Re: Future Tech Writer with Software Questions

Subject: Re: Future Tech Writer with Software Questions
From: Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca>
To: Craig Lashley <clashley -at- mail -dot- usf -dot- edu>
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2015 15:35:12 -0700

Hi Craig,

I'm going to give you advice that will take you away from whatever the rest
of the group are talking to you about tools.

Hint #1: Learn User Experience Design techniques, including conducting user
testing. Nothing is worse than documentation that fails to provide users
with the information they need, in the form they need it, when they need
it. You could spend all your time learning how to use X/Y/Z tools (which is
great) but then your first approach to any problem will be to throw
technology to solve it, rather than define the actual problem.

Hint #2: Learn Agile methodology. Even industries and R&D centres that
don't "do" Agile appreciate that you can manage expectations, provide
regular updates, and gain their feedback (a.k.a. stakeholder testing)
between versions that you show them. Nothing is worse than providing a doc
plan, writing a bunch of stuff for 6 months, then releasing the
documentation, only to find that had you consulted stakeholders throughout
your discovery process you would have hit the markers they deemed to be
important.

Hint #3: Join Toastmasters. Learn how to structure a speech, become an
engaging storyteller, and conduct effective meetings. In our line of work,
dollars get stripped from the technical documentation budget all the time.
Knowing how to present a business case, support your arguments, and ask for
additional resources will take you further than if you don't know how to do
these things.

At the end of the day, stay on top of your industry and find the niche you
enjoy more than others. You have to love what you do. You won't necessarily
know this when you start out, but each of your jobs will present you with
things you like and things you hate. Learn to build your professional
career narrative around the things you like and are good at. I've been a
writer, programmer, video editor, photographer, illustrator, database
developer, system architect, and now I'm wearing my user experience hat.
I'm an anomaly, and I prefer to stay that way, otherwise work gets boring
fast.

Cheers!
-Tony


On Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 4:20 PM, Craig Lashley <clashley -at- mail -dot- usf -dot- edu>
wrote:

> Hello,
>
> I am currently in school for Technical Communication and will be graduating
> next Spring. I've been trying to determine what types of software would be
> best to purchase while I can still get a student discount. I saw a post
> about Adobe Tech Comm Suite a few days ago. I also see Frame Maker and Dita
> a lot white doing tech comm searches. Are these worth buying as an
> individual? I've been told several times to learn HTML. I have a basic
> understanding for coding such as Java and C++. Is there a legit way to get
> certified HTML to show a future employer? I've done many walk through
> tutorials on Youtube, and have a basic concept and understanding of HTML. I
> feel for a future job having some sort of tangible documentation proving
> that would benefit me. Are there other certifications outside of a college
> degree I should look into? There appears to be a large amount of webpages
> saying they offer certificates, but which ones actually carry weight? I am
> working on determining what I could be doing outside of going to class to
> help me really have an upper hand as far as employment in technical
> writing.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Craig
>
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References:
Future Tech Writer with Software Questions: From: Craig Lashley

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