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Future-proofing your career


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tcworld India 2017 keynote by Sarah O'Keefe. How to manage a career in technical communication.

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Future-proofing your career

  1. 1. Sarah O’Keefe #tcworldIndia17 Future-proofing your career
  2. 2. #tcworldIndia17 Focus on the things you can control.
  3. 3. #tcworldIndia17 I can’t control everything.
  4. 4. #tcworldIndia17 • World politics • Family situation • Executive decisions • Social media profile • Career priorities (money? location? working hours?) • Which clients/executives to work for
  5. 5. #tcworldIndia17 Keep your options open REPUTATION x NETWORK x SKILLS CONSTRAINTS =OPPORTUNITIES
  6. 6. #tcworldIndia17 Jobs in your network Constraints Skills Risk Opportunity
  7. 7. #tcworldIndia17 Constraints Skills Risk Opportunity Jobs in your network
  8. 8. #tcworldIndia17 Reputation and network
  9. 9. #tcworldIndia17 What risks are you willing or able to take? flickr: chrisfithall
  10. 10. #tcworldIndia17 • Financial • Physical • Health • Family • Geography Risk profile flickr: cyanocorax
  11. 11. #tcworldIndia17 Geography affects your 
 negotiating power. flickr: mtrienke
  12. 12. #tcworldIndia17 • Do you have other job options in your location? • How much of your management chain is local to you? • How important is your location to the organization? • Is your cost of living high or low? Geography and power
  13. 13. #tcworldIndia17 Risk tolerance changes over time. flickr: tm-tm
  14. 14. #tcworldIndia17 Understand your personal constraints flickr: tm-tm
  15. 15. #tcworldIndia17 Gain exposure to different languages and cultures.
  16. 16. #tcworldIndia17 Company size matters. Me Pty Ltd
  17. 17. #tcworldIndia17 Win-win solutions! Good
 for you Good
 for your 
  18. 18. #tcworldIndia17 • Growth opportunity • Cement resume or fill in skill gap • A reasonable stretch • Good team • Increased compensation Good for you Good
 for you Good
 for your 
  19. 19. #tcworldIndia17 Fads, trends, and paradigm shifts
  20. 20. #tcworldIndia17 Product evolution;
  21. 21. #tcworldIndia17; Trend Paradigm shift
  22. 22. #tcworldIndia17 • Makes your life more fun. • Solves a problem that you care about. If it’s a fad, it probably… flickr: philliecasablanca
  23. 23. #tcworldIndia17 • Improves business results • Solves a problem that businesses care about • Lowers business risk • Makes business more predictable If it’s a trend, it probably… flickr: saitecingenieros
  24. 24. #tcworldIndia17 • Opens up new possibilities not previously available • Will divide people, especially early adopters versus laggards • Requires a new way of looking at a problem If it’s a paradigm shift, it probably…
  25. 25. #tcworldIndia17 Transcreation - bullet and image
  26. 26. #tcworldIndia17 Focus on trends and paradigm shifts flickr:underpants
  27. 27. #tcworldIndia17 • Structured content • Augmented reality • Machine translation • Mixed environments for content creation • Complex systems and artificial intelligence Focus on trends and paradigm shifts
  28. 28. #tcworldIndia17 A fad may be part of a trend…
  29. 29. #tcworldIndia17 Hand-coding HTML Custom XML flavors Markdown Virtual reality goggles A fad may be part of a trend… Web publishing Structured content Mixed authoring environments Augmented reality
  30. 30. #tcworldIndia17 • Production editors • Paradigm shift to automated formatting • Opportunity: shift from production editing to XSL developer • Risk: production editor skills are devalued • Risk:Workload is upfront, not ongoing Paradigm shifts mean 
 opportunity—and risk
  31. 31. #tcworldIndia17 • Paradigm shift from static content to context-aware content • Opportunity:Augmented reality app development/ integration • Risk: Devaluation of “just write the steps” content Augmented reality—layer information onto live visuals
  32. 32. #conferencehashtag API documentation jobs aren’t going to last.
  33. 33. #conferencehashtag Markdown is the precursor for a trend.
  34. 34. #tcworldIndia17 Markdown: use of special-purpose markup languages
  35. 35. #tcworldIndia17 Augmented reality: combining multiple, context-aware inputs
  36. 36. #tcworldIndia17 Machine translation: Just a matter of time before it takes over. flickr:simski
  37. 37. #tcworldIndia17 Connected machines: You’ll wonder how people existed without them.
  38. 38. #tcworldIndia17 • Does it improve business results? • Can it increase automation? • Does it reduce risk? Follow the money.
  39. 39. #tcworldIndia17 Management or technical track? flickr: mikecogh
  40. 40. #tcworldIndia17 • Project management • Reduced responsibility for writing • Different skill set than technical communication • Potential for leadership positions • Not everyone is suited for management. Management
  41. 41. #tcworldIndia17 • Technical expert • Develop deep expertise • Mentor new writers • Design/architect overall documentation approach • Not everyone is suited for technical track Technical
  42. 42. #tcworldIndia17 • Control what you can • Manage your profile • Assess your risk tolerance and personal constraints • Think about company size • Don’t drift. • Fads, trends, and paradigm shifts • Carefully choose management versus technical track Future-proofing your career