone like me who was born and raised in a city that sees summer all year round, leaving the house for work on a winter morning is a task! I loved the fact that we worked remotely twice a week – not only did I save transit time but I also got to stay warm all day long.

Your Opinion And Ideas Matter!

I realized that my opinion and ideas mattered very early on in my internship. Every brainstorming session (or Pow-Wow as we call it) was a collaborative effort and the outcome was a mutually agreed upon strategy as per the agreement of the team. Every idea that I had in a meeting was heard by others, and I was always given feedback as to why the idea would or would not work.

The Team You Work With Is TALENTED!

At EIQ, each team member has a wide set of skills, if you’re as curious as I am you’ll learn a thing or two from each member. In the past four months, I’ve picked up skills like basic web development and writing from Joseph and Karmen respectively. Vikram has played a huge role in helping me analyze data and work on accurate reporting and strategizing. Sam, our CEO lives an ideal entrepreneurial life and I’ve learned a thing or two about serial entrepreneurship just by shadowing him.

My internship was a success with these guys to help

We Promise A CARING Environment

The best part about the company is that each of its employees cares about not just themselves and the agency but also about their co-workers. There is a good vibe flowing across the room with constant helping hands trying to help you succeed at the task at hand. Moreover, the team understands that each individual has a personal life that affects their professional life. At EIQ, we try our best to accommodate each other’s struggles – whether it is a doctor’s appointment or just a short vacation back home!

We Support Your Progress

When I started with EIQ, all I had in my backpack was a University degree, just like the other 60,000 odd Canadian graduates that year. Sam and the rest of the team helped me study for certifications and take tests offered by Google. I am now a certified professional in Digital Marketing, thanks to the internship program!

Knowledge Is Useless Until You Put It To Use

I meet a lot of people who tell me they’re interested in learning more about a field. I was exactly like them before I started at EIQ. I wanted to learn. However, not too long after I started with EIQ, I realized that merely learning wasn’t enough. If you cannot apply the knowledge you have, it is as good as not having any knowledge in the first place. At EIQ, you learn and apply the things you learn almost immediately, enabling you to understand concepts better and get a sense of responsibility for your actions.

Your CEO Cares About You

In the four months that I’ve spent at EIQ, Sam, our CEO has had multiple one on one conversations with me. Not only has he taken the time to discuss what the company expects out of me, but has also spent a fair amount of time discussing my goals and how the company can help me achieve them. This is what I call being true to the start-up culture.

Work Hard, Play Hard

The EIQ team truly believes in the motto ‘work hard, play hard’, just check us out on Instagram and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
These are some of the reasons why my tenure as an ‘Intern’ at ElementIQ has been great! If you think you’re the kind of person who’d thrive in a company that is AWESOME, apply to our internship program.

How To Kick-Start Your Career In Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing Career

Are you thinking about a career in Digital Marketing?

Let’s face it, you’ve spent the last four odd years of your life struggling through university only to find out that you have ZERO skills that put you in a position to make an impact at a workplace. Moreover, The beautiful ads that say “live like a digital marketing nomad” keep popping up on your Facebook feed and you have no idea how those people make money while traveling around the world.

To make it worse, you keep seeing people posting videos shot in fancy Lamborghinis titled ‘I went from working at McDonald’s to making a 100K a year” and you keep asking yourself just one little question – HOW?

Well, I’m not here to lure you into the idea of making a 100K overnight.

If you’re still reading, I’m going to help you give your digital marketing career a kickstart so that some day with the right amount of hard work and application of knowledge, you make sufficient successful leaps in your life.

What Do Digital Marketing Experts Do?

Let’s start with understanding what a digital marketer does. A Digital Marketer is responsible for developing, implementing and managing online marketing campaigns. These campaigns promote a company and its products and services.

He or she plays a major role in enhancing brand awareness within the digital space as well as driving website traffic and acquiring leads. You can learn more about the Digital Marketing career here.

Now that we know what a digital marketer’s profession looks like, lets see how we can prep to jump into the career.

Remember, it’s a lifestyle not a JOB.

It is important to understand that to be a successful marketer, you need tons of good ideas and inspiration. It may seem like ideas are easy to fabricate but in reality, having the right ideas for the right brand or product at the right time (whilst not breaking the bank) can be extremely difficult (but not impossible of-course).

As an aspiring digital marketer, it is essential that your lifestyle facilitates the natural growth of ideas in your mind. Six of the best ways to do so (in my humble opinion) are:

1. Make Time For Social Media

Start following the top digital marketers out there. If you’re in the North American market, you should definitely follow people like Neil Patel and Kevin Payne who post at least 5 noteworthy blogs a day. These resources will be extremely helpful in understanding the scope of the profession in depth.

You can also follow people like me, who re-tweet posts by people mentioned above as well as contribute to their own ideas once in a while. Also, find marketing agencies around you and follow their social handles to gain some agency insights (follow ElementIQ on Instagram). I was personally not active on Twitter until I jumped into the field of Digital Marketing.

My Facebook and Twitter profiles would look very similar before I learned the hard way that Twitter is NOT for personal interaction. I have now come to an understanding that it is an amalgamation of Facebook and LinkedIn which lets you connect and build relationships with people who you look up to. This makes it an ideal lead generation and networking tool.

2. Follow Brands With Great Marketing Strategies

While some brands have digital marketing agencies that take care of their online presence for them, many brands have an in-house team that works behind the scenes and delivers appealing content.

It is a great idea to follow these brands on different social media platforms. Some of the brands that I follow are Mercedes-Benz Canada, Apple, Adidas, Nike, Mini, Chevrolet, and Sony. Brands like Dollar Beard Club (Check out the founder interview) and Mini (their North American launch strategy is noteworthy) have inspirational start-up and expansion marketing strategies. Great case studies to dive into as an aspiring marketer. It does not matter if your list looks a little different from mine. What matters is to be able to put yourself in the shoes of bigger brands and help yourself prepare for impactful roles in the industry.

3. Stay Organized

Like any other career, marketing requires you to be organized. Especially if you aspire to work in an agency setting. You may not be the kind that wakes up in the morning and makes their bed (I’m not either) but you will need to get into the habit of carrying a pen and diary for notes (or a digital notepad like Evernote). Managing your time appropriately and prioritizing important tasks is something you will learn eventually as long as you put in efforts to stay organized.

Organized Digital Marketing

As simple as these things may seem, in reality, they can be the TOUGHEST to overcome. Especially when you find yourself downloading many files and images a day, managing multiple tasks for multiple campaigns, and working on various projects with different timelines. Organizing your tasks will do wonders for you in the industry. If you have a friend that is good at this, get help from them. The ElementIQ team has Sam and Joseph to look up to in terms of organized living!

4. Know The Tools Of The Trade.

As someone who aspires to be a digital marketing professional, it is a good idea to start off by learning about various tools that are used in the industry. If you know your tools well, you don’t have to spend time familiarizing yourself with them when you finally land your dream job. Instead, you can get to using these tools right away and get things done!

I understand that some tools are more technical than others and it may take less or more time to understand their optimal usage depending on your technical abilities. Thus, I have shortlisted some tools that most people will have no problems understanding, irrespective of their technical aptitude and prior knowledge.

These tools and applications are not necessarily (directly) used in formulating or analyzing a campaign but are used to carry out daily tasks like communicating, designing and planning.

Slack:

If you’ve not checked out slack yet, it’s time you do! Slack is the ultimate team collaboration tool your team will ever need. It provides a neat and user-friendly communication space not only for direct messaging but also group messaging.

What is great about this tool is its ability to allow third-party application integrations. You can seamlessly send documents to your colleagues whether they are on your computer or on third-party apps like Quip and Google Docs. If you’re on the go, Slack is availableinn the App Store for both iPhones and Android phones.

If all this doesn’t convince you, let me tell you that the free version of slack is so efficient and offers so much that most agencies haven’t felt the need to upgrade to the full version yet.

Quip:

As someone who uses a Mac, I absolutely dislike the capabilities of collaboration that Microsoft Office boasts about. Be it the lack of cross-platform abilities or the ugly user interface, Microsoft Office is just not an option for the beautiful documents I strive to create at work.

Thus, Quip!

Quip is an amazing cloud-based document creation platform that makes collaboration easier than ever before. Also, it integrates seamlessly with slack making things even better! Zero redundancy, seamless collaboration and a price of 0$ is what gives Quip the EIQ approval.

Canva:

I had no skills in designing or editing pictures before I started working as a digital marketer.

Canva is what changed the game. Canva is an online tool that allows you to edit photos and images without having prior Photoshop or designing experience. I highly recommend playing around with it and watching some YouTube tutorials.

Once you get a hang of these tools, it might me time to dive into some technical tools like MailChimp, Moz, Google Analytics, Google AdWords etc. The ideal way to master these tools would be to either watch YouTube tutorials, read books (A good starter book: SEO For Dummies), complete the respective certifications or to get your hands on to some free trials and play around!

5. Get Certified

There are two very specific reasons as to why I would recommend being a Certified Professional in whatever career you choose.

The first reason is that certifications tend to keep you updated and never let you stay out of touch. Most certifications come with an expiry date and you must re-take the test before it expires. Obviously, this means that you re-iterate the salient topics and get new updates along the way.

The second reason is more résumé focused. Your résumé might list a few digital marketing skills but the only way to prove to an HR rep that you deserve and interview, is by backing those skills up with a certification (a relevant portfolio helps too).

I’ve listed some of the certifications that I felt were most helpful to me. I will be writing more in detail about each of them in a different post (comment down below if you’d like me to write on a specific topic).

Communications Certification:

As a digital marketing professional, communication is unquestionably key. There are very few aspects of digital marketing in which communication does not play a major role.

If you’re trying to get into the Social Media Management side of marketing, communication is of utmost importance. I can vouch for the fact that it is not difficult to improve your communication and grammatical abilities since English is not my first language and I’ve managed to exponentially improve my communication skills over time. I spent hours reading books and watching movies to improve my linguistic abilities as a child and I still continue to do so.

My university accredited certifications in communication and English language testing have helped employers understand that I have the skills required to communicate effectively to an audience that I intend to market products or services to.

Google Analytics Certification:

I learned very early in my internship that it is absolutely pointless to present ideas without data to back them up. The most effective way to present ideas for a campaign was to analyze data from similar campaigns or similar companies/products and use this data to back my idea.

All of this came into picture once I got my hands on to the Google Analytics platform. The Google Analytics certification is a short 2 step certification ranging about three to four hours each, which allows you to understand the data that flows behind marketing campaigns. It is absolutely worth the effort and it doesn’t cost a penny!

Google Adwords Certification:

Although online advertising is a nexus in itself, it is essential as a marketer that we understand the basics of how advertising on the internet works irrespective of whether you want to specialize in PPC management or not. Google AdWords is Google’s advertising platform. Bing has a similar platform.

To be AdWords certified, you must complete the AdWords fundamental exam and complement it with either one of five specialization exams (Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Video Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Shopping Advertising). It takes about 3 hours to prepare for each exam and they are all free.

I would also recommend following Google Adwords on twitter for quick updates on the platform and upcoming changes, just to stay in constant touch with one of the most important advertising platforms out there.

Hubspot Inbound Marketing:

Digital Marketing works on the principles of Inbound Marketing. If you haven’t already understood the concepts of inbound marketing and how it differs from outbound or traditional marketing, I would recommended starting by watching this video on YouTube. The HubSpot Inbound Certification is the best way (by far) to understand what digital marketing really is and how it works. Also, just like the Google Academy courses, this course is available free of cost at HubSpot Academy.

6. Find an Internship

Once you’ve got a fair idea of these skills, it is actually time to jump into the industry. What better way to start than an internship with EIQ! Find out more about the ElementIQ internship program here.

 

The Intern’s First Week – Rounak Sardesai

Exordium

“There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

-Nelson Mandela

I was a sales and marketing professional with a degree in computer science before I came across the ElementIQ Internship program. Having a stable job which was paying the bills comfortably was not something I thought I’d complain about, but this thought was soon changed.

Have you ever skimmed through your résumé and felt like you really want to see something meaningful on there? Well, I did!

The moment I realized that I was not doing something that I really wanted to do, I opened my eyes to the opportunities that were out in the market. Whilst scrolling through my Facebook, I came across an advertisement for the ElQ internship. Although I was well aware of what traditional marketing was, I had no clue what digital marketing was.

Thus, the first step to my application was a google search titled “what is digital marketing” and “what does digital marketing include.” I realized that I had immense potential in this field because I had had some sales experience and I was computer savvy.

I shot out my résumé to EIQ and within the next 24 hours, I knew what to do next. Ramesh replied to my application promptly and asked me to complete two tasks before a probable interview – An inbound certification from HubSpot and an English grammar test. To be honest, I thought this was the most relevant pre-interview checklist I’ve come across.

The next step in my application process was a face to face to interview with Ramesh and Vikram at the Spacekraft office (a co-working shared space that reflects the start-up essence) in Burnaby. Suited up, I met with the two EIQ employees who were extremely welcoming and easy-going.

The interview was set up in the spacecraft lounge that turned it into a constructive conversation rather than a formal interview. The questions I was asked were very relevant to the job and were well aligned with the expectations mentioned in their advertisement. The interview that went on for just over an hour, was one of the most productive conversations I’d had in context to a job.

Next, I met with Sam a few days after the initial interview and we discussed what he expected from his employees and gave me a brief introduction of what EIQ believes in as a team. Sam came across to me as a person who motivates his team and wants his employees to grow with the team.

This was exactly what I was looking for in my life – to be a part of a motivated team where my opinion is valued and new ideas are a result of constructive conversation with fun being the by-product. I must admit, the Spacekraft office was also a catalyst to my affirmative decision once I was offered the position a week later. Allow me take you through the journey of my first week of work at ElementIQ.

The Pilot (Day O):

As soon as I accepted the offer, I was asked to come in for an onboarding meeting with Vikram. On a beautiful Thursday morning, I walked into the Spacekraft office in Burnaby and had the same expressions Harry Potter did on his first visit to Hogwarts. I knew there was so much I was going to learn and so much I was going to be good at. I may sound presumptuous when I say that I knew I was going to be good at so many things, but here’s why I am not:

“Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, energies are contagious.”

-Rachel Wolchin

My confidence came from a vibe, a vibe I got from my welcoming colleagues and the people I was surrounded with.

We went over a variety of tools and software I would need over time at EIQ to successfully carry out daily tasks. Some of the tools were as simple as an email account and an instant messenger and some were more detailed like Teamwork, Quip and Slack. Have you ever watched the detail in which the Quartermaster (Q) describes his exhibits to James Bond? Vikram was as passionate as Q in this scenario – you could tell that he was passionate about his operation space.

Following the tools of the trade were the tricks of the trade – Vikram went over some of the essentials of digital marketing concepts with me. Some of these concepts were The Marketing Funnel, Buyer Personas and Social Media Channels. What I appreciate most about this session was the fact that it was assumed that I was fresh to the field and all information was delivered without the need of a prerequisite.

(It was like enrolling in Comp Sci 404 at Uni without completing the pre-requisites and finding out the instructor is going to recap Comp Sci 304,204 and 104 again. Instructor goals!!)

The session had an open-ended activity to it which included me trying to market one of my favorite brands. All in all, my orientation day made me realize (for the first time) that following your passion could not go wrong!

The One With The First Huddle (Day 1):

The following Tuesday after my orientation was my first official day with the EIQ team. I was welcomed by the team and the day started with a morning huddle. This was the first time I was going to be a part of the huddle and I was curious to know what it was all about.

What Makes An Effective Daily Huddle?

  1. Blockers: Any blockers that may be a hindrance to any tasks that have been assigned
  2. Daily Tasks: Any tasks that may need attention or discussion
  3. Chatter: Any mention-worth items from client tasks
  4. Share Something: Each day one person shares something interesting, usually motivational or influential

As someone who tries hard to be organized in life (with little or no success), the huddle seemed like a very important part of my day.

The huddle was followed by a walkthrough of our clients and Vikram walked me through each client’s case thoroughly. I understood that each client was different and each case was interesting in its own way.

Although we had already touched base on some of the tools that I was going to need during my tenure as a digital marketer, Vikram took the effort to thoroughly walk me through each of the tools starting with TeamWork (a project management and task manager with collaborative capabilities). This was followed by Quip (a modern replacement of docs with uber-collaborative functionality and integration capabilities) and Slack walkthroughs.

The walkthroughs were followed by realistic activities that directly aligned with our line of work and enabled me to communicate with the team easily and manage my tasks to perfection (just what a true procrastinator needs in life).

The day went by so quick that it almost felt like an elementary school field trip. At the end of it, I was full of things I had newly learnt – my body relaxed and my mind tired enough to let me sleep like a baby.

The One With The Reports (Day 2):

I was the kind of student that went off to a library every time I needed to get some serious work done. I always thought that I wasn’t able to get work done at home because it wasn’t the right environment. This was proven wrong on my second day at EIQ.

My second day at work was another first-timer. The EIQ team works from the Spacekraft office three times a week (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) and remotely twice a week (Wednesday and Friday) so my second working day was going to be the first time that I would be remotely connected with the rest of the team. To my surprise, it was as smooth as a face-to-face meeting with great coordination and pre-assigned tasks.

“Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work another day in life”

-Confucius

The challenge I faced was a different one. Whilst I was in school, mathematics and statistics was something I absolutely dreaded and my second working day at EIQ was meant to introduce me to analytics and reporting which can be broadly categorized as a result of statistics. Vikram introduced me to a software unlike any other called NinjaCat that is used in the marketing world to analyze the real-time ROI situation for a particular business.

As and how I got used to navigating around the software through the day, I realized that I was now dealing with real data, real numbers, and real situations. As unnatural as it may sound, real-world problems are what make our lives interesting! The moment I started to understand that my analysis or reports would make a difference to a business and its marketing strategies, the hidden mathematician within me rose out of the grave.

The day can be summed up into three great sessions where I learned a lot about Facebook Advertising, Google Analytics, and Reporting.

The One With The Norman Doors (Day 3):

The next day back at the office started off with some reporting tasks I had been assigned the previous day. I worked on these analytical puzzles like a child trying to find the right way to join two Lego blocks and I absolutely loved the challenge! By the time I had finished my task in hand, it was almost time for the most awaited activity of the day – a UX/UI walkthrough session with Joseph.

As a computer science student, I had a fair idea of the importance of ease of access or ease of use of a particular object. However, what I didn’t know was how often we come across bad designs and how they are introduced to us. Joseph had a great flow to his session. In fact, an exemplary one. One of the key takeaways from this session was the Norman Doors anomaly. Joseph set up a presentation explaining how bad doors are a part of our lives and how we have to face awkward situations trying to overcome the push and pull battle! As simple as this may seem, it was the start to a great insight on User Interface and User Experience Design.

This session was followed by some reading to be done on UX/UI and taking a look at the resources shared by Joseph. Following the session was the weekly meeting that the EIQ team assembles for every Thursday. This meeting was a more elaborate meeting in comparison to the daily huddle. The weekly team meet can be divided broadly into the following:

Weekly Meeting Composition:

  1. Wins: Mention worthy achievements
  2. Numbers: Numerical representation of our performance
  3. Deep dive: Topics that need to be discussed in depth
  4. Tasks and Challenges: Follow-up tasks in line with discussion

With the end of the weekly team meet, an eventful Thursday had come to an end.

The One About This Blog (Day 4):

My fourth day at EIQ was not only my second remote working day but also a Friday. FRIYAAY! The tasks I had for the morning were read a little bit about our clients. I got to know what our clients do in terms of business and what their business goals are. This study was followed by a short analysis of what these clients do, again using google analytics and NinjaCat.

The highlight of the day was a session on content writing with Karmen. Her session on writing for the web included multiple examples of good and bad writing. She made me understand that writing for a crowd is just like trying to read their minds. It is important to read their thoughts and cater to the needs of that crowd.

A brief part of the session also included information on structure, images, formatting and other such neglected factors. Some of the resources that she shared helped me in writing this post.

Well, with the week coming to an end, I had just one task to complete before I could sip onto the madness of the weekend – updating the notes for our daily huddle for Monday morning.

The One With WordPress (Day 5):

My fifth day at EIQ was a Monday. This was also my first Monday as a part of the team. Honestly, the best part of this day was just after I woke up and realized that I did not have the Monday Blues. I guess that is how it feels to work a job you really like. My Monday was a busy one, and what I had most to look forward to was a Web Development session with Lincoln and a Local Search Optimization session with Vikram.  

The morning started off with some pending tasks from before the weekend. Just after lunch, Vikram and I got together for a short session on how Local SEO is carried out. The session was a great add-on to the other sessions I’d had with him as they were like joining different pieces of a puzzle.

After my first session, it was now time for a Web Dev walkthrough with Lincoln. This was the most technical session as yet and gave insights on how websites are developed, how they are themed and what goes into making an effective web page. Lincoln also walked me through some of the applications that would come in handy when wanting to create an effective website or landing page. This session definitely gave me a thorough introduction to Web Development.

This was the end of not just a great Monday, but also a fantastic first week at ElementIQ!

ElementIQ Internship: Joseph’s First Week

Joseph's First Week at ElementIQ

Prologue – Life Before Tech

 

Joseph's Past Industry Experience: Sports & Events, Hospitality, Financial Services, Design

 

My career path has not been so linear. I’ve ventured many industries from sports, hospitality to the financial services industry before entering the tech industry. I’m a type of person if I’m curious about something, I do it right away and find out if it’s for me or not. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk said it the best: “Dwelling has zero return on investment.”

 

When I found out that a career in financial services wasn’t for me, I quit and enrolled in the UX Design program at RED Academy. It was an easy decision as I wanted a career that had the best interest for the people.

 

Gary Vaynerchuk’s input on dwelling. Warning: coarse language

 

The Introduction

 

StormBrain Whiteboard Summary

StormBrain project at RED Academy

 

After finishing a client project at RED, my client Steve Kim was pleased with our work and he introduced me to Sam Araki, the founder of ElementIQ, who worked in the same co-working space as him. After I got in touch with Sam, we went for a coffee to get to know each other and talk about a potential placement at ElementIQ. After our second meeting, I was offered a 3-month internship.

 

At first, I had mixed feelings as ElementIQ is an inbound marketing agency and not a design agency. However, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to get a holistic understanding of the tech industry. I jumped at the opportunity to start my journey in the tech industry.

 

Day 1 THU – The First Day

 

SpaceKraft Co-working Space

 

I was greeted by the ElementIQ team when I entered SpaceKraft, a shared workplace in Burnaby. I was joined with Katie, who was also starting her first day. Soon after the introduction, Ramesh gave us a tour of the co-working space.

 

Ramesh then gave us a walkthrough of the company’s culture and workflow. Some of the tools and resources that we installed were Google Apps, Quip, Teamwork, Slack, along with subscriptions to numerous marketing resources.

 

By end of the day, I was equipped with the tools and resources for success and had a better understanding of the company’s culture:

  • Autonomy. Employees have autonomy as we work remotely twice a week.
  • Semi-structured. We have daily huddles at 9:08 AM as well as weekly team meetings. It helps us to keep accountable and track our progress.
  • Communication. We utilize various tools to help our workflow. They all serve a purpose for us to work together as a team.

 

Day 2 FRI – First Remote Day

 

Remote Day Coffee Shop

 

It felt a little weird at first as it’s my second day and that I was to work remotely. I joined the daily huddle at 9:08 AM on Google Hangouts. Sam invited us to Zoom, an alternative to Hangouts. It turns out that Zoom is much more stable even with the video share on! Everyone went around to discuss what they’re working on the day and added the tasks on Quip. It was also an opportunity to discuss any blockers that were keeping us from finishing a task.

 

After the huddle, Ramesh, Katie and I stayed in the conference to plan the day. We were given the resources to learn about the company as well as inbound marketing materials. Soon after, Sam assigned me to obtain the ‘Optimization & Testing Mastery’ Certificate on Digital Marketer. As a data-driven UX/UI Designer, Sam identified that it would complement my current skill set to learn conversion rate optimization (CRO).

 

We had the opportunity to utilize Quip, Teamwork, Slack, Google Apps, amongst other tools to get familiar with the ElementIQ workflow. I spent much of the day learning about inbound marketing and I was fascinated to learn how it closely parallels with many user experience (UX) methods. It further reinforced my decision to take on the opportunity at ElementIQ as it gave me new perspectives.

 

Day 3 MON – First Client Project!

 

First Client Project Wireframe Sketching

 

We began our morning with a daily huddle. After discussing our daily tasks and our blockers, Sam shared a Harvard Business Review article on the benefit of daily self-reflection. Sam encouraged us to adopt this and practice reflection before ending our day.

 

For the rest of the morning, Ramesh introduced ElementIQ’s clients to Katie and I. I was intrigued at the company’s transparency and the personal connection that we have with our clients. After lunch, Ramesh gave us a digital marketing walkthrough. We learned about the elements of digital marketing and we had the opportunity to ask any questions that we had.

 

After the walkthrough, Lincoln gave me my first client project- to create an email campaign for a client. I was to come up with an email campaign strategy for a promotional offer with an email newsletter and a landing page. I asked many questions to understand the context and the target audience. After coming up with the objective, key performance indicators (KPIs) and the information about our audience, we gathered additional questions to send to our client.

 

Day 4 TUE – Blog Optimization And Pizza Mmm…

 

Internet of Things and Pizza

 

Today, we had a blog post walkthrough with Karmen. She showed us how to access our client’s websites with WordPress and how we create blog posts for our clients. By the end of the walkthrough, we had the opportunity to revise and optimize an older blog post.

 

In the afternoon, Lincoln showed Katie and I the world of web hosting. I thought I had an understanding of web hosting but I learned a lot from Lincoln hearing from the agency’s perspective. Towards the end of our web hosting walkthrough, we were interrupted by the smell of pizza…

 

It was time for quarterly Town Hall at SpaceKraft. It was an opportunity to meet the members and the staffs at the co-working space to discuss upcoming events and any concerns that we may have. It was a pleasant experience to meet people with a various background that work together to build a community.

 

Day 5 WED – Design And Code?!

 

Becoming a Unicorn DesignerWorking my way to becoming a unicorn. Photo credit: Threadless

 

On my second remote day, I received feedback from Ramesh on the blog post that I revised for optimization. The comments functionality on Google Docs worked perfectly as the feedback was clear for revision. After revising the blog post, I put together the content for the email campaign and sent it to Lincoln for review. I then sketched the wireframes and started to digitize the wireframes on Sketch.

 

At 3:00 PM, I had a Zoom meeting with Ramesh where he shared his screen and gave me a walkthrough of a client project. The client wanted to create a web page and Ramesh asked me if I could design AND build the page WordPress myself under the guidance of Lincoln. Although I don’t have much experience with WordPress, I happily accepted the challenge as it was an opportunity to further expand myself as a designer.

 

Day 6 THU – Intern To Strategist

 

Intern to Strategist

Does the title matter? Apparently it does to other people

 

Despite being an internship, Sam has given me the title UX/UI Strategist. I am ever grateful for this and the faith that his team has shown me in my ability. I want to take this opportunity to live up to the expectation and apply design thinking to solve problems for our users and our clients.

 

Closing Thoughts

 

Design is About Problem Solving

 

When I was seeking employment in tech, I noticed many titles from: UX/UI Designer, Digital Designer, Product Designer, Web Designer, Interaction Designer amongst many others. I recently read a Medium article suggesting that there’s an unnecessary fragmentation of design jobs. Designers solve problems for the users and the clients by creating seamless user experience. They do everything: research, writing, visuals, code, project management, whatever it takes. I very much resonate with this and at ElementIQ, I wear all hats in order to get the job done. I am able to do this in a supportive team culture where each member has respect and trust for one another. I am grateful to be in this position and I look forward to the upcoming challenges.