Tech-writing is a tricky business. It’s not a really high profile market, so there’s very little support around. Follow these 10 quick pointers, and you’ll be well on your method to a gratifying tech-writing career.
1) Follow a practical profession path …
STEP 1: Start in a team
STEP 2: Stay only simply long enough
ACTION 3: Manage yourself
STEP 4: Manage a team
ACTION 5: Go contracting (depends on the market).
2) Knowledge is your lifeblood– learn the politics of your company. Know who knows what. Find somebody who regularly provides you timely, dependable, technically accurate responses, and get their name tattooed on your shoulder! Every company has at least one. And they may not remain in the project manager/product manager/customer/programmer roles. They are usually individuals who’ve used the product in the real life, and handled real life customers.
3) Communicate WITH, not AT. Tech-writers don’t have adequate power to get away with interacting at.
4) Track stuff (take spreadsheet printout and write it up on the board).
5) Develop great product and domain knowledge– The more you can find out for yourself, the better off you’ll be (and the more respect you’ll obtain from the techies).
6) Find out who your users are, what they are trying to do, what they are having difficulty doing, and how they want to be helped. Then supply this support. Assist the user do what they are trying to do. Do not simply inform them what the product can do … an aid system is just valuable if it attends to the users’ requirements.
7) Treat everybody as a client. Then manage their expectations and your commitments. Always ensure they understand what you’re doing. Inform them when you’ll be ended up. And pull out all stops to meet your deadline.
8) Provide a surrogate user screening system for the advancement team– supplying usability feedback.
9) Work as hard as required to get excellent quality doco finished on time and to budget– this is how you’ll get the fulfillment out of work that you require.
10) Have fun with it.
Do not become seasoned and cynical by the high-tech, extreme, disinterested IT world. Utilize your smarts, and take advantage of the resources provided. Most notably of all, make work satisfaction your number 1 objective. It’s the very best method to remain happy and get ahead.