TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for September 7, 2012

This week’s update on technical communication and the TechWhirl community is supported by Platinum sponsor Adobe and their Technical Communication Suite 4 | http://adobe.ly/scpwfT

Career development is one of those topics we refer to as “evergreen.” We in technical communication never tire of discussing all the aspects surrounding how we spend most of our waking hours.  Indeed, the TechWhirl email discussion list has at least two high-flying threads related to careers: Yehoshua Paul started a fascinating and pretty lively discussion on “Having fun with your resume – good idea/bad idea?” and the venerable DoughtyTechWriter is struggling with “Desperate Tech Writer to Happy Analyst?”

One of the interesting subtexts to Doughty’s thread concerned whether folks who have transitioned from technical writing to other areas still hang out in a technical communications community. Happily the answer is yes, folks who also do user experience design, content strategy, business analysis, technical marketing, policy and procedures, and proposal development all chime in regularly on a host of topics.  Which lends at least anecdotal credence to my belief that technical communication interacts and overlaps with so many other areas of an organization, it’s hard to believe you ever really leave it.

And this partly explains why we kicked off our “Career Upgrade” month with a poll question that asks “Are You Changing Careers?”. The totally unscientific results thus far indicate that despite many chats and rants to the contrary, an awful lot of folks in technical communication enjoy their career choice and plan to stick with it. We also featured a great piece from Roger Renteria which asks, and answers, “Is Distance Learning Worth It?”

If you haven’t visited our jobs site—jobs.techwhirl.com, now’s a great time to check it out… we’ve been adding new positions regularly, and include some helpful tips on job search strategies.

Over the next month, we’ve got a lot planned to assist with your technical communication career upgrade, including guidance on making the switch to independent consulting, the difference between leadership and management, identifying and dealing with burnout, and more.  And oh yeah, we’re getting ready to go on the road to LavaCon 2012 in Portland, OR, so our TechWhirl team is gearing up (Rachel Houghton, Lois Patterson and Michael Munkvold), and we’re continuing with our Fast 5 Interviews with some of the great speakers and panelists who’ll be there.

Have a great weekend!

-The gang at TechWhirl

  Tech Writer This Week for September 7, 2012

Summer fun might be on the wane, but tech comm discussions on the web are popping briskly. Existential and thought-provoking commentary on where technical writers or communicators fit into the wild and wooly world of tech comm; RTFM and finger-pointing, and the rise of infographics, plus links to past and upcoming Fast 5 Interviews.

  Professional Development in Tech Comm: Is Distance Learning Worth It?

In August, I asked our wonderful community of technical communication professionals about their opinions and thoughts about online distance learning and I was amazed by the responses regarding the topic of distance learning. As part of TechWhirl’s September theme of “Your Career: Upgrade in Progress,” we try to demystify the world of distance learning, because if you plan on upgrading your skills in technical communication, you may find yourself in front of the computer screen attending an online course.

  Technical Communication Poll: Are You Changing Careers?

Sooner or later, and usually more than once, you’ll go through a serious debate with yourself about changing careers. You may be planning to get into technical communication, or out of it, or around it somehow, but chances are you’re on a path rather than a pinnacle in your career. According to various sources most people will change careers several times, and will change jobs at least seven times. During September, we’re exploring what it takes for technical communication professionals to do a “career upgrade.”

  Hey Technical Communication Laborers-Take the Day off!

Yes it’s a holiday in the U.S., one which most businesses still grant to their hardworking employees. So in honor of the whole idea of work of all sorts, especially the technical communication kind, TechWhirl decided that, today, we wouldn’t do any.

Technical  Communication News

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Connie Giordano

Connie Giordano is a partner in INKtopia Limited and editor of TechWhirl's Tech Writer Today online magazine. She has been a list member and contributor since the days when 14,400 baud was high speed communications, and Windows 95 was state-of-the-art.

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