Karina Ibrayeva and Aquatic Informatics
Aquatic Informatics is a mission-driven software company that organizes the world’s water data to make it accessible and useful. Recently, Aquatic Informatics Inc. has been acquired by Danaher's Water Quality platform from XPV Water Partners. As the world’s largest water data management company with more than 1,500 customers in 60 countries, their broad family of products include AQUARIUS analytics software for natural environments; WaterTrax compliance and electronic reporting tools for municipalities; Linko software for the management of industrial pretreatment; fats, oils and grease, and hauled waste records; and Tokay for backflow prevention and cross-connection control management.
During her co-op work term, Karina tackled a variety of projects that any Junior UX/UI Designer could dream of. She worked on various projects including feature design; user experience research; user workflows and personas; user interviews; heuristic evaluations; and even product demos for sale purposes. In addition, she participated in a series of design sprints related to future software products – even having the chance to lead a sprint herself. Last, but not least, she was very happy to run her term project where she integrated Google Analytics into the company’s products to evaluate the effectiveness and relevance of their current UX practices.
Karina’s Favourite Part
Aquatic Informatics has provided Karina with a wonderful opportunity to work on a breadth of projects simultaneously, gaining both theoretical and practical experience. While working in a fast-paced, cross-functional team environment, Karina shares how it has also been friendly and welcoming. “Every member of the team has always been respectful, supportive, and kind to me. I believe this precious experience that I gained at Aquatic Informatics is an amazing start of my professional career as a UX/UI Designer.”
What Aquatic Informatics Had to Say
UX Lead and Senior Designer, Jacqueline Gullion, has thoroughly enjoyed having Karina Ibrayeva as her co-op student this term. As an SFU English co-op alumna herself (“back in the day”), she shared that she is always optimistic that students are going to bring fresh new ideas and skills. Her team is pleased to be able to mentor students in the real world context and does so by challenging them with serious projects that contribute directly to their teams' quarterly & annual goals. That means software development & UX students not only work on, but might lead the work on features that are going to be released to real customers within weeks. “In my team, I challenge our UX co-op students to complete a term project, taking a leading role in a longer-running strategic project. This gets us a fresh perspective and focused attention on cross-product initiatives.” In the meantime, they also keep their co-op students busy cranking out quick design iterations and prototypes for small product-specific features.
“I look for students who have strong communication skills, who can understand and explain the why behind a solution or design, and who are keen to learn not only the technical details of our job, but to develop the important skills for working in cross-functional teams driven by business needs.”
How the SFU SIAT Co-op Program Has Supported Karina
Karina believes that SFU co-op is a great program for students who want to gain real practical experience. One of her favourite things about co-op is that they often bring in speakers (industry professionals or senior students) who share their experiences in various companies and inspire other students to dream big. “Also, I would definitely give credit to SIAT co-op advisors, who kindly supported me during my co-op seeking and working semesters.”
Karina’s Advice for other Co-op Students
“Hard work always pays off. Don’t give up and never miss an opportunity to try something new.”