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Getting a job in API documentation: Podcast with Andrew Davis

Dec 17, 2014 • api-doc, podcasts

Length: 45 min.

Download MP3 (right-click and select Save As)

Getting a job in API documentation can be tricky. What programming skills do you need to know? How in-depth does your technical knowledge need to be? What kind of authoring tools and methods are relevant for jobs in API documentation?

In this podcast, I talk with Andrew Davis, a former technical writer who turned to recruiting for technical writers. Andrew specializes in helping companies find technical writers for highly technical roles, often for API documentation or other developer documentation jobs. (In fact, when I moved out to Silicon Valley, Andrew helped me find my first job in the valley.)

Here are some of the topics we talk about in this job market podcast focused on API documentation:

  • What kinds of programming languages and skills are companies looking for in tech writing candidates?
  • What kind of authoring tools or methodologies are most important to know?
  • How does the API documentation market compare with jobs for GUI or traditional documentation?
  • Can someone with a humanities background excel in the field of API documentation?
  • Why do some software engineers turn to technical writing?
  • Can technical writers with English degree backgrounds compete against technical writers who are former software engineers?
  • Are remote working opportunities feasible in API documentation, or do employers expect you to be on site?
  • When interviewing for API documentation jobs, how do you present writing samples if your materials are confidential or proprietary with your previous company?
  • How much money do technical writers make in API documentation jobs in Silicon Valley?
  • How do you transition to Silicon Valley from out of state and land a job in technical writing?
  • How long should you stay employed at a company?

Contacting Andrew Davis

If you'd like to contact Andrew Davis, either to enlist his services in placing a technical writer for an opening at your company, or for help in being placed in a company, here's his contact information:

Andrew Davis
email: [email protected]
twitter: @synergistech

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical communication — Swagger, agile, trends, learning, plain language, quick reference guides, tech comm careers, academics, and more. I'm interested in simplifying complexity, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture and findability, and more. If you're a technical writer of any kind (progressional, transitioning, student), be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.