Hi there! I’m Maiken Blok, a TCLoc master’s alumni and technical communicator at a software company called TimeLog A/S in Copenhagen, Denmark. I work in digital adoption, which includes everything involving software documentation, user assistance and UI/UX writing.
The question I get asked the most is: “Is it worth completing a master’s degree in technical communication and localization?”. My answer is always: “Yes, absolutely!”.
Both the machine and software industries need educated and skilled technical communication professionals to take on an increasing number of tasks in addition to just writing. The TCLoc master’s provides you with the knowledge and skills you need to help companies in these industries succeed.
Let me tell you how I apply what I learned through the TCLoc degree in my job at TimeLog.
Do You Really Use Elements From All Courses?
Short answer: Yes. There is not a single course from the master’s that hasn’t helped me in my day-to-day professional work. I’ll admit that I was a bit puzzled when I first took the courses, but now it all makes perfect sense.
Let me group my tasks into three areas:
1. User Interface writing and localization
2. Software documentation and visual communication
3. Project management
User Interface Writing and Localization
You probably know this under the name UI/UX writing or labels writing. For me, it’s all about writing high-quality texts for the software, keeping track of our terminology and ensuring that we choose the correct words for the different contexts within the interface and the culture of the target language.
Our systems cover six languages, which means that there is plenty of localization work. We need to stay informed of the newest developments in our target market and make sure we reach the right target groups.
In addition, the Web Tools course provides some very valuable skills. Being able to read code comes in handy when I need to find the exact placement of, for example, buttons or info text icons.
Software Documentation and Visual Communication
I’m responsible for our online help center, which offers guidance, best practice documentation and processes to help our users get the most out of TimeLog PSA.
When I write for the help center, I keep plain language principles in mind, make use of Simplified Technical English, take into account SEO and, in particular, put into practice everything I learned about personas, scripts and mental models in the Usability and User Experience Design course.
All this combined helps me produce style guides and create new help documentation which really help our users familiarize themselves with the software, based on actual data and not just assumptions. I also recently started to conduct user testing of the documentation, which is a very interesting process.
Next year, we plan to implement an action bot, where I’ll be able to apply many of the skills I gained in the Information 4.0 course with Ray Gallon.
Project Management was one of my favorite courses, because I’m able to use what I learned in both my personal and professional life.
At TimeLog, I apply the principles I learned to both short, operational projects, such as minor releases, as well as to large, strategic projects, such as the development of a new learning center or the switch to a new technology.
The theoretical foundation helps me build strong project plans, with realistic deadlines and deliverables.
The TCLoc Master’s = A Game Changer
TCLoc provides theoretical knowledge, practical applications and brilliant instructors. This combination has made me a better technical communicator and a more valuable asset to my employer.
The instructors are highly skilled professionals within their fields and, along with the students, provide an international perspective to the program.
I’d like to highlight especially Kirk St. Amant and Shumin Chen, with whom I am still in contact and collaborate with on events as part of my work as the president of tekom Danmark. In addition, the study management team provides great support and Renate De la Paix is a great inspiration to me. You really get the feeling that she wants the best for all her students, and she puts extra effort into helping you succeed.
Thanks to my degree, I can now perform more tasks, make better informed decisions and develop strategies for digital adoption.
The TCLoc degree, together with the international “Technical Communicator (tekom)” certification, has also given me the perfect foundation to build a strong team of writers and to practically apply my knowledge to the business processes we follow. A win-win situation!
Still in doubt if this is the right choice for you? Feel free to reach out to me at any time and ask for guidance. I’m always happy to help.
About The Writer
Maiken found her calling as a trained technical communicator. She holds a master’s degree in Technical Communication and Localization from the University of Strasbourg, France, and the Technical Communicator certification from tekom.
Both as a mentor for technical communication students and as president of tekom Danmark, she aspires to spread the word about her profession and motivate even more people to join the technical communication field.
As part of the product management team at TimeLog A/S in Denmark, she turns her understanding of Customer Success into useful help documentation, learning paths and onboarding material.
About TimeLog A/S
TimeLog was founded in 2001 with the aim of creating the world’s best time tracking tool.
Today, more than 70 TimeLoggers in Denmark, Sweden and Malaysia ensure that TimeLog is the best system in the world. TimeLog PSA is targeted at highly ambitious consulting and advisory companies who aim to develop their business and optimize internal workflows all the way from the initial contract to the final invoice.