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Posts with the Tag: techcom

What Courses are Needed for Technical Writers?

22nd March 2014 Posted in Blog, Career Development, Technical Writers 0 Comments


Entry-level technical writers and those who are considering technical communications as a career often ask if it’s necessary to get a technical writing certification or if certain courses are best to improve their skill set and hireability.

Ask five people and you’ll likely get five different answers. Recently, I’d Rather Be Writing posed this question to Laura Palmer, an assistant professor at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia. Her response, although somewhat inconclusive, is a good examination of how to prepare academically for a career in technical communications, including not only a look at course work but at textbooks, too.

Read: “The Courses Conundrum: What Do You Need to Be a Technical Communicator?” for her detailed response. If you’re already a technical communications professional, we’d like to hear about your first-hand experiences, so please leave a comment below for discussion.

Related topic: Which Skill Sets are Important for a Technical Writer?

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Transitioning from Technical to Marketing Communications


It’s not uncommon – at some point their careers – for technical writers to either want to or be asked to help with the marketing department’s communications needs. Whether it’s a permanent move or only temporary, such a change can seem a bit frightening for tech writers with little to no marketing background. But is it really that big of a leap to make the change? And can the willingness to be flexible help strengthen your career outlook?

In her article, Making the Transition from Techcom to Marcom, Christy Simard looks at the desirable traits technical writers have that can be put to good use in marketing, at the similarities between the two career paths and at managing both a permanent changeover and accepting marketing assignments within a documentation group to enhance its value.

Read: Making the Transition from Techcom to Marcom and then leave a comment below with your thoughts on transitioning from techcom to marcom, especially if you’ve had first-hand experience in doing so.

Related topic: Making the Transition from Technical Writer to Manager

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How Tech Writers Can Transition to Marketing Communications

Technical communicators may face changes within their companies that will either require them to start creating marketing materials or face changes in the job market that make transitioning to marketing communications seem to make financial sense. Some technical writers may even want to make the transition voluntarily in order to explore other types of writing in their career. Being able to pitch in and do double duty in both the engineering and marketing groups can also increase a writer’s value to the company, perhaps providing a little extra job security.

But hitting the F5 key to refresh your career and changing your mind set to develop materials that persuade after many years of developing materials that instruct can seem a bit daunting. This article by Christy Simard takes a look at how technical writers can successfully transition to the marketing side of the house by looking at the similarities and differences between technical communications and marketing communications.

Read: Making the Transition from Techcom to Marcom

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Making the Transition From Techcom to Marcom

by Christy Simard

At first glance, technical communication (techcom) and technical marketing communication (marcom) appear to be very different genres. Where traditional techcom strives to help people use products, marcom seeks to make people realize they need products. Techcom instructs, while marcom persuades, and this distinction affects everything from the genre’s focus, to its content, and medium.

On the other hand, when executed well, these two genres share important similarities. They both deal with technical, complex subject matter. They both pay close attention to their target audiences, and they both benefit from a concise, accessible writing style.

Given these similarities, it makes sense that many organizations get technical communicators involved in marketing work. But what are you getting into when the marketing department looks to your techcom team for help? And what do you do when a writer on your team expresses an interest in marcom?

In reality, it can be tricky to distinguish the opportunities from the risks. This article examines two challenging situations for techcom managers, pointing to the risks you are likely to face and the opportunities you might realize.


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