what to do: write or usability?

Subject: what to do: write or usability?
From: KAREN_OTTO -at- HP-SPOKANE-OM2 -dot- OM -dot- HP -dot- COM
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 08:39:14 -0700

Item Subject: cc:Mail Text
Kristine J. Oldberg posed a quandary: she can either continue with
tech writing, or go over to usability and software design.

I suggest that it all depends. I was a hardware design engineer for 13
years. Didn't enjoy it. I liked project work, but I just didn't care
so much for the hardware part.
Now, I've been tech writing for over two years. It's HEAPS more fun
for me. However, I don't expect it to last forever either. I
anticipate 5-10 more years in TW, and at the same time I'll be getting
a degree in human factors design of some sort, then move over to
usability in some form. (Do you get the feeling these plans are
flexible? :-)

The reason I plan this is because of my interests, and because of my
prediction of the future of TW. I find the interface between the human
and the hardware fascinating. I see TW as an important aspect of that
interface, but I also think the most successful TWs will be those who
have the capacity to design that interface in any way possible. That
includes software and screen design as well as document design.In the
future I see this interface design becoming more internal to the
product and less on paper.
So, if I had the same problem, I'd jump into the usability side.

Kristine, you should probably consider what you want to be doing from
now til retirement. Try and figure out which job best achieves that.
Good Luck!

karen_otto -at- hp -dot- com

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