Tech Comm Café: June 8 recap; next meeting July 13

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Tech Comm Café: June 8 recap; next meeting July 13

The Tech Comm Café met on June 8 at BG Urban Café in Burnaby for an engaging talk about technical writing and communication.

The group was large enough to have a lively discussion, yet small enough that we could hear everyone clearly amidst the café’s background noise. The group was diverse professionally and in experience. One member was an adult education teacher considering a transition into technical writing. Another was a professional translator and editor. Senior technical communication professionals were also in the mix, as well as a technical writing student. With so many people from different backgrounds, the discussion was extremely productive!

Two people shared their experiences of working with clients from different countries. Cultural norms that differ from one country to another can pose challenges in a professional setting. One person described a few hurdles in drawing up a contract with a client from Europe. He explained the importance of not making assumptions, erring on the side of caution, and the benefits of using a more detailed written contract for international clients.

With two aspiring technical writers at the meeting, there was no shortage of questions regarding preparation for the technical writing field, how to find jobs in the local market, and technical writing courses and programs in Greater Vancouver. There are several post-secondary institutions offering technical writing programs. Weekday, evening, and weekend classes are available. It is also possible to earn a certificate online. It is best to see which programs can fit into your schedule and expand your research from there.

When it comes to finding a technical writing job in Greater Vancouver, people agreed that networking and reaching out to professionals in the industry is key. Not all jobs are posted online, so it is certainly beneficial to have contacts who can notify you when there is an opening for a suitable position. Creating and maintaining positive work relationships will also lead to recommendations and more work for the future.

We also touched on the similarities and differences between technical writing, grant writing, and proposal writing. This led to the idea of possibly hosting a proposal writing workshop in the near future — exciting! If you know of a speaker who might be available, please contact admin@stcwestcoast.ca.

Next Vancouver-Area Tech Comm Café: Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The TCC provides networking opportunities, job leads, answers to work-related dilemmas, and a burst of professional energy to keep you motivated. We discuss technical writing tools and techniques, career planning, portfolios, and anything else related to working as a technical communicator.

We welcome anyone who’s interested in technical communication — contractor, in-house, student, long-time tech writer, STC member, non-member, career-changer, or recruiter. We hope to see you at the next meeting!

Date: Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Time: 6:30–8:00 pm Pacific Time

Location: To be announced. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to admin@stcwestcoast.ca

Agenda

  1. Introductions. Take 60 seconds to introduce yourself, your background, current activities. A good chance to try out that new elevator speech.
  2. Announcements and job leads. If you know of an interesting event or a job opening, or you’re looking for work, share it with the group.
  3. Brainstorming Q&A. Ask about a work-related problem and discuss potential solutions.
  4. Speed networking. Spend a few minutes with a new contact, exchange business cards, and discuss your professional backgrounds and goals.

This article was written by Amy Takeda

Amy Takeda has a Bachelor of Business degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is completing the technical writing certificate program at BCIT. She plans to specialize in technical documentation for the business, technology, and industrial sectors.

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