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wersdaluv
September 13th, 2009, 04:19 PM
I am a psychology graduate and am into industrial psychology. The usual path we take is human resource. However, as a software enthusiast, I discovered a field that interests me very much, software usability.

I am very keen on this field and am trying to use my knowledge and skills to contribute to FOSS by reporting bugs and suggesting to developers. It is not very easy to communicate my ideas, though. Canonical's Matthew Paul Thomas describes this very well in his article called Why Free Software has poor usability, and how to improve it (http://mpt.net.nz/archive/2008/08/01/free-software-usability). I will use his suggestions for me to contribute more to FOSS but it doesn't end there.

As a fresh graduate, I am thinking about ways to earn a living. Yes, it is a necessity. Many people tend to have a career that's different from their hobby because of hindrances like lack of opportunity. I think, it is unfortunate and I may end up doing the same thing if there really are no opportunities.

To be more assured that I'll earn a living out of the specialization that I want, I am planning to study programming. Writing my own code could be the only way for me to do software usability. I am from the Philippines and I haven't seen a job opportunity for this field in my country yet. Software usability is so much of a specialization and it seems that its job opportunities only exist in the research and development department in head offices of big software companies. It's even harder to find a job description that includes software design exclusively. It is very difficult to get those jobs for people like me.

As Matthew Paul Thomas (2008 ) said, "Some programmers are also great designers, but most arenít. Programming and human interface design are separate skills, and people good at both are rare." I do not have programming skills yet and I will find out if I can program well after I take my programming crash course (if I tend to pursue it). If it turns out that other than being keen on user interface design, I can also code well, I'll definitely pursue programming as a career by working for a local firm or as a freelancer. However, if it turns out that my interest in software is limited to design, where do I go?

What do you think about careers in software design? Is this just for the very selected few? Should designers also be coders to be successful in this field of expertise? What can you suggest to people like me to contribute as much as possible to software and earn a living?

23meg
September 13th, 2009, 04:37 PM
To be more assured that I'll earn a living out of the specialization that I want, I am planning to study programming. Writing my own code could be the only way for me to do software usability.

Do you mean this in the sense that if you can't earn a living through usability work, you'll have your programming skills as a "plan B"?


I am from the Philippines and I haven't seen a job opportunity for this field in my country yet.

That doesn't mean you can't create one.

And if you do, assuming that it's an untouched field in your region and there's actually a demand for it, you'll be the first on the scene, which may translate to an advantage if you do your part well.


However, if it turns out that my interest in software is limited to design, where do I go?

Short answer: to San Francisco. Seriously. That's where the serious interaction design business is - you need to be really serious to hold on too, though.


What do you think about careers in software design? Is this just for the very selected few?

Not at all; it's a whole big industry now. This is a time when many software companies are finally "getting" design, and there's a lot of demand for user experience designers, usability consultants and such. Of course, you do need to be in the right place, and have gone through the necessary education and/or literature.

wersdaluv
September 14th, 2009, 02:14 AM
First of all, thanks a lot!


Do you mean this in the sense that if you can't earn a living through usability work, you'll have your programming skills as a "plan B"?
Not really as a plan B. I'll learn programming so I'll be a programmer who does usability. I hope, programming works for me. If not, I don't think I'll be able to pursue a software-related career if there's no chance for me to do software design without programming.



That doesn't mean you can't create one.

And if you do, assuming that it's an untouched field in your region and there's actually a demand for it, you'll be the first on the scene, which may translate to an advantage if you do your part well.
Hmmm. I've been wanting to do this but I don't know where to start. I will continue looking for employers but so far, what I've heard is that they can't accommodate someone who does software design full time. It seems that I have to code so I can design the software that I write.


Short answer: to San Francisco. Seriously. That's where the serious interaction design business is - you need to be really serious to hold on too, though.
I'll think about this seriously. However, I will have to gain more experience and the money to get there. I don't think my parents will support me in doing such a bold move without the assurance that I'll get the job. Also, I may not have yet what it takes to be hired over there. Thanks for this. After I gain some experience and confidence, I'll see if that will work for me.


Not at all; it's a whole big industry now. This is a time when many software companies are finally "getting" design, and there's a lot of demand for user experience designers, usability consultants and such. Of course, you do need to be in the right place, and have gone through the necessary education and/or literature.
Bullseye. :)



I'm planning to take a short Java course then write some simple mobile apps. In my place, there are opportunities in this field. Local telecommunication companies are hiring mobile software developers. I'm aspiring to be one and practice usability (while coding). After gaining skills and knowledge from that experience, I'll see if I can take this to a more serious level.