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I haven’t written anything on Medium in a while, which is a harsh juxtaposition of my work life. That’s because at work, I have been writing a lot. Like, constantly. Since my enterprise (like countless others) has switched to remote work in the wake of the current pandemic, my primary means of communication with my colleagues is via online chat.

So my day pretty much goes like this:

  • Wake up.
  • Have coffee.
  • Send a message to my colleagues.
  • Attend a daily sync.
  • Send a status update to my team.
  • Send questions.
  • Respond to questions.
  • Do my job (also requires messaging, conveniently). …

The industry’s dark horses formally introduce themselves.

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The tech industry has become a disruptive force in every aspect of our lives. Almost all modern work relies on at least one tool that was the brainchild of some Silicon Valley enterprise. It’s even in our homes. “Smart” has become this qualifier we place before anything that has been graced by tech. Televisions, refrigerators, cars, even toasters can be “smart”. With this omnipresence of tech, there has emerged a sort of collective allegory that exists around who makes up a tech company. We imagine these companies as being founded by either an innovator or a tech genius (sometimes both) who has a disruptive idea and manages to develop it into a huge enterprise. We imagine rows of developers using SCRUM boards to track their progress. We imagine designers hunched over their MacBooks, working on the UX. We imagine support people typing furiously as they reply to user questions. But what very few people (at least in my experience) imagine, is writers. Maybe it’s the fact that the industry is so dev-centric, or maybe we were just told too often that writing does not lead to a “real” career, but it seems a lot of people don’t know how many jobs there are for writers in tech. It shouldn’t be surprising, there is writing involved in each aspect of a product lifecycle. From planning, to design, to development, to delivery. …

What my first experience with hiring a candidate taught me about overcoming bias

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Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

Last year I was given a huge opportunity by my manager. He offered me the chance to evolve from my Technical Writing role to that of a Technical Content Manager. The new role came with the promise of a small but growing team to lead. The plan was this; we’d start off with hiring one full-time Technical Writer, then an intern in Web Development (our help centers are online), and eventually we’d expand from there. As someone who’s flown solo most her career, I jumped at this opportunity. I had years of experience as a Technical Writer, and I had already been doing the role of Technical Content Manager without the title. I couldn’t wait to mentor a new Technical Writer.

How do you write with empathy when what you write is technical documentation?

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By broad perception, technical documentation is dry and devoid of much personality. In reality, well — OK it is pretty much that.

Writing in this field means keeping things simple and concise, while ensuring that the voice and tone of your writing remains neutral. You often need to follow content guidelines, are loaded with work, and have to deal with tight deadlines. …

A look at how technical documentation and UX are stronger together

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I recently read UX in Flux: Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Docs, a great piece by Karen Kesler. In it, she argues that if we continue to move towards better UX (user experience), technical documentation can effectively become obsolete.

This argument is not a new one, and it is difficult to ignore. It’s something I have been reading about since I started as a Technical Writer at my previous employer 7 years ago. The thought of my work becoming obsolete worried me so much at that time that I made a point to delve into UI (user interface) design — devoting about 15% of my work week to collaborating with the development team to create intuitive wireframes, with the aim of improving the UX. …

…my manager proposed that I transfer to the Support team. My initial reaction was panic.

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Working for a large-scale SaaS business means that my job as Technical Writer involves keeping up with gaps in the documentation, maintaining versions, coordinating release notes — the list goes on. The job is largely independent, and many days are spent with headphones on, typing out how-to guides and screen capping product interfaces.

This all changed about two years ago, when my manager proposed that I transfer to the Support team. My initial reaction was panic: with an already huge backlog of tasks to juggle, there was no way I could take on another role, like actively supporting clients. …

About

Alexandra Gifuni

Technical Content Manager by day, avid reader by night — Alexandra likes her writing concise but her literature verbose. We all need balance.

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