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.
- My name is David Delevingne. I am a science fiction writer, and I've also worked as a software engineer, a technical writer, a 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 Tektronix 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 10 years, and then I got tired of having to clean up the messes that the software engineers had made by designing these terrible user 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 Tektronix, 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 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 doing well with the stock options and I had been doing well with my science fiction writing as a side project.
So now, I don't have a day job. I'm a science fiction writer and I do a lot of travel.