What advice would you give to fellow engineers?
Start out with finding the right problem to solve. This is a combination of “what customers are asking for”, “what customers don’t even know they want yet” and “what can be solved with something simple to understand and manage”. And, try to think about and understand various approaches, and the tradeoffs between various choices.
…But the world would be a better place if more engineers, like me, hated technology.
The stuff I design, if I’m successful, nobody will ever notice. Things will just work, and be self-managing. Though, I’ve learned that some people like to configure things, so I usually design in knobs for them to play with, and perhaps improve things, but any setting of the knobs will still work correctly.
When engineers [who] just love this stuff design something, we wind up with a system that asks an innocent person attempting to install email, “Do you want POP or IMAP?” One common comment engineers make is that we need “more user training”. That’s just wrong. Instead of expecting humans to adapt to an interface slapped together by engineers, engineers should strive to create a system that is designed for humans in their natural form.