The Society for Technical Communication (STC) is an international professional society for the advancement of the theory and practice of technical communication. It has hundreds of local chapters (also known as 'communities.'
On a beautiful fall morning in November, a sizable group of STC volunteers gathered on the SAS campus in Cary for the 2012 Judging Day, an annual event for evaluating and critiquing entries from businesses in the area.
STC membership has declined over the years. Yearly membership fees sharply increased several years ago, and fewer employers pay for membership in professional organizations. Folks question the yearly membership fees. “What do I get for $250 a year? Webinars that I have to pay for and two magazines.”
The Society for Technical Communication (STC) announced today that certification for the technical communication field has been approved. Within the next year, technical communicators will be able to attain certification in their profession.
A profile of Stan Higgins, one of the first editors of STC's journal. Based on archival research and an interview with Higgins. Includes a table of journal titles (e.g., TWE Journal, STWE Review) and names of editors.
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).
SIGs exist to serve specialized needs within the greater organization. Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Professional Interest Committees (PICs) are a tool by which the local chapters can serve a diverse range of special interests, boosting chapter membership. The Lone Star Chapter (Dallas/Fort Worth) began hosting SIG meetings three years ago. Currently, with four active SIGs, we are hosting an additional 100 to 200 members per month. This is how we built our SIGs to promote membership in STC. In the spring of 1990, a group of disgruntled contractors began to meet formally to discuss dissatisfaction with insurance plans for independents available through the society. We had been meeting informally for many years, to discuss the job market, rates available, and generally to gossip. We call it networking. personal contact or the sudden ice storm we had that night attendance was down significantly. From that point, we have kept a mailing list updated from our sign-in sheets, and sent postcard reminders about each meeting.
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.
One non-renewable scholarship of $500 will be granted toward school tuition and expenses for the 2003-2004 academic year. The award will be paid directly to the school for crediting to the student's account. To assist a student who is pursuing an established degree program in an area of technical or professional communication. A committee set by the SIGDOC board will evaluate each application with respect to potential future contribution to the field of technical communication. Financial need is not a factor.
The ACM community is in a position to take a leadership role in responding to the challenges brought by last fall’s terror attacks. Some of us have already been contacted to contribute to designs for improving security at airports, verifying identity at check-in, or redesigning cockpits to give more options to pilots and ground controllers. Others will be asked to redesign systems that trace financial transactions across international borders or examine email patterns among loosely affiliated groups. These efforts win the broadest support when our decisions about how to pursue safety and security are coupled with a strong defense of civil liberties and privacy.
Several similarities exist between writing technical documentation and writing dramatic scripts. Technical writers who also write drama find they become much more aware of audience, differentiate more easily between 'need to know' information and 'nice to know' details, and better anticipate reader actions and reactions.
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.
Technical communication is often misunderstood by those outside the profession or the academic field. These outside perceptions of our work, generally based on extremely limited and narrow notions of the field, can influence the opportunities available to technical communicators. In this paper, three faculty members from the University of Washington's Department of Technical Communication describe their academic assumptions and research activities that range far beyond traditional areas from technical writing such as writing, editing and production. They describe projects that represent the expanding boundaries of the field of technical communication, spanning domains (including medicine, corporate, and public service), methods (including contextual inquiry, content analysis, case studies, and log file analysis), and solution types (including content management, user driven content, computer mediated communication, and strategic management of systems). What these projects share is abroad vision of the field of technical communication and a broad vision of the contributions that technical communication professionals have to offer.
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.
This podcast is a recording of a presentation I gave to students at the Missouri State University technical writing conference on April 23, 2010. With this presentation, because the audience was students, I focused mainly on the changing roles technical communicators are playing. My basic premise is that many IT environments have an assumption that “anyone can write.” Because of this assumption, technical writers are changing their roles, becoming hybrids with additional skill sets, or moving beyond the basics of writing in order to provide both value and find fulfillment.
This article introduces apparent feminism, which is a new approach urgently required by modern technical rhetorics. Apparent feminism provides a new kind of response that addresses current political trends that render misogyny unapparent, the ubiquity of uncritically negative responses to the term feminism, and a decline in centralized feminist work in technical communication. More specifically, it suggests that the manifestation of these trends in technical spheres requires intervention into notions of objectivity and the regimes of truth they support. Apparent feminism is a methodology that seeks to recognize and make apparent the urgent and sometimes hidden exigencies for feminist critique of contemporary politics and technical rhetorics. It encourages a response to social justice exigencies, invites participation from allies who do not explicitly identify as feminist but do work that complements feminist goals, and makes apparent the ways in which efficient work actually depends on the existence and input of diverse audiences.
Technical communication is usually seen as a practical profession -- one that emphasizes products, process and results -- rather than one that emphasizes theory and broad, generalized application of research results.
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.
Professionalism is a recurrent topic of discussion—formally and informally—among technical communication scholars and practitioners. In the diversity among our programs and approaches to technical communication, the difficult issues surrounding certification in technical communication is a professional goal that major stakeholders have typically considered too complex to be addressed. Increasingly, however, many of these stakeholders agree that we can no longer continue to ignore these complex issues. In an earlier article, I have described twelve issues that must be addressed and tasks that must be undertaken to move the profession towards meaningful certification. In that discussion, I also suggest approaches to begin the work on each of these steps. In this present discussion, I address the first of these steps—codification of the bodies of knowledge through the development of an encyclopedia of technical and professional communication. In order to accomplish this, I describe the categories of knowledge in the field and the editorial and organizational structure of the project.
Professionalism is a recurrent topic of discussion - formally and informally - among technical communication scholars and practitioners. In the diversity among our programs and approaches to technical communication, the difficult issues surrounding certification in technical communication is a professional goal that major stakeholders have typically considered too complex to be addressed. Increasingly, however, many of these stakeholders agree that we can no longer continue to ignore these complex issues. In an earlier article, the author have described twelve issues that must be addressed and tasks that must be undertaken to move the profession towards meaningful certification. In that discussion, the author also suggests approaches to begin the work on each of these steps. In this present discussion, the author addresses the first of this steps-codification of the bodies of knowledge through the development of an encyclopedia of technical and professional communication. In order to accomplish this, the author describes the categories of knowledge in the field and the editorial and organizational structure of the project.
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.