The class lectures, discussions and some of the blog posts by classmates has brought to my attention the multi-disciplinary nature of HCI more than ever. People enter the HCI field from various different backgrounds such as psychology, visual design, industrial design, engineering, web development and many others. Different backgrounds have an immense positive effect since it brings in so many facets of the human nature into the field. This reminds of the video we saw in class about IDEO redesigning shopping cart. The video called the team an "eclectic" one which ranged from biologist to marketing to psychology. They worked in perfect unison to bring their expertise from several fields to come up with the solution to shopping cart problem. HCI is similar to that. In my experience of 1 year as an off campus student, I have met classmates from different backgrounds and each one them has provided deep insights into various topics of discussion.
While the multi-disciplinary is a great thing, it can also pose issues. You get to learn about several different fields. Since this is still a growing field and with so many several different avenues that it can lead to, I find myself lost and overwhelmed with amount of skills set that I have to learn. Other fields such as engineering or computer science have the skill set etched out. With HCI, it depends on the route you want to take. You not only need insights in psychology and visual design but also be able to program as well. Current job descriptions ask for skills that range from latest web technologies, programming knowledge, prototyping knowledge, design skills, usability testing skills, as well cognitive psychology know how. I see a lack of specialization & clear direction that I see in other professional fields.