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Newsletter: AI and tech comm survey results, Zoomin's predictions, Beating an ATS, ChatGPT plugin docs

by Tom Johnson on Apr 11, 2023 •
categories: technical-writing AInewsletter

The following are a few interesting links related to tech comm I've been reading this week.

How Generative AI Impacts the Techcomm Content Industry: Key Predictions, by Zoomin

Zoomin Software, a company offering a cloud-based doc platform supporting DITA, published a whitepaper describing AI’s anticipated impact on tech comm. Predictions from the white paper are as follows:

  • SMEs become authors as AI generates 80% of content: “SMEs will no longer spend time training someone else (i.e. the writer) on the domain and will also not need to review their work, thus leaving them time to generate better content.”
  • TWs become tools experts: “Technical writers will need to spend more of their time being the ‘center-of-excellence’, hence mentoring and supporting the SMEs content production. Thus, the writer becomes the SME of content creation, production, and publication.”
  • Semantic structuring and metadata become key for companies trying to surface content in large language models (LLMs): “…structured content … can dramatically help with the definition of content semantics to make the content highly optimized for programmatic consumption via search, filtering and personalization.”
  • Style checking and proofreading are done by AI: “LLMs will be able to do most of the stylistic editorial work on the content.” Reviews focus on content not language/style.
  • Readers use conversational interfaces instead of search to find answers.
  • LLMs create content mashups that synthesize content from many different siloed sources to create an integrated source of truth: “LLMs can analyze all of these content pieces, and dynamically build a ‘Content mashup’ — i.e a new ‘synthetic’ summary of the content made from fragments from the various content pieces rewritten as a cohesive and personalized answer.” Even largely unviewed content becomes integral in shaping this content mashup.
  • Analytics becomes AI-generated to deliver more insightful, business-readable info to shape content directions.

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How to Beat the Dreaded Applicant Tracking System, by Jack Molisani

This article appeared in the Jan/Feb 2022 STC Intercom (so it wasn’t that recent), but the article recently won the Intercom Outstanding Article award for 2022, so I decided to check it out. Jack Molisani has been staffing tech comm jobs for many years. The article focuses on how to beat Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs), which are computer systems that automatically select matching resumes from large submission piles. AI tools will make these systems even more important in the future as a first barrier to overcome in the job search. Molisani says the way to beat an ATS is as follows:

  • Opt for personal referral from your network instead, especially from chapter or event meetups.
  • Be visible by presenting, writing and sharing articles, such as helping out with answers online. “Speak at chapter meetings and at conferences. Start an industry-related blog or podcast. Volunteer at the chapter, SIG, or international level.” Jack relates how one person volunteered as a newsletter editor for their STC chapter. “Someone read one of the newsletters on the chapter website and liked it so much they offered her a job.”
  • Make your resume job title match the position job title.
  • Use the same keyword phrases in your experience as the keyword phrases in the position description.
  • Keep your sentences short because “an ATS can’t parse long sentences.”
  • Check your resume’s performance against the job posting using an online ATS evaluation tool. You might find that even small variations like having “UI/UX” on your resume instead of “UX/UI” impacts the score matching.

The only technical writing certificate for career changers (Sponsor)

Last year, 70% of the US workforce was actively looking for a career change. But as many as 62% of career changers never followed through.

Why?

  • Time — takes too long to learn a new skill.
  • Money — costs too much to learn new skills.

So, too many stuck to a job they disliked, stagnating in careers with no hope of advancing or changing.

If you’re a career changer and considering technical writing, Jump School is the only course you need to start as a technical writer.

The big role of web service API reference documentation in ChatGPT Plugins, by Kayce Basques

Kayce Basques explains how plugins for ChatGPT will elevate the importance of good API documentation:

  • ChatGPT plugins enable ChatGPT to retrieve real-time info (post-2021, which is the time period when the model was trained).
  • Plugins are web service APIs that call an API to retrieve this real-time data.
  • The plugins must be described with the OpenAPI spec: “You can only maximize the chance that ChatGPT uses your plugin by describing your API effectively!… Effective API reference documentation will probably become much more closely tied to organization success and much easier to measure. A high-quality API reference that closely matches the vocabulary of users and is easy for ChatGPT to consume should result in increased plugin usage.”
  • The audience for the OpenAPI spec is ChatGPT, not human developers.

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About Tom Johnson

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 my API documentation if you're looking for more info about that. 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. Finally, note that the opinions I express on my blog are my own points of view, not that of my employer.

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