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RACHEL HOUGHTON ANDBETHANY BOWLESCareers in TechnicalCommunication for English MajorsPresentation for the Sigma Tau Delta ...
Agenda Technical communication Skills Disciplines Career opportunities Paths to careers in tech comm Society for Tec...
Technical Communication is …• Communicating about technical or specialized topics interms the layperson can understand• Co...
Skills• Core skills in writing and editing• Creative page design• Photography and videography• Technical illustration• Int...
Creativity Visual design Photo Video Technical illustration
Writing“Tech writing? Yccch! Bor-r-r-r-ing!”“Not so. The days of „Tina theBrittle Technical Communicator‟in Dilbert are go...
Linguistics and International CommunicationSource: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Dec12/LinguisticsOutreach.html
Education and Training Training is much morethan manuals! Online rhetoric Tutorials Web-based instruction Textbooks ...
Rhetorical (Audience) Analysis• The basic principles of rhetoric apply to business communicationas well as to literature a...
Collaboration• Teamwork is critical in technical communication• Collaborative writing is the norm in the field• Your commu...
Web/IT Skills Opportunities for bothanalytical and creativetechnical writing andmarketing communication Web site content...
Disciplines• Technical writing and editing• Hardware and software documentation• Technical marketing communication (e.g., ...
Interdisciplinary ApproachAn interdisciplinary approach is essential tosuccessful technical communication, because theprof...
Tech Writing/Editing Hardware and software documentation Policies and procedures Textbooks Proposals Marketing collat...
Traditional Tech Writing Instructions forinstalling, maintaining, and repairing hardware Instructions on how toproperly ...
Research Pure Applied Research and writingwithin the field oftechnical communication Collaborative writingwith SMEs re...
Aerospace & Industry Proposals to capture newbusiness Technical reports andpresentations Marketing collateral toattract...
Advertising & Marketing Communications Advertising across multiplemedia Print Radio TV Billboards Web sites Social ...
Writing for Non-Profits Grant proposals Fund-raising collaterals Literature for those whoare served by the non-profits...
Healthcare Editing or ghost-writingarticles by physicians formedical journals Patient-oriented web sites Flyers describ...
Gaming Game designers Documentation writersand designers Strategy guide writers Promotional writersExcellent article i...
Career Opportunities• Technical communication spans many disciplines  thejob market is huge• Unless technology stands sti...
Tap Core Skills Writing accurately Writing clearly Writing concisely Writing coherently Writing creatively Tapping d...
Growing Job MarketThere are 45,000+ technical writers in the U.S.!Geographical Distribution of Jobs in Technical Communica...
Competitive CompensationStateTechnical Writers Reporters, Correspondents Public Relations SpecialistsEmployed Mean$/yMedia...
Competitive Compensation (Cont.)StateTechnical Writers Editors Writers and AuthorsEmployed Mean$/yMedian$/yEmployed Mean$/...
Tech Writing Salaries Around the U.S.Tech Writing Salaries in Major Metropolitan AreasThe higher the concentration of tech...
Paths to Careers in Tech Comm
On-the-Job TrainingBefore tech writing programs appeared inuniversities, “OJT” was the only path to acareer in technical c...
Degree Programs B.A. in tech comm M.A. in tech comm Ph.D. in tech comm Undergraduate minor intech comm A certificate ...
Professional Certification STC-developedprofessional certificationprogram Portfolio-based, not test-based Candidates su...
STC Membership
Society for Technical Communication Largest and oldest professional association dedicatedto the advancement of technical ...
Values Behaviors Innovation Integrity Professionalism Respect Commitment Transparency Open communication Inclusion...
Benefits of Membership• Affiliation (geographic or virtual) with an STC studentchapter• Affiliation (geographic or virtual...
Benefits of Membership (Cont.) Eligibility for STCstudent mentoringprograms Professional networking E-access to industr...
Career GrowthNetworking within yourAffiliated STC CommunitiesJob Search andPlacementCareerAdvancementProfessionalDevelopment
MentoringStudent Mentoring Programs:The Why’s, How’s, and MoreBethany Bowles and Rachel HoughtonPresentation to Sigma Tau ...
Joining STC
Membership LevelsStudentMembershipNew TechnicalCommunicatorClassicMembership
Special for Sigma Tau Delta Members•50% discount on membershipfor the rest of 2013 (save$37.50)•Eligible for 33% discount ...
Questions? Come See Us!•SMEs from STC for questions and answers•Materials on the benefits of STC membership•Materials on t...
Better Together!The Society for TechnicalCommunication
Thank you forComing!Feel free to contact us! Rachel Houghton rjhoughton@gmail.com Twitter rjhoughton Bethany Bowles b...
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Careers in Technical Communication for English Majors

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Careers in Technical Communication for English Majors

  1. 1. RACHEL HOUGHTON ANDBETHANY BOWLESCareers in TechnicalCommunication for English MajorsPresentation for the Sigma Tau Delta International ConferenceMarch 21, 2013
  2. 2. Agenda Technical communication Skills Disciplines Career opportunities Paths to careers in tech comm Society for Technical Communication Values Benefits of membership
  3. 3. Technical Communication is …• Communicating about technical or specialized topics interms the layperson can understand• Communicating by using technology, includingemerging new media• Providing instructions about how to do something
  4. 4. Skills• Core skills in writing and editing• Creative page design• Photography and videography• Technical illustration• International communication: “Global English” for non-native-English speakers and for translation• Training and education• Web and IT skills
  5. 5. Creativity Visual design Photo Video Technical illustration
  6. 6. Writing“Tech writing? Yccch! Bor-r-r-r-ing!”“Not so. The days of „Tina theBrittle Technical Communicator‟in Dilbert are gone! Newtechnologies bring newexcitement in exercisingtraditional skills.”
  7. 7. Linguistics and International CommunicationSource: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Dec12/LinguisticsOutreach.html
  8. 8. Education and Training Training is much morethan manuals! Online rhetoric Tutorials Web-based instruction Textbooks New media
  9. 9. Rhetorical (Audience) Analysis• The basic principles of rhetoric apply to business communicationas well as to literature and the arts:o Research your marketo Know your readers/viewers
  10. 10. Collaboration• Teamwork is critical in technical communication• Collaborative writing is the norm in the field• Your communication skills also posture you well forleadership in collaborative teams in the workplace
  11. 11. Web/IT Skills Opportunities for bothanalytical and creativetechnical writing andmarketing communication Web site content anddesign Blogs Wikis Social media IT expertise forcollaborative writingenvironments
  12. 12. Disciplines• Technical writing and editing• Hardware and software documentation• Technical marketing communication (e.g., proposals, brochures)• Scientific writing (and “ghost writing”)• Medical writing• Grant proposals• Web design• Usability and accessibility• Indexing• Information/knowledge management• Instructional design
  13. 13. Interdisciplinary ApproachAn interdisciplinary approach is essential tosuccessful technical communication, because theprofession spans so many disciplines.
  14. 14. Tech Writing/Editing Hardware and software documentation Policies and procedures Textbooks Proposals Marketing collateral Video scripts Magazine articles Copy editing for publishers
  15. 15. Traditional Tech Writing Instructions forinstalling, maintaining, and repairing hardware Instructions on how toproperly use software Detailed manufacturingprocess plans User manuals foreverything from toastersto automobiles Medical reports andresearch articles
  16. 16. Research Pure Applied Research and writingwithin the field oftechnical communication Collaborative writingwith SMEs researchingwithin their specialty
  17. 17. Aerospace & Industry Proposals to capture newbusiness Technical reports andpresentations Marketing collateral toattract new customers Multi-media presentations Web site content anddesign Internal policies andprocedures Employee communications Media relations Community relations
  18. 18. Advertising & Marketing Communications Advertising across multiplemedia Print Radio TV Billboards Web sites Social media Diverse marketing collateral Brochures Flyers Fact sheets Trade show graphics Narrated video Web sites
  19. 19. Writing for Non-Profits Grant proposals Fund-raising collaterals Literature for those whoare served by the non-profits Web sitedesign, content, andmaintenance Empathy andcommitment
  20. 20. Healthcare Editing or ghost-writingarticles by physicians formedical journals Patient-oriented web sites Flyers describing illnessesand treatments, fordoctors‟ offices Medical transcription Instructions forprescription medication Marketing collaterals andweb sites for for-profithospitals, pharmaceuticalcompanies, etc.
  21. 21. Gaming Game designers Documentation writersand designers Strategy guide writers Promotional writersExcellent article in STC‟s intercom magazine:http://intdev.stc.org/2012/01/its-all-in-the-game-technical-communications-role-in-game-documentation/
  22. 22. Career Opportunities• Technical communication spans many disciplines  thejob market is huge• Unless technology stands still, it will always be a growthmarket• Companies are beginning to realize that poor writing andpoor communication hurt their bottom line• Solving that problem taps into your core skills as Englishmajors
  23. 23. Tap Core Skills Writing accurately Writing clearly Writing concisely Writing coherently Writing creatively Tapping diverse media Crossing boundaries and cultures
  24. 24. Growing Job MarketThere are 45,000+ technical writers in the U.S.!Geographical Distribution of Jobs in Technical Communication
  25. 25. Competitive CompensationStateTechnical Writers Reporters, Correspondents Public Relations SpecialistsEmployed Mean$/yMedian$/yEmployed Mean$/yMedian$/yEmployed Mean$/yMedian$/yOregon 570 69.6K 74.5K 580 38.5K 32.4K 2,180 55.6K 52.2KMaryland 2,000 70.0K 69.7K 600 39.0K 30.7K 2,900 70.7K 62.1KNewHampshire180 71.1K 65.3K 190 43.8K 38.6K 870 60.5K 55.2KNew Jersey 1,530 71.5K 67.7K 860 47.3K 42.9K 3,820 64.6K 58.2KConnecticut 910 71.7K 72.2K 570 40.8K 34.6K 990 59.4K 56.6KVirginia 2,880 76.3K 72.9K 960 41.9K 35.0K 7,300 69.3K 62.6KWashington 1,610 79.5K 79.7K 740 44.4K 34.4K 4,990 59.3K 56.2KMassachusetts 1,960 82.1K 81.5K 1,170 64.1K 52.4K 8,650 62.1K 56.7KCalifornia 5,910 84.4K 80.1K 4,010 48.5K 38.7K 22,920 71.0K 62.6KU.S. 45,120 67.3K 64.6K 45,270 43.6K 34.9K 212,510 60.4K 52.4KSalary Comparison Table, Part 1Data is shown for the 9 states with the highest salaries in technical writing,plus the national average.
  26. 26. Competitive Compensation (Cont.)StateTechnical Writers Editors Writers and AuthorsEmployed Mean$/yMedian$/yEmployed Mean$/yMedian$/yEmployed Mean$/yMedian$/yOregon 570 69.6K 74.5K 1,050 52.8K 52.2K 630 56.4K 52.7KMaryland 2,000 70.0K 69.7K 2,150 59.2K 55.2K 900 73.5K 66.6KNewHampshire180 71.1K 65.3K 330 51.0K 46.4K 240 51.3K 48.1KNew Jersey 1,530 71.5K 67.7K 3,450 64.6K 58.2K 1,070 57.5k 53.3kConnecticut 910 71.7K 72.2K 990 59.4K 56.6K 380 63.8K 62.2KVirginia 2,880 76.3K 72.9K 3,190 59.8K 55.2K 1,640 62.4K 57.0KWashington 1,610 79.5K 79.7K 2,580 64.0K 55.5K 870 70.7K 66.3KMassachusetts 1,960 82.1K 81.5K 3,860 65.8K 58.2K 960 65.9K 58.7KCalifornia 5,910 84.4K 80.1K 10,930 60.3K 52.9K 6,500 93.7K 65.2KU.S. 45,120 67.3K 64.6K 98,990 60.5K 52.4K 40,930 68.1K 55.9KSalary Comparison Table, Part 2The mean and median salaries for tech writers are much closer than for otherwriters, reflecting dependable income.
  27. 27. Tech Writing Salaries Around the U.S.Tech Writing Salaries in Major Metropolitan AreasThe higher the concentration of technology and industry, the higher the salaries.
  28. 28. Paths to Careers in Tech Comm
  29. 29. On-the-Job TrainingBefore tech writing programs appeared inuniversities, “OJT” was the only path to acareer in technical communication
  30. 30. Degree Programs B.A. in tech comm M.A. in tech comm Ph.D. in tech comm Undergraduate minor intech comm A certificate based on agiven number of coursesin tech comm
  31. 31. Professional Certification STC-developedprofessional certificationprogram Portfolio-based, not test-based Candidates submit worksamples demonstratingcore competencies Faster and cheaper thandegrees or certificates
  32. 32. STC Membership
  33. 33. Society for Technical Communication Largest and oldest professional association dedicatedto the advancement of technical communication Sets the global standards for technical communication Members reach across every industry and continent Produces a wide array of educational events Publishes award-winning publications: intercom andTechnical Communication (a quarterly peer-reviewedjournal) Maintains a comprehensive website including anextensive archive of webinars World‟s largest technical communication conference
  34. 34. Values Behaviors Innovation Integrity Professionalism Respect Commitment Transparency Open communication Inclusion LeadershipValues and Behaviors
  35. 35. Benefits of Membership• Affiliation (geographic or virtual) with an STC studentchapter• Affiliation (geographic or virtual) with an STCgeographic chapter• Affiliation with one STC special interest group (SIG) ina technical communication discipline of particularinterest to you• Access to salary scales, job listings, and other valuableintellectual property on the international STC web site
  36. 36. Benefits of Membership (Cont.) Eligibility for STCstudent mentoringprograms Professional networking E-access to industry-leading professionalpublications Reduced rates for STCconferences, webinars(plus free webinars), andcertification in technicalcommunication
  37. 37. Career GrowthNetworking within yourAffiliated STC CommunitiesJob Search andPlacementCareerAdvancementProfessionalDevelopment
  38. 38. MentoringStudent Mentoring Programs:The Why’s, How’s, and MoreBethany Bowles and Rachel HoughtonPresentation to Sigma Tau Delta International ConferenceMarch 21, 2013
  39. 39. Joining STC
  40. 40. Membership LevelsStudentMembershipNew TechnicalCommunicatorClassicMembership
  41. 41. Special for Sigma Tau Delta Members•50% discount on membershipfor the rest of 2013 (save$37.50)•Eligible for 33% discount onstudent renewal for 2014(save $25.00)*• Sign up at the conference• Call 1-571-366-1909• barbra.sanders@stc.orgOffer Ends April 30!* Renew by Dec 31, 2013.
  42. 42. Questions? Come See Us!•SMEs from STC for questions and answers•Materials on the benefits of STC membership•Materials on the various disciplines within technicalcommunication•Materials on careers in technical communication•Materials on core skills for technical communicators•Typical salary scales for jobs in technical communication•“Toolkit” (printed book and accompanying DVD) on how toestablish and sustain a student mentoring program•Discounted STC student memberships!•Free giveaways!
  43. 43. Better Together!The Society for TechnicalCommunication
  44. 44. Thank you forComing!Feel free to contact us! Rachel Houghton rjhoughton@gmail.com Twitter rjhoughton Bethany Bowles bethanybowles@gmail.com Dan Voss* daniel.w.voss@lmco.com*Co-developer of presentation.

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