Faizaan Siddiqui Gains Exposure and Experience with Design For Startups

March 26, 2024

By Perrin Grauer


The user-experience designer and ECU Master of Design student is a three-time participant in the program that pairs students with tech companies to learn on the job.

Designer and ECU student Faizaan Siddiqui (MDes 2024) has been honing his professional design practice with a series of internships through the Design for Startups program.

Led by the Shumka Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship at ECU, the program most recently paired Faizaan with local software analysis company MergeBase.

“As an international student who wants to work here and learn from designers from all around the world, the exposure you get in this program is one of the best things you can get as a designer,” says designer and ECU Master of Design student Faizaan Siddiqui. (Photo by Perrin Grauer)

Faizaan worked as a user-experience (UX) designer for a California-based company before beginning his Master of Design degree at Emily Carr. But he says he’s now “way more confident” thanks to combining his graduate studies with professional work experience.

“Even if you have worked before, you get to learn new things that will set you apart,” he continues. “I’m looking forward to returning to the industry with the experience I’ve gathered here in my courses as well as Design for Startups.”

Design for Startups allows students to earn professional experience while focusing on their studies. The 12-week program pairs 10 student designers with technical and business leads of startup companies. Students consider existing design gaps based on a company’s needs and perform user interface/usability studies to develop innovative design strategies.

The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) generously supports the program.

Faizaan’s current internship represents his third through Design for Startups. He worked previously for the virtual-hiring event platform Withe and the collaborative video creation platform Castofly Technologies Inc.

Faizaan’s current program partner, MergeBase, analyzes software and provides guidance to address security vulnerabilities. Faizaan is redesigning the platform’s dashboard. The goal is to ensure MergeBase users have easy, straightforward access to its tools and information.

“I always think that simplicity helps make things easier for the user,” Faizaan says. “And simplicity is not about just removing things; it’s also about bringing order to complexity.”

Faizaan is thrilled to be working with MergeBase’s team.

“It’s been a very positive experience,” he says. “They’re very understanding. They always make sure I have everything I need. They never hesitate to go out of their way for me.”

He adds that Design for Startups is a fantastic program for students looking to extend their reach and prepare themselves for post-graduation employment. It offers a unique opportunity to learn as a student in a professional setting.

“As a student, you can make mistakes and learn from them, which refines everything you’re working on,” he says. “I can’t wait to return to the design industry with what I’ve learned and start working on everything again.”

You can find this article also on Emily Carr News