How I Got Into Pegasystems as a UX Design Intern

Pegasystems logo on a dark blue background

After two months of networking and interviews, I will join Pegasystems as a UX Design Intern for Spring 2022. I will join the Digital Redesign team and work on Pega’s Bolt Design System.

In this post, I will share my entire application process for Pega and takeaways. I hope this will help whoever’s interested in applying in the future!


Sep 29, 2021 / Application submitted

Sep - Oct / Networking + Calls

Oct 14, 2021 / Recruiter phone screen

Oct 28, 2021 / Portfolio Presentation

Oct 29, 2021 / Received Technical Exercise

Nov 3, 2021 / Technical Exercise Presentation (Final Round)

What is Pegasystems?

Pegasystems, or Pega, is an American software company that develops software for enterprises. The software can range from CRM, robotic process automation, and business process management.

Laying the groundwork

When I came back from my gap year, I wanted to apply for a spring design internship to gain more experience.

Since I’ve never applied to internships in the states, each step of the process was new to me.

Still, I remember my friends often told me that referrals is extremely beneficial in the application process. Thus, when I saw Pega had design openings for the spring, I reached out to designers working at Pega.

Massive thanks to Riva Dhamala for the amazing call and the referral!

Here are some tips:

Be clear in your message

When reaching out to designers on LinkedIn, it’s okay to be direct. This is my LinkedIn message template if I know the company has an internship opening:

Hi (Name), I hope you're having a great week! I’m reaching out because I saw (Company Name) has a Summer design internship. I know it's a big ask coming from a total stranger, but if you ever have 20 minutes (this/next) week, I'd love to hear about (Types of experience)!

For the (Types of experience), try to be specific! Here are some examples

  • Your experience as a design intern on the XYZ Team!
  • Your experience as an intern turned designer at XYZ!
  • (More specific) Your experience as an ex-competitive gamer and designer at XYZ!

Do not directly ask for a referral

Go in the conversation with the intention to learn about the designer and the company. I know you want that referral, but be patient.

After I applied, I received this email from Pega to schedule a phone screen interview:

Pega's email about internship referral

Phone Screen Interview

Email confirmation for a phone screen interview
Interview scheduled! 

For this round, I prepared by creating a Google Doc. In it, I have a list of common phone screen questions and my answers. I had it right next to me during the call for reference.

On the day, I called the Pega recruiter for 30 minutes. It was straightforward. The recruiter asked questions such as:

  • Why Pegasystems
  • Tell me about your experience designing at JumboCode
  • Tell me about yourself

After the phone screen, I received an email after a week to schedule the next round of interview:

Pega email asking to arrange the next interview

Portfolio Presentation

Pega email with the interview confirmation

In this round, I spoke with Pega’s Senior Manager and the Principal UI Designer. I presented my design portfolio for 25 minutes and had a 5 minute Q&A in the end.

Here are some tips for your next portfolio presentation:

Make a presentation

Do not use your website. Period. Your interviewers are expecting a presentation because it’s easier to digest. I used Figma to create the slides, but any presentation tools will work.

Keep in mind the number of projects

Since this round was only 30 minutes, I decided to present two projects in depth. Use this as a point of reference (30 minutes → 2 projects).

Be clear about your design process

Though design is not a linear process, presenting your work in a linear fashion has its benefits. Be clear with your design process. Here is a standard process I follow for the presentation:

1 - Setting the Scene

  • My Role
  • What is (Project Name) / Story

2 - Problem Context

  • The Problem Statement

3 - Research

  • Goals & Methods
  • Key Findings

4 - Synthesis

  • Personas
  • Information Architecture
  • User Flow
  • Opportunity Areas

5 - Exploration

  • Sketches
  • Mid-Fidelity Wireframes
  • User Testing
  • Design Changes after User Testing

6 - Final Designs

  • High-Fidelity Prototypes
  • Mockups

7 - Learnings

Present projects that is relevant to the role

This is one I fell short of. I didn’t know the interviewers were both from the Design System team. If I knew, I would have focused more on my experience with design systems.

Here are some helpful resources I looked at:

Presentation slide showing one of my projects
Sneak peek of one of my design projects

After this round, the Pega recruiter reached out to me and told me that I’m moving on to the final round!

Pega email scheduling the final round interview

But wait...

After a few hours, I got this email:

Pega email assigning the technical exercise

The interviewers decided to implement a short technical exercise to get a better idea of my design skills. Here were the details:

  1. Create a dummy library in Figma or XD (choose the tool you are most comfortable at using)
  2. Create a few dummy components
  3. Bonus points to create an actual component that is designed (e.g. accordion)
  4. In the 2nd round interview, use this dummy library to demonstrate how other designers would use it and contribute to it

In short, they want me to build out a design system.

Technical Exercise

I decided to recreate Pega’s design system.

Before I started, here were some design principles for the system:


I wanted to show that I care about the specific pixel values and parameters for the components.


Making components isn’t enough. I need to use them to create web pages.

Easy to use

This is where Figma components and variants come in handy. It’s super easy once you set it up well.

Thinking back, it’s funny because turns out Pega has two different design systems: Pega Cosmos vs Bolt. Pega Cosmos was the first one I tried to implement. Yet, I kept getting frustrated because none of the styles matched with Pega’s current website.

And so, I discovered the Bolt Design System.

I first created the basic foundations:

  1. Color
  2. Typography
  3. Elevations.
Design system with color, typography, and elevation

Then, I delved into building components:

  1. Accordion
  2. Form
  3. Action blocks
  4. Tabs
  5. Buttons
  6. Icons
  7. Card
  8. Navbar
  9. Banner
Design system of different components

Basically, I went all out.

I tried to make as many components as I could. I also tried to be as specific as possible. For instance, for a default Pega button, you can set those parameters in Figma:

  1. State=default
  2. Theme=light
  3. Hierarchy=primary
  4. Size=medium
  5. Icon=none
  6. Border radius=small
Grid view of different types of buttons

Also, I made sure that I can actually use these components to build webpages. So, I created a “Testing Page” in Figma to use the components to create Pega’s current website.

Testing out my components


Let’s pause for a bit. Everything seems very smooth at this point.

But that’s not true. I had so, so many questions when creating a design system in Figma. For example:

  • How do you factor in em, rem, or other types of measurements?
  • How do you implement dark and light mode? (Pega has eight different color modes)
  • How do I use design tokens?
  • What should I do if a component has a color that’s not in the color system?

At this point, I was fully immersed in design systems. I studied famous design systems from Atlassian, Uber, Google Material Design, Ant Design, and more. I applied what I learned to my technical exercise.

I even got a chance to talk to Discord’s Senior Product Designer on the Design System Team. Huge thanks to Bryan Berger for the fascinating calls!

Call with Discord's product designer
An insider look into Discord's design system!!!

In the end, I still don’t think I have answers to all my questions. But I tried my best to create a presentable and working design system for the final round.

Since the team didn’t give me a time limit, I spent a lot of time on this. And I had a blast creating a functioning design system.

If you’re curious about what my final design system looks like, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn! Will love to chat!

And after several long hours, the day finally arrived.

Final Round Interview

Pega confirmation of final round interview

Honestly, I was very excited for this round.

I spent SO MUCH TIME on the exercise. I can’t wait to show it to the team!

For the interview, I created a presentation highlighting

  1. Quick overview + what I created
  2. Uses cases & contribution to the system
  3. Future considerations

I went through the presentation and walked through my design system. And based on the interviewer’s reactions, I’m pretty sure they were blown away by the amount of work (not bragging).

Overall, the final round interview went well. And after a few hours, I got a call from a Pega recruiter telling me that I got the spring internship offer!


Now, this isn’t an article where I’m bragging. So, here’s some takeaways for you:

  1. Reach out to people in (company you’re interested in)! Have a chat with them and ask thoughtful questions! If it works out well, you might get a referral!
  2. Have a compelling design portfolio and resume. Won’t delve into this or else this article will be too long.
  3. “Apply Now” button is your last resort.
  4. Preparation is everything. The more prepared you are, the more confident you are. It’s that simple.

And that’s a wrap!

In the end, I’m very happy with how the interviews turned out. And I can’t wait to join Pega as their design intern for the spring!

I hope this article helps you in any way. For everyone who’s on the application grind, you got this!

Thank you for being awesome and reading this far! :)

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