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Mapping your path in tech comms:
Surviving the early years
Louise Fahey
louisef90@gmail.com @LouiseF_90
2
If you remember nothing else from today…
To succeed in technical communication, you must:
• Persevere
• Learn
• Ask
3
About me
• Most importantly: First time TCUK attendee and speaker (please be nice!)
4
To succeed in technical communication, you must:
• Persevere
• Learn
• Ask
5
Breaking into technical communication
6
Get involved with the ISTC
They provide:
• Online resources
• Free monthly InfoPlus+ newsletter
• Local area group meeti...
7
The application process
• Get your CV in order
• Put together a portfolio of writing samples
• Contact an agency or comp...
8
Play up your soft skills
9
Expect a writing test
DON’T PANIC!!!
10
Hit the books
Take a course:
• Short courses
• University courses
• See Courses in Technical Communication for more inf...
11
To succeed in technical communication, you must:
• Persevere
• Learn
• Ask
12
Getting over the steep learning curve
13
What makes it so steep?
Need to learn:
• Authoring tools
• Product you are documenting
• Writing style
Best ways to lea...
14
Importance of a good mentor
15
What makes a good mentor?
16
Knowledge is power – keep learning once you’re in
Tools and industry trends change with time – do what you can to keep ...
17
Learn some industry knowledge
• Not as much time spent writing as you might think
• Working in tech comms, you become a...
18
Importance of setting goals
19
Importance of setting goals
• SMART goals are:
– Specific
– Measurable
– Achievable
– Relevant
– Timely
• Make use of t...
20
Be proactive about your career
• Keep a log of your achievements
– This is evidence to prove why you deserve that promo...
21
To succeed in technical communication, you must:
• Persevere
• Learn
• Ask
22
The importance of verbal skills
• Cannot do our jobs without speaking with subject matter experts (SMEs)
23
If you don’t ask, you don’t get
• No stupid questions
• It’s all about how you approach people:
– Be polite
– Show resp...
24
Tips for getting the information you need
• Instant messages and emails for small questions
• Face to face for bigger q...
25
And remember…
To succeed in tech comms, you must:
• Persevere
• Learn
• Ask
Thank you very much for your time 
26
Questions?
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Louise Fahey - Mapping your path in tech comms: Surviving the early years (TCUK 2016 - slides only)

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*Powerpoint only - for notes, see: http://www.slideshare.net/louisefahey3/louise-fahey-mapping-your-path-in-tech-comms-surviving-the-early-years-tcuk-2016*

Are you a newbie to tech comms? Or are you a tech comms expert charged with the training and development of a newbie? If so, this presentation is for you!

Using my first two years working in tech comms as a reference, I will share tips and tricks that are key to the development of new starters in the field.

This includes advice for breaking into technical communication, entering the profession from a non-technical background, getting over the steep learning curve at the beginning, the key skills you should focus on developing, as well as much more!

Published in: Career
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Louise Fahey - Mapping your path in tech comms: Surviving the early years (TCUK 2016 - slides only)

  1. 1. Mapping your path in tech comms: Surviving the early years Louise Fahey louisef90@gmail.com @LouiseF_90
  2. 2. 2 If you remember nothing else from today… To succeed in technical communication, you must: • Persevere • Learn • Ask
  3. 3. 3 About me • Most importantly: First time TCUK attendee and speaker (please be nice!)
  4. 4. 4 To succeed in technical communication, you must: • Persevere • Learn • Ask
  5. 5. 5 Breaking into technical communication
  6. 6. 6 Get involved with the ISTC They provide: • Online resources • Free monthly InfoPlus+ newsletter • Local area group meetings • Mentoring scheme
  7. 7. 7 The application process • Get your CV in order • Put together a portfolio of writing samples • Contact an agency or company that takes trainees – Start with one of the ISTC Business Affiliate companies
  8. 8. 8 Play up your soft skills
  9. 9. 9 Expect a writing test DON’T PANIC!!!
  10. 10. 10 Hit the books Take a course: • Short courses • University courses • See Courses in Technical Communication for more information
  11. 11. 11 To succeed in technical communication, you must: • Persevere • Learn • Ask
  12. 12. 12 Getting over the steep learning curve
  13. 13. 13 What makes it so steep? Need to learn: • Authoring tools • Product you are documenting • Writing style Best ways to learn: • Practice • Training • Webinars
  14. 14. 14 Importance of a good mentor
  15. 15. 15 What makes a good mentor?
  16. 16. 16 Knowledge is power – keep learning once you’re in Tools and industry trends change with time – do what you can to keep up to date: • Consider more training courses • Watch webinars • Subscribe to tech comms blogs • Go to events such as TCUK • Attend ISTC area group meetings • Look at job descriptions – good indicator of what’s hot and what’s not
  17. 17. 17 Learn some industry knowledge • Not as much time spent writing as you might think • Working in tech comms, you become a jack of all trades: – Usability – Testing – Content Strategy • Useful to have knowledge of industry you’re working in – understanding of Agile really helped my career
  18. 18. 18 Importance of setting goals
  19. 19. 19 Importance of setting goals • SMART goals are: – Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Relevant – Timely • Make use of the HR department to help you (this applies to trainees and managers)
  20. 20. 20 Be proactive about your career • Keep a log of your achievements – This is evidence to prove why you deserve that promotion or are suitable for that new job • Get people to endorse you on LinkedIn - it looks good • Take advantage of any opportunities that come your way – your CV will thank you for it
  21. 21. 21 To succeed in technical communication, you must: • Persevere • Learn • Ask
  22. 22. 22 The importance of verbal skills • Cannot do our jobs without speaking with subject matter experts (SMEs)
  23. 23. 23 If you don’t ask, you don’t get • No stupid questions • It’s all about how you approach people: – Be polite – Show respect for their work • The more you get to know people, the easier it is to ask questions
  24. 24. 24 Tips for getting the information you need • Instant messages and emails for small questions • Face to face for bigger questions • Take advantage of casual chats • Set up a meeting • Use the whiteboard
  25. 25. 25 And remember… To succeed in tech comms, you must: • Persevere • Learn • Ask Thank you very much for your time 
  26. 26. 26 Questions?

×