A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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The Academic Job Market in Technical Communication, 2002-2003   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Analysis of the academic job market in 2002-2003 reveals that 118 nationally advertised academic jobs named technical or professional communication as a primary or secondary specialization. Of the 56 in the "primary" category that we were able to contact, we identified 42 jobs filled, 10 unfilled, and 4 pending. However, only 29% of the jobs for which technical or professional communication was the primary specialization were filled by people with degrees in the field, and an even lower percent (25%) of all jobs, whether advertised for a primary or secondary specialization, were filled by people with degrees in the field. Search chairs report a higher priority on teaching and research potential than on a particular research specialization, and 62% of all filled positions involve teaching in related areas (composition, literature, or other writing courses).

Rude, Carolyn D. and Kelli Cargile Cook. Technical Communication Quarterly (2002). Careers>Academic>TC>History


Accounting: A+ in Your Column

To save yourself heartache, introduce the accounting department to the idea of measuring the total value returned minus the cost of documentation. After all, if the accounting department understands one thing, it's saving (or attempting to) save money. If you can show them that, yes, you did do fewer pages, but it saved three days of your time and managerial review, four thousand dollars in printing, and many hours of customer service dealing with disgruntled users, the department may be more understanding.

Brautman, Heather. Carolina Communique (2004). Careers>TC


Adjusting to Changing Times in Technical Communication   (PDF)

Without the usual abundance of jobs, I was forced to re-evaluate my skills, my place in our profession, and, ultimately, myself. Slowly but surely I realized that I could find work if I was willing to let go of the past, re-assess the current playing field, and act accordingly.

Hall, Ceil W. Intercom (2003). Careers>TC


Analysis of the Skills Called for by Technical Communication Employers in Recruitment Postings   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Provides a framework of experiences and skills employers call for in job postings. Shows that potential employers are seeking very technical or domain-specific knowledge from technical writers. Shows that specific technology tool skills are less important to employers than more basic technical writing skills.

Lanier, Clinton R. Technical Communication Online (2009). Careers>TC


Appraising Technical Communicators   (PDF)

Appraisals based on objective performance criteria identify and measure the abilities and contributions of technical communicators. This workshop explores how to develop effective performance criteria, specific to technical communication, and how to use these criteria to evaluate performance and foster professional growth and development.

Gilbert, Catherine E. and Sharon A. Gambaro. STC Proceedings (1994). Careers>TC>Assessment


Are You a Craftsperson or an Entrepreneur?   (PDF)

Discusses Michael E. Gerber's The E-Myth Revisited, a book that has led her to rethink her business and her approach to some key tasks.

Frick, Elizabeth G. 'Bette'. Intercom (2007). Careers>TC


Are You Careering in Control?   (PDF)

If you're having difficulty as a technical communicator finding the right career advancement path, then you're not alone; many technical communicators struggle with the problem of controlling their careers. It sometimes appears easier to let others make decisions about where, for whom, on what and how you work. Technical communicators often go 'where the work is' rather than assess the dynamics of the marketplace and determine where they can add the most value. The reality is that you have the power to control your own career and that you can make conscious decisions, build a plan based on those decisions and implement that plan. As a technical communicator, you can use the same skill set that entrepreneurs use to take advantage of the marketplace and to create the career opportunities that you want.

Simmons, Laurel R. STC Proceedings (2003). Careers>TC


As the Paradigm Shifts: Skills Technical Communications Will Need in the Coming Ice Age   (PDF)

Forces are converging in the mid-90's that threaten to change the shape of technical communication forever. This paper-attempts to examine a few important manifestations of the coming ICE age (Information, Communication, Entertainment): business pressures to shrink documentation; a manifesto to move from paper to online documentation; a growing emphasis on making the user successful; a convergence of documentation and training; and the explosion of multimedia/interactive media. This paper then predicts what new skills technical communicators must develop in order to remain marketable -- and grasp opportunity -- during this period of great change.

Cheirrett, Peg A. STC Proceedings (1995). Careers>TC


Ashes or Phoenix? Technical Communication or Information Design?   (PDF)

The results of a study of 28 New Zealand technical communicators show that practitioners in this country are undergoing the same role redefinition as their colleagues in the US. New Zealand practitioners are no longer just 'wordsmiths' but are using a wide range of multimedia skills to design and produce user-ready information products. Practitioners were interviewed to find out what their roles were, how their roles had changed and what skills they believed were essential to be a successful technical communicator. The results revealed a group of highly motivated problem solvers and a profession that is evolving to use the core competencies of information design with new strength and energy.

Reynolds, Alison. STC Proceedings (2002). Careers>TC>Regional>New Zealand


Be Able to Say, 'Been There! Done That!': Cultivate your Career Skills through Deliberate Volunteering   (PDF)

To attain your career goals, you cannot simply go to work and perform the assigned projects, allowing your manager direct your professional path for you. You must treat your working life much like you treat a documentation project and be deliberate. Take charge of your progress by volunteering to complete projects that challenge and advance your capabilities. Plan and prepare for challenging opportunities that provide you with new work experiences; identify and execute tasks that advance your skills, knowledge, and abilities; and evaluate your career development, results, and your accomplishments with each enterprise you complete.

Swindle-Troell, Elizabeth F. STC Proceedings (2003). Careers>TC>Planning>Volunteering


Becoming a Technical Communicator   (PDF)

So you want to be a technical communicator? Here are some pointers to get you started.

Info Action (2004). Careers>TC


Becoming a Technical Communicator

Thinking of a career in technical communication? This article offers one point of view on what you need to know to be successful in the field.

DMN Communications (2008). Careers>TC>Technical Writing


Becoming InfoWranglers: New Career Ladders and Competencies for Technical Communicators

The emergence of the web has accelerated the convergence of marketing communications, training, and technical communication. Marketing communicators are increasingly producing users' guides, trainers are producing wizards and marketing materials. Technical communicators are producing tutorials and pre-sales literature.

Carliner, Saul. Boston Broadside (2000). Careers>TC


The Benefits and Pitfalls of Mentoring   (PDF)

A mentoring program encourages employees; can target potential managers and specific employees who need assistance; facilitates implementation of corporate strategies; requires a coordinator to administer the program, usually a person found within HR who spends no more than 1 day per week on mentoring activities.

Bailey, Elizabeth. STC Proceedings (2006). Careers>Mentoring>TC


Best Jobs in America 2009: Technical Writer

Technical writers write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, online help documentation, operating directions and maintenance instructions. Rank: 28th best job in America.

Money Magazine (2009). Careers>TC>Writing>Technical Writing


Bloom Wherever You’re Planted: A Different View on Fostering Career Longevity   (PDF)   (members only)

Potsus provides twelve tips on how to maintain your mental, spiritual, professional, and physical health in order to ensure you grow and flourish in your career, instead of wither away.

Potsus, Whitney Beth. Intercom (2009). Careers>TC>Professionalism


The Bottom Line   (PDF)

It's not been easy for art directors and graphic designers to maintain a career amidst rapidly changing technology and design trends.

Shinn, Nick. ShinnType (2001). Careers>TC>Typography>Graphic Design


Breaking News!   (PDF)

This panel explores what corporate leaders in the Technical Communications field consider the hottest topics in the industry today.

Conklin, John James, Judith L. 'Judy' Glick-Smith, George Hayhoe, Thomas B. Hoyt and Deborah Rosenquist. STC Proceedings (1998). Careers>TC>Knowledge Management>Localization


The Bucks Stop Here: Your Technical Communication Business   (PDF)   (members only)

Guess uses personal anecdotes from her years as a business owner to provide five lessons she learned the hard way on running a technical communication business.

Guess, Suzanne. Intercom (2010). Careers>Management>TC


Buggy Whips, the Arch Deluxe, and Quality Improvement   (PDF)

Sometimes quality is not enough to ensure success. Do you know who made the world’s finest buggy whips? Neither do I. Doubtless the manufacturer continuously improved its product to a fare-thee-well, but once the automobile became popular, the market for buggy whips (to say nothing of the market for buggies) evaporated, and there was nothing to be done for it.

Jong, Steven F. Intercom (2003). Careers>TC>Assessment


Building a Constituency Through Outreach   (PDF)

Since government agencies deal with all audiences represented in the population, a variety of communication strategies must be used. One example from work at the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory serves to illustrate this point in reaching out to communicate environmental issues. In this example, interpersonal, community, mass media, and print communication all serve a vital role in building a constituency around one environmental issue.

Carter, Kathy E. STC Proceedings (1994). Careers>TC>Environmental>Government


Business Roundtable:  Are You Ready to Grow Your Business?   (Word)

In 2001 and beyond, do you plan to be the boss?  If you have the entrepreneurial itch, running your own business may be central to your career plan.  What practical, professional and emotional pitfalls are in store?  Four successful business owners share their experiences and discuss how to turn potential pitfalls into challenging, lucrative adventures.  

Fredrickson, Lola, Sheila Jones, Stephanie L. Rosenbaum and Donna Sakson. STC Proceedings (2000). Careers>Management>TC


Career Assessment in Changing Times   (PDF)

It used to be the prospect of retirement that made us stop and think about who we are and how we want to spend the productive years ahead. Not any more. This kind of thinking and planning is critical for everyone today, given the dramatic changes taking place in the business world. As companies shed staff of all ages, we need to assess our own strengths and weaknesses and career options. This experienced panel talks abut reinventing yourself, overcoming obstacles - real and imagined, practical considerations for the part-time, home-based business and 'dream' career alternatives.

Jones, Sheila C., Roger A. Grice, William A. Mattingly and Coralyn K. McGregor. STC Proceedings (1996). Careers>TC>Assessment


Career Choices for Designers

What do you want to be when you grow up? Some people think there is only one choice, but Christina Wodtke shows us that there are as many choices as there are people making them.

Wodtke, Christina. Boxes and Arrows (2007). Careers>TC>Design


A Career in Technical Communication: What's in It for You?   (PDF)

Who wrote the installation manual for your car stereo? Who created the brochure to market your cell phone? Who designed the help menu on your favorite word processor? Highly skilled professionals called "technical communicators" produce all of these items. What does a career in technical communication have to offer? Here are some things you can count on.

STC. Careers>TC



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