Getting a job in API documentation: Podcast with Andrew Davis
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:
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About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.