Companies want competences to use in everyday design work. The hypothesis is that those competences a person use in a company, is a wanted competences. This is a very personal study of which design competences a service design student is using and learning in internships - competences wanted from a young service designer like me. 

Through my internship at Namahn i Brussels, I was doing hands-on qualitative research (service safari) about the internship’s effect on me as a designer and my competence. I also did a limited amount of interviews with students who have done service  design courses and done internships. My findings was gathered in a 19 pages report and exhibited at AHO WORKS. 

actors oda sortland
probe oda sortland

Through the delivery I did seek to shed light on these themes:

1. Which human centric and other design competences are wanted from an intern at a design company like Namahn?
2. What were the largest gaps and correlations between design in my school setting versus in a professional internship?
3. How can a young (service) designer’s competence and confidence benefit from an internship experience in a user centered design agency?



I made five infographics communicating the result of my research. Those were presented as a part of the internship report, at presentations and a small exhibition at AHO (The Oslo School of Architecture and Design).

Correlation and gaps between the AHO education and work practice

The statistics I gathered during the internship shows that 67% of competences I used at Namahn was covered by AHO. I also learned
a lot at Namahn, almost one fourth of the competences I applied was learned there.


The infographic bellow shows where I learned all the competences I used at Namahn. I found that most of the competences I used in my internship was first learned at AHO, and then build further at Namahn. The size indicate how often I used the competence. I marked the competences I saw as particularly important by a darker color. The green circle shows gaps in my education: what I maybe would need to master in the future. 

There was a great correlation between competences learned in my education and the ones I used in the internship. I found some gaps, and I also found that I had no use for parts of what I learned in my first years at AHO. 

The benefit of an internship for a student with my background

As an intern, I got experience with working in different project stages: 

oda sortland frequency

The diagram above is build on a hypothesis that frequency in use of a competence equals the gained experience with it. 

The diagram bellow follows the hypothesis that time used practicing a competence equals the experience I got with it. The cake pieces shows how much time I used on different office activities. The grey circles shows which competences was used in the activities. 

My level of professional confidence increased drastically through the internship. Students I interviewed expressed the same. 

confidence oda sortland

Based on what I found, I concluded the internship made a significant growth in my competence and confidence. 

interview findings 

According to the five persons I interviewed, the largest correlation between what they used in internships and learned at AHO was techniques for user centric design, workshop skills, tools, presenting work well, and what they learned in the service design courses in general. Desired competences students had not worked on at AHO relate to business administration, organization, psychology and specific software. One student said "I learned more by taking the internship than I did at AHO – because at the internship I learned what I actually need for work." Another claimed that it is hard to see the benefits of an internship immediately.

"After the internship I know I have needed competence - Anonymous student