In 1989, I joined Sikorsky Aircraft as a systems engineer writing software requirements. I was assigned to work on a new helicopter being developed for the Army: the Light Helicopter Experimental (LHX). This helicopter is now known as the RAH-66 Comanche and is in flight test and development. Had this been a traditional helicopter program, I’d still be ignorant of human factors, as my
work would have focused on subsystem and integration requirements.
The Comanche, however, was designed from the cockpit out, with much of its software revolving around the interface between the crew and the aircraft. I worked so closely with the human factors engineering team that I became an adopted member. Over the next seven years, I grew addicted to user interface
design problems and joined HFES. During the boom in personal computers I joined a small software company as a user interface designer, where I became, ironically, the human factors “expert.” I worked closely with customers to understand their business needs and designed the functionality and screen layouts for customized software applications. But after a while, I missed working for a larger organization and on projects of greater size. Then I heard about an opportunity at NASDAQ.
Although the position was not specifically in human factors but in systems engineering, it involved the design of the inner workings of the market trading system, the algorithms that determine how buy and sell orders are matched together to form a trade.