Today was my last day as Lead Software Engineer at Comcast Interactive Media (CIM), and tomorrow I start my new role as a User Experience Technologist / Principal Application Developer for CIM. Its been an awesome 5 years in engineering but its time to move to newer domains.
The decision to move to UX was definitely not something I just woke up to. I have always considered myself an engineer, and have a Masters in Computer Engineering to back that up. Heck, this blog is a testament to my love for programming. I love learning new technology, and am fascinated by programming concepts and domains. However for me programming is the means to an end. My end goal has always been to get ideas down to working apps and getting them out there in front of the huge user base Comcast has. That was the most gratifying part of working on different projects like the Fan, the Comcast.net portal and more recently microchannels within Comcast.net and Fancast.com.
A while back I wrote a post on the need for creative technologists, and that feeling is something that has steadily grown over the last couple of years. The new technologies are enabling a much richer experience for an end user but there is a lack of experience designers who investigate the new platforms. And these platforms are more than just pure technology, they include things Facebook, OpenSocial, Yahoo Homepage, etc. It is something I hope I can bring to the table in my new role. And just for effect, I will re-insert Grant Skinner’s Venn diagram on where UX fits in the engineering/design world:
Thankfully it feels like the perfect time to be at this position. Off the shelf technology and instant on solutions like Google App Engine promise to reduce the temporal gap between ideation and functional prototypes. And with a strong initiative within CIM to encourage grassroots innovation, it seems like the perfect storm of awesomeness :). Personally this position also will help me grow in areas I have traditionally not dabbled in, be it more middleware/backend programming or business and finance. I am very thankful to CIM for enabling me to explore this direction.
I am a little emotional about no longer being called an Engineer, but hopefully I wont be an outcast from the engineering team, even if I do wear a beret and occasionally talk about shades of teal ;). This blog will still be called Code Zen, and I will continue to release open source libraries (the 0.6 release of OpenPyro is coming up btw), but I think now I can be a little less bashful about commenting about user experiences and methodologies. I will be learning a lot in the next few months and as always, will share it all here.
Color me excited !