Technology is both an increasing force in our everyday lives and one of the fastest-growing job sectors. Currently, there’s a shortage of entry-level candidates—especially females—to fill a vast demand in the IT industry. How can we get more young people engaged in the field while making sure that companies of the future have a diverse workforce?
When people hear my job title, "Experience Architect," they often ask what I do for a living.
I deliver digital experiences.
They look at me quizzically and I often fall back on terms like "user-centered design" or "UX" to explain what I do. On more than one occasion these answers have led to a twinkle of recognition in the listener's eyes. Just as often, that twinkle is followed by a smirk of skepticism.
I get it. My profession—one consisting of solving problems through good, usable design—has struggled to find its place in the industry.
That's partly because quality “user experience” design is not always obvious, or easily measured. It's experiential. It's the delight of getting out of an Uber car without struggling to find your wallet or having to figure out the tip. It's the satisfaction of knowing, with just a single click, that the book you want is now in your Kindle. You know it when you see it, hear it, or feel it. You experience it.
The act of creating good digital experiences is not easy. In fact, it is a multi-step process that requires different skills at different times, and integrating it into a high-performing agile development team is no trivial matter. The keys? Process, teamwork, and a commitment to an integrated approach.
What makes this approach different is the tight integration between multiple roles. Traditional user experience design is all about what happens on the screen—the screen of a laptop, a phone, an automotive infotainment system, or any visual display. The kind of overarching, end-to-end digital experience design we are talking about transcends the glass slab. Think of that aforementioned Uber ride. You get in the car, and the driver welcomes you by name. That's part of the digital experience. It happens because the system knows who you are and has told the driver. But the joyful part of the experience is an interaction of people.
The technology world today requires a much broader skill set than what was traditionally required only a few years back. Crafting breakthrough digital experiences requires not only software developers, but also experts in data analytics, embedded programming, user experience research, and design. It's becoming a little more like a movie production team with rolling credits that feel as long as the movie itself.
When you enter a Forge by Pillar, you enter something more than a software studio, more than a design shop, and so much more than just a physical workspace. You enter an Experience, one designed and built to support the team-based, creativity-infused agile approach Pillar takes to developing world-class software.
For more than 20 years now, Pillar has been at the forefront of agile. We embraced pairing, test driven development, and the practices and values of the agile manifesto before they were well-known or widespread. We lived them and breathed them and evangelized them across our organization and across our clients.