After some years of experience in the job it is often time for an interim conclusion. What have I achieved so far? Which direction am I heading to? Especially, when you are working in an IT-related job, some exciting career paths in the field of technical communication might lay ahead.
Technical Communication at the Interface Between Business and Technology
Working at the interface between business and technology, you might have realized by now something similar to this: Even though your main responsibilities involve rather technical aspects, the communication and documentation parts of your job thrill you the most. Or vice versa, working on the communicational or business side of things, you have identified occasions to deepen your technical knowledge to be the bright spots of your daily routine. Sounds familiar? Then please continue reading – this is for you! Firstly, let’s displace some hypothetical “I don’t haves” with some more convincing “I do haves”.
The Technical Communicator in Disguise (Might Be You)
Of course, one has to acquire a strong knowledge basis to grow into an industry-recognized technical communicator. There are norms to consider, there is subject-matter vocabulary to be aware of, there are software tools to become acquainted with, and there are web technology skills to be developed further. And yet: It might be that you already are a technical communicator – a technical communicator in disguise. And here is why.
Apparently, there are reasons why you currently don’t view yourself as a technical communicator per se. You might argue that your job title does not indicate that you are a “Writer”, an “Author”, or a “Communicator”. And above all, you haven’t had any formal training in the field of technical communication. However, before these statements lead to self-doubt, let’s contrast them with some adequate questions:
- Are you a life-long learner – most curious and eager to learn new things every day?
- Do you take pleasure in structuring useful information – and then present it in a comprehensible and user-friendly way?
- Do you enjoy working cross-departmental and cross-functional – aiming to support different teams in their daily work?
If you can affirm these questions, you are roughly doing what a technical communicator actually does.
Embrace Training and Qualification in Technical Communication – Either Way
Now since you have already headed towards the unconsciously favored direction of technical communication: What’s next? Well, why not invest some hours of your weekly contingent striving for enhanced qualification? Needless to say, everyone has different daily routines and time schedules. Nevertheless, here are 3 feasible options for different personal circumstances – from high to low expenditure of time.
Option 1: Professional Certification PLUS Academic Degree
If you are in search of an affordable and complete package, then you will find it in the TCLoc Master’s Program. This distance learning program stands out because it combines a professional certification with an academic degree. And please note the following: If you are highly motivated, but at the same time lacking the first academic degree that is required, don’t worry. There is a procedure in place based on which an academic committee might decide that both your professional experience and educational background still qualify you to enroll in the program. A special application would have to be submitted – look out for the term “VAPP” on the program’s requirements page.
The approximate weekly workload for this option is 15 to 20 hours.
Option 2: Professional Certification
In case you would like to obtain a comprehensive professional qualification in the field of technical communication, TCTrainNet offers an online training program which prepares you for the internationally recognized “Technical Communicator (tekom)” certification. This program is particularly designed for experienced professionals, irrespective of where they live around the globe. Taking part in this program provides great opportunities to get to know technical communicators from all over the world, thus expanding your network and being able to exchange experiences and expertise.
The approximate weekly workload for this option is 7 to 10 hours.
Option 3: Self-Training
If you don’t want to reveal yourself as a technical communicator by a formal training for now, that’s fine, too! Keep up the good work “in the underground”. Because the more people strive for high quality content, the better for all expectant content consumers out there. But while operating underground, don’t miss out chances to constantly enhance your skill set. For instance, make good use of free online web tutorials – like those offered by w3schools.com – to deepen your expertise in both markup and programming languages. Furthermore, harness the resources provided by globally active associations like tekom Europe, which foster the constant exchange of information and education in the area of technical communication.
The approximate weekly workload for this option is less than 5 hours.
Confidentially Proclaim Your Technical Communication Powers
What have I achieved so far? Which direction am I heading to? … You have clearly pondered on some answers now, right? Then make others recognize, too, that you have full confidence in your answers to these questions! Select the training and qualification options that fit your personal circumstances. Continue supporting your peers with high quality communication day-to-day. And ultimately: Get used to the thought that you truly are a technical communicator – standing there at the crossroads, being curious what’s next.
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