Top 10 Strategies to Succeed as a Technical Communicator

Like it is with any specialized profession, technical communication too requires some strategic planning. 

Here are my top 10 recommendations to build a flourishing technical communication career.

  1. If you did not study technical communication in college, make sure your current TechComm job promotes analytical thinking, problem-solving, writing, and communication skills. 

  2. Learning to conduct research and break down technical information quickly will go a long way in realizing your success as a TechComm professional.

  3. Determine the domain that interests you and take a TechComm job in that domain.

  4. Become familiar with publishing software like Technical Communication Suite, Flare, Captivate, SnagIt, etc.

  5. Join a professional body like the Society for Technical Communication (STC) or Technical Writers of India (TWI). Participate in several technical writing forums on Facebook and Twitter and share your knowledge with the rest of the world.

  6. Put together a portfolio that showcases your best TechComm work.

  7. Start a technical writing blog and update regularly with new, interesting posts. You can include the blog address in your Resume.

  8. The definition of content is changing rapidly. Content today is no longer about text alone. With rise of rich media social networking sites like YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and SlideShare, content now encompasses video, audio, images, animation, etc. As technical communicators, you must learn to create rich media content to increase brand reach and interest and achieve greater mindshare with your target audiences. 

  9. If you're able to influence the customers' purchasing decision through your content or training, you should not hold back your thoughts.

  10. Selling technical writing as a service offering is also one area where technical communicators can gradually progress. From being documentation manager at a large conglomerate to solution architect at a mid-size services MNC, I found that career progression quite natural. 

Finally, remember that your success as a technical communicator can help a company reduce the total cost of training and support, and achieve better re-use of content via text and digital assets.