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Insights from David D. Levine, Writer, Designer, and Engineer

with David D. Levine

Video: Introduction

David D. Levine answers questions about each stage in his career path, from architectural student to technical writer, to interaction design and engineer, and finally, to award-winning science fiction writer.
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Insights from David D. Levine, Writer, Designer, and Engineer
Video Duration: 0s 37m 33s Beginner


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David D. Levine has worn many hats in his long career: technical writer, interaction designer, software engineer, and award-winning science fiction author. His career path, with its ups, downs, and redirections, mirrors the one many job seekers find themselves on today. Find out how he turned a BA in architecture into a technical writing career, and, a decade later, transformed himself into an interaction designer and, finally, a software engineer. And see how, even after his retirement, he found ways to use his technical background to write science fiction stories. This course breaks down the different stages in David's career into sections where he answers questions and offers hard-won advice to job hunters. Dive in and get insights from an expert—in more than one industry!



My name is David I am, I am a science fiction writer, and I've also worked as a software engineer technical writer user interface developer, and user interface designer. My background is that oh, let's go all the way back to college. I got a degree, a Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in Architecture. I graduated in the middle of a recession, and there was no work for an undergraduate architect.

So, I fell back on my ability to write papers. I had always been very, very good at writing all kinds of term papers and fictional stories. And so, I managed to talk my way into a job as a technical writer, at Techtronics in Portland, Oregon. And, from there, I never went back to architecture as I had intended to do, because the money in high tech was so good. So, I worked as a technical writer for about ten years, and then I got tired of having to clean up the messes that the software engineers had made, by designing these terrible users interfaces that nobody could understand, and leaving the technical writers to explain it.

So, I said, I want to be a software engineer. I want to be the one that actually makes those messes, so that the user interface can be something that the technical writers will be able to describe much more easily. So, I changed over from being a technical writer to a software engineer and I worked first on command line stuff, and then on stuff with graphic user interfaces. I worked at Techtronics, and then Intel, and then McAfee, as a software engineer, doing more and more user interface design work. And then I discovered that I was actually being loaned out to other projects to do user interface design and implementation.

I'd gotten a really good reputation within the company. And they finally said hey, we need, we don't, we don't need you doing user interface code. We got lots of people that can write the code, we need you to be a full-time designer. So I became a full-time designer, and then they realized they needed more full-time designers. So they actually built up a studio, an interface design studio around me. And by the time I left there were like seven people in the user interface design studio at McAfee. And then I retired because my I was, I was doing well with the stock options, and I'd been doing well with my science fiction writing as a side project.

So, now I don't have a day job. I am a science fiction writer, and I do a lot of travel.

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