System z User Experience Design


Years in IT—

My first mainframe job—
I had a very dynamic seven-month co-op assignment at IBM in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., working on a team that focused on z/OS usability. As an IT major concentrating in human-computer interaction, I jumped at the opportunity to take a job where I could apply the skills I learned at school. I conducted usability testing, provided input to improve the usability of Web-based applications, intranet Web pages and customer surveys. I also had the chance to troubleshoot issues with some z/OS Web-based wizards. After learning about the power of System z and the mainframe, I gladly accepted a full-time offer to go back to IBM after my senior year.

My favorite mainframe memory—
Part of my job here at IBM is to study our end users, like system programmers, and better understand their skills and needs, while relaying that information back to our teams who develop System z software. When offered the chance to go meet some of our end users at a SHARE mainframe user conference in Boston, I immediately said yes. I recall walking around the big convention center and my mentor introducing me to many of our customers. I was thinking, "Wow, this is awesome. I’m getting to meet some of the real people who use our products." I quickly realized that I would have to contain my enthusiasm while at the conference, and started taking notes to document their user experiences with System z software. I remember collecting as many business cards as I could of all the customers I met, to make sure I maintained those customer relationships during future conferences. Looking back, my initial SHARE experience was definitely my favorite mainframe memory, because it led to building some of the strongest professional relationships I still have today, which I refer to as my SHARE family.
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