Emily Wauters

Emily Wauters

1st-year student, Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa – Bachelor of Design in Interaction Design and Software Development

The connection between code and user interfaces has always interested her, says Emily Wauters who is studying interaction design and software development.

“In high school my favourite class was Digital Information Technologies where we did a lot of creating websites – designing, planning, coding and testing. I got Top of Year for that class in Year 12, and loved the designing phase, and being able to see those designs and rough sketches come to life after coding.

“Thousands of lines of gibberish create literal pieces of art, and typical users never think about any of that. They just click a button to get from A to B, but there’s so much more that goes into that button than we realise. Is it a readable font? Will the visual effects be operable on most types of devices? What will happen to the border width when I make the screen ratio smaller for a tablet? I’m confident that this is what I want to be doing for my career. I want to expand my knowledge on applying the designs and guidelines using code, and work as a UX designer once I graduate.”

Finding her fit
After discovering her passion in high school, Emily’s journey eventually led her to AUT where she initially enrolled in a Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences in Software Development.

“I decided to major in software development when I came to AUT, assuming that it would be the same as high school. At the end of the semester, I realised that if I wanted to learn more about the design aspects I would need to study interaction design too. To do this, I had to switch to the design degree and take software development as my second major. That was definitely a scary move for me because I had no experience with art and design, and don’t really like to draw or paint. But I’m really enjoying it.

“I’m grateful that I can study both interaction design and software development as part of my degree, and don’t have to go to a special media design school to learn it. My timetable has always worked – no clashes and both majors are taught on the same campus, and you don’t need to be an art guru to get in. My learnings from one major help me with my learnings in the other major. For example, I know to be realistic in my design ideas when practising interaction design because you can only achieve as much as the code allows.”

She is enjoying the study environment at AUT, Emily says.

“AUT feels like the best fit for me – it’s modern, practical and technological. I love the environment here, and the one-and-a-half-hour travel journey each way is worth it for me. I like how calm it is at AUT, and no one is judging me for what I’m wearing or how I’m learning. The amount of wall sockets within the AUT City Campus is also astonishing and especially helpful.”

Advice for other students
Emily has some great advice for other students thinking about university study.

“Do it for you, not anyone else, because it’s your career, your future and your life. You’re the one that will be most impacted by your choices. Go at your own pace – you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. If you need to go part-time because it’s getting to be too much, just do it.”

It's okay if you don’t know what you want to do, she adds.

“I’ve changed my degree once and I know people that have changed their degree over three times. There’s no correct way to do it, and it’s okay if you do it differently to someone else.”