Tech comm trends

Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists

By Tom Johnson / @tomjohnson
idratherbewriting.com

Slides: idratherbewriting.com/trends-growing-disproportions

Video recording of presentation

Where to get more info

http://bit.ly/trendstomscci

Agree/disagree survey

http://bit.ly/tomtrends | http://bit.ly/tomtrendsresults

Questions?

The end

Tom Johnson
idratherbewriting.com
@tomjohnson
to[email protected]

References and additional reading

#### [Slide 1: Why trends intrigue us](#/1) Thangavelu, Poonkulali. ["Companies That Went Bankrupt From Innovation Lag."](https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/072115/companies-went-bankrupt-innovation-lag.asp) *Investopedia*. Retrieved Oct 2018. Johnson, Tom. ["What technical writing trends will we see in 2018?"](https://idratherbewriting.com/2018/01/02/technical-writing-trends-2018-and-2017-review) 2 Jan 2018. #### [Slide 2: The impact of UX and the need for docs](#/2) Grey, Jim. ["Software technical writing is a dying career (but here’s what writers can do to stay in the software game)."](https://softwaresaltmines.com/2015/06/16/software-technical-writing-dying/) *Delivering software through leading people well.* 16 June 2015. #### [Slide 3: An “evolution” of roles, but towards what?](#/3) Pratt, Ellis. ["40. The evolution of the technical communicator’s career."](https://cherryleaf.podbean.com/e/the-evolution-of-technical-communication/) *Cherryleaf*. 2 Aug 2018. Johnson, Tom. [Survey results](https://www.questionpro.com/t/PESakZc1sh) from survey questions embedded in ["Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part II)"](https://idratherbewriting.com/2018/10/02/providing-value-as-generalists-in-specialist-contexts-part-2/). 89 responses to the question "Technical writing jobs haven't diminished, but the profession is evolving." *Idratherbewriting.com* 9 Oct 2018. #### [Slide 4: BLS data about TW and SD job growth](#/4) ["Software Developers."](https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm) *Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook.* 13 Apr 2018. (Note: For previous years (2010, 2012, 2014), use the [Wayback Machine](https://archive.org/web/) with these same URLs.) ["Technical Writers."](https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/technical-writers.htm) *Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook.* 13 Apr 2018. (Note: For previous years (2010, 2012, 2014), use the [Wayback Machine](https://archive.org/web/) with these same URLs.) [*2016-2017 STC Salary Database (based on 2016 data).*](https://www.stc.org/salary-database/) *Society for Technical Communication.* Retrieved Oct 2018. #### [Slide 5: Effects of the growing disproportion?](#/5) Johnson, Tom. [Survey results](https://www.questionpro.com/t/PEUzEZc5vF) from survey questions embedded in ["Tech comm trends -- why tech writers will be collaborating more with engineers"](https://idratherbewriting.com/2018/10/09/tech-comm-trends-more-collaboration-with-engineers). 77 responses to the question "The number of engineers I support seems to be growing each year, making the ratio of tech writers to engineers more lopsided (with fewer tech writers and more engineers)." *Idratherbewriting.com* 9 Oct 2018. #### [Slide 6: Less time for technology knowledge ramp-up](#/6) Johnson, Tom. [Survey results](https://www.questionpro.com/t/PEGKEZcj57) from questions embedded in ["Strategies for learning technology -- podcast recommendation and a poll"](https://idratherbewriting.com/2018/08/10/how-much-time-devoted-to-learning-tech-is-needed/). 41 responses to the question "How much time do you actually devote to learning technology each day?" *Idratherbewriting.com* 10 Aug 2018. Johnson, Tom. ["Number One Issue for Technical Writers Today: Keeping Pace with Rapidly Evolving Technology."](https://idratherbewriting.com/2007/03/01/number-one-issue-for-technical-writers-today-keeping-pace-with-rapidly-evolving-technology/) *Idratherbewriting.com.* 1 Mar 2007. #### [Slide 7: Trends we can infer from job ads](#/7) Brumberger, Eva and Lauer, Claire. ["The Evolution of Technical Communication: An Analysis of Industry Job Postings."](https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/stc/tc/2015/00000062/00000004/art00002) *Technical Communication, Volume 62, Number 4.* Nov 2015. #### [Slide 8: Subject-matter familiarity a constant requirement](#/8) Lanier, Clinton. ["Analysis of the Skills Called for by Technical Communication Employers in Recruitment Postings."](http://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/stc/tc/2009/00000056/00000001/art00008) *Technical Communication, Volume 56, Number 1*. Feb 2009. Baehr, Craig. "Complexities in Hybridization: Professional Identities and Relationships in Technical Communication." *Technical Communication Journal*. Volume 62, Number 2, May 2015. #### [Slide 9: Experience documenting [X] technology already](#/9) Johnson, Tom. [Survey results](https://www.questionpro.com/t/PEUzEZc5vF) from survey questions embedded in ["Tech comm trends -- why tech writers will be collaborating more with engineers"](https://idratherbewriting.com/2018/10/09/tech-comm-trends-more-collaboration-with-engineers). 77 responses to the question "Subject matter familiarity is a key requirement in a lot of the tech comm jobs I've looked at. It seems employers often want me to know X, Y, and Z technologies already from the start." *Idratherbewriting.com* 9 Oct 2018. Amazon Jobs. [Senior Technical Writer](https://www.amazon.jobs/en/jobs/764259/sr-technical-writer). Feb 2018. #### [Slide 10: Tech knowledge valued more than writing skills](#/10) Johnson, Tom. ["If writing is no longer a marketable skill, what is?"](https://idratherbewriting.com/2018/08/09/writing-no-longer-a-skill/). *IdRatherBeWriting.com* 9 Aug 2018. ["How much weight does a certificate in technical writing carry?"](https://www.reddit.com/r/technicalwriting/comments/9nxr21/how_much_weight_does_a_certificate_in_technical/) Technical Writing forum, Reddit. October 2018. #### [Slide 11: Strategy #1: Increase tech knowledge](#/11) ["How much code do you need to know?"](https://idratherbewriting.com/learnapidoc/jobapis_learning_code.html#techniques-for-learning-code) *Documenting APIs.* 2018. #### [Slide 12: Strategy #2: Empower engineers to contribute](#/12) [Survey results](https://www.questionpro.com/t/PE5tIZduq7) from [questions embedded](https://www.questionpro.com/a/TakeSurvey?tt=EUog6ET5DAw%3D) in [Documenting APIs site](https://idratherbewriting.com/learnapidoc/). 21 responses to the question "When I engage in documentation efforts, I prefer to treat documentation like software (using Git, text editors, Markdown, static site generators, building from the server, etc.)" Feb 2018. ["Docs-as-code tools"](https://idratherbewriting.com/learnapidoc/pubapis_docs_as_code.html). *Documenting APIs.* 2018 ["Recording of Docs-as-code tools and workflows presentation"](https://idratherbewriting.com/2018/03/09/docs-as-code-tools-and-workflows-denver-presentation/). *IdRatherBeWriting.com* 9 Mar 2018. #### [Slide 13: Strategy #3: Develop project management skills](#/13) ["How to become a 10X technical writer in the workplace"](https://idratherbewriting.com/2019/02/07/how-to-become-a-10x-technical-writer-in-the-workplace/). *IdRatherBeWriting.com* 7 Feb 2019 ["Documentation for Software Engineers."](https://www.parson-europe.com/en/knowledge-base/11-documentation-for-software-engineers.html) *Parson.* Retrieved 26 Nov 2018. #### Related posts on trends from my site [Principle 11: Be both a generalist and specialist at the same time](https://idratherbewriting.com/simplifying-complexity/both-a-generalist-and-specialist-at-same-time.html). 2018. [What technical writing trends will we see in 2018?](https://idratherbewriting.com/2018/01/02/technical-writing-trends-2018-and-2017-review/) 2 Jan 2018. [Recording of Trends presentation on The Content Wrangler BrightTALK channel](https://idratherbewriting.com/2019/01/17/recording-brighttalk-trends/). 17 Jan 2019 [Tech comm trends -- why tech writers will be collaborating more with engineers](https://idratherbewriting.com/2018/10/09/tech-comm-trends-more-collaboration-with-engineers/). 9 Oct 2018. [Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists](https://idratherbewriting.com/2018/10/02/providing-value-as-generalists-in-specialist-contexts-part-1). 2 Oct 2018.