Human Factors Credentials

23 Feb 2006 - 2:54pm
8 years ago
2 replies
484 reads
krazlh
2006

Hello all,

Sorry to bother you all with another credentials question. I have already
read the messages from both this list and the one from the ACM on getting
masters or the HFI Certificate.

My situation is a little different. I recently graduated from an IA Program
and has been searching for related jobs for almost a year now. There are
little opportunities here in Vancouver(Canada), which means whenever
something opens up, I will be up against people with many years of
experience or advanced education. I am thinking more education might
increase the chance of me getting into the field. Also, I wish to strictly
focus on Usability in the future than IA. So this might be a big change for
me since my former education does not include topics such as usability
testing or quantitative analysis.

I know you all think that the HFI certificate is not that widely
recognizable by employers, and a masters might worth more. My past GPA is
below the admission requirement of most programs, so that might not be an
option for me. I did a lot of research and my choices are either the HFI
Certificate program or those industry conferences such as CHI 2006. So if
you are an employer, if you haven't consider me before, will you consider me
now if I have the HFI certificate or CHI2006 on my resume? Or should I just
keep on with my career search?

For those of you in TO, how's the usability community there?

Thank you for those who can help!

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Comments

23 Feb 2006 - 9:58pm
krazlh
2006

First off, thanks to all of you with such valuable information. Sorry that
I did not include my identity. I am afraid if my current employer finds out
from someone that I am already thinking about switching jobs, that might get
me fired.

Jess > I am definitely considering IA Summit. Before I was juggling between
conferences or the HFI Certificate program as I have limited budget. Since
there are so much negative opinions about the certificate program, I might
as well go for the conferences.

Brian > I have applied to Habaneros already and is still trying to get a
hold of their hiring company. Since I called Habaneros and they said they
do not have anyone I can talk to in their company about their position.

Ash > I am interested in focusing on Usability testing in the future, but
want to start doing Interaction Design first since that¹s where my education
lies. Since I want to focus on Usability more later, I was considering the
certificate program since I assume that can be another strong reference.
Thanks for suggesting Toastmasters, I wasn¹t aware of such a group. I have
already joined UPA, a lot of the employers did ask me about that, but mostly
unaware of its existence.

Jay > Thanks for agreeing with me about the Vancouver job market. Being on
the search for so long, the opportunities are still scarce. Do you think I
should relocate then find a job there? Since I don¹t live in the US, moving
there could be a problem without a sponsorship.

Louise > I like your idea of networking in the conferences, since that might
expand my current network. Most of the people I know are still searching
inside the small usability job pool in here.

About internships, there are no internships opportunity posted anywhere in
Vancouver currently. One option is I can start approaching companies to see
if they are interested in hiring internships. I have also look into
volunteering to the usability communities in Vancouver, but there aren¹t
that many organizations here, maybe just one or two. I contacted them a few
months ago but they might still be setting up since I follow up and follow
up but still no event yet.

That all said, please let me know if there are more advice. Thank you.

Loretta Hui
http://www.lorettahui.com

24 Feb 2006 - 8:03am
Lada Gorlenko
2004

k> About internships, there are no internships opportunity posted anywhere in
k> Vancouver currently. One option is I can start approaching companies to see
k> if they are interested in hiring internships. I have also look into
k> volunteering to the usability communities in Vancouver, but there aren¹t
k> that many organizations here, maybe just one or two. I contacted them a few
k> months ago but they might still be setting up since I follow up and follow
k> up but still no event yet.

A couple of things you could do for free, get a great deal of
learning in the process and boost your resume:

1. Join a professional community and volunteer your time.

If you want to develop your usability aptitude, go to the UPA site and
sign up for one of their initiatives. If you want to boost your design
resume... how about volunteering to IxDA?

You may not get first-hand experience in running user tests or
designing mission-critical systems. However, you will:
-- show your keen interest in the subject and willingness to get your
hands dirty;
-- pick up a skill or two that you may find useful in your new role;
-- collaborate with some talented and experienced people (getting
advice from mailing lists is good, but when you do a project together,
it's different);
-- become part of an initiative that will benefit many professionals;
-- not just learn about the profession, but also help to shape it -
and no certification can beat that!

2. Become a conference reviewer.

Reviewing the work of others has several benefits:
-- you get to know what others are up to in the field;
-- you learn to *think critically* about the work of others;
-- you learn to build a professional argument and show your
understanding of the subject;
-- you get a chance to disagree with some well-established names in
the field - and since most reviews are blind both ways, you are safe
to do so :-)

Some conferences such as CHI will only accept seasoned reviewers with
a strong track of previous reviewing experience and CHI attendance.
Others, like UPA or HCI (British version of CHI), welcome less
experienced reviewers too. Take a look at the relevant conferences,
for example at http://eventful.com/calendars/C0-001-000002941-1 .
Identify conferences of your interest. Get in touch with the org
committees. Even if you won't be able to go to the conference, review
for them as a matter of learning and getting involved.

3. For usability in particular, get involved in the World Usability
Day activities.

This is your real chance to shine. Whether or not you have a response
from your local community, *you* can define and organise local events
that reflect your interest. See http://www.worldusabilityday.org/ or
join the <UsabilityDay> group at Yahoo!Groups.

I'll be the first one to argue in favour of good education. However,
community activities speak more about the person's genuine interest in
the profession than certificates. To me, at least.

Lada

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