If there’s one thing we can say about most of the technical communicators we’ve met and worked with, they love learning new stuff (perhaps there’s another: they love arguing about the old stuff). The great thing is, there’s always new stuff to learn. The technical communication field is expanding in impacts, moving towards a strategic role, and growing in influence within organizations large and small. It bodes well for our community.
Your learning options for technical communication professional development are numerous, ranging from post-graduate and undergraduate degree programs, to online certificate programs, to self-study, to continuing education (CE) courses. Many of the CE programs out there offer relatively standard and quite useful options that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow among the HR or management types. But we got to thinking that it might be time to consider some highly specific, advanced classes in the most cutting-edge subjects that fascinate and excite technical communication professionals.
Like most of our polls, this is hardly an exhaustive list. These are the continuing education courses we’d sign up for if they were available through a reputable school or CE program. Of course learning more about publishing content for mobile is important (and we’ve seen some great workshops advertised). For everyone whose first passion is for technical writing, immersion in some of the more advanced areas, like DITA and topic-based writing would be ideal. Those who are looking to expand into disciplines that complement and enhance technical communication would love a deep dive into information architecture and content strategy. And those that embrace the role of user advocate want more on techniques and tools for designing and managing the user experience. Any of which would be well-complemented with some advanced training on the traditional tools of our profession.
However, if none of these appeal to you particularly, we want to hear about the continuing education courses that would help you advance your career and satisfy that love of learning. Post a comment here, and if you have a few minutes, hop on over to the email discussion list and start a new thread. Who knows, we may see one or two of these ideas on a future schedule.