TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for September 21, 2012

This week’s update on technical communication and the TechWhirl community is supported by Platinum sponsor ComponentOne & their Doc-To-Help Help Authoring Tool |

One critical aspect to doing a successful career upgrade in technical communication concerns professional development.  TechWhirl is fortunate in being able to cover some of the leading conferences in technical communication and content strategy, such as the LavaCon Conference (where we’ll be presenting sessions on winning business cases and on change management) and the STC Summit. And we’ve also presented features that look at distance learning as a professional development option.

Professional development and professional certification are important topics both here in North America, and around the world. Tekom, Europe’s largest membership group devoted to technical communication, takes a different approach to certification than the STC. We take a look at the TCTrainNet program, offered through tekom’s English language arm, tcworld, and its training and certification components.

Given that professional development focuses on your future success, you might want to watch our Fast 5 interview with Noz Urbina, who’ll present at LavaCon on the future of technical communication, and took some time to answer a few big questions for TechWhirl.  If your future has freelancing written into it, take a few minutes to vote in this week’s technical communication poll on the challenges of freelancing and let us know your thoughts. Scott Abel, the Content Wrangler, is conducting a benchmarking survey about technical communication and training, which will provide some critical information about the direction of the profession, but only if you participate.

And we think it’s always worthwhile to spend time building your network and our community of technical communication professionals, who are always ready to offer advice, assistance and opinions via the email discussion list. It’s easy, free, informative and entertaining.

Have a great weekend!

-The gang at TechWhirl

  Tech Writer This Week for September 20, 2012This week we offer a “mini-course” in technical communication, covering infographics, scripting videos, public speaking, and creating documentation plans. Plus some some interesting takes on the “titles” debate in the field of user experience, and some fascinating commentary on mobile content strategy and whether customer satisfaction actually translates to action.
  TCTrainNet: The Global Perspective on Technical Communication Professional Development & CertificationProfessional development takes many forms in the world of technical communication—conferences, mentoring, on-the-job (OTJ) and other forms of training, post graduate education, continuing education and certificate programs, and professional certification. In North America debate rages on the value and relevance of some of these development forms, especially in professional certification. But since the world of technical communication is a global, multicultural field spanning a wide array of industries, taking a look at professional development through a global lens can provide some insight, and new alternatives, to how we approach the technical communication field. TechWhirl spoke with Tony Self, cofounder of HyperWrite Consultancy and Training and Director of Training for TCTrainNet, an English language initiative of tekom’s tcworld.
  Technical Communication Poll: Challenges in FreelancingWhile the number of people moving into independent consulting or freelancing continues grow, turning technical communication freelancing into a full-time career comes with challenges and risks. It is after all, managing a small business, even if the business employs only one professional.
Future of Technical Communication: TechWhirl Fast 5 with Content Strategist Noz Urbina In this TechWhirl Fast 5 interview, Noz Urbina, content strategist, consultant, and organizer of the Congility conference events in Europe, predicts the future of technical communication, waxes enthusiastic on training and user experience, and orients us to fast-moving technology, our interactions, and the evolving role of technical communication.

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