Our August meeting included longtime and new technical writers and people exploring the field as part of their career transition. The group enjoyed a lively and wide-ranging discussion.
Call for volunteer writers: The meeting opened with a call for volunteers to contribute articles to the chapter website. A reminder to new technical writers: contributions to the website serve well as portfolio samples. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if this interests you.
The suggestion to write about technical communication software for the Tools section prompted a reminder that articles must remain neutral. According to the chapter’s style guide, articles must avoid the appearance of advocating or criticizing any given commercial product. However, some software is industry standard, so it would be permissible to discuss that software without necessarily mentioning all its competitors.
Call for officers: You are invited to stand to serve as an officer or director of the STC Canada West Coast chapter. New faces and fresh energy will ensure the vitality and viability of the chapter. You’ll receive training and guidance from current officeholders. For more information, check our volunteer page or contact email@example.com.
Tools and resources: A quick brainstorm produced a diverse list of tools that technical writers use. Collaboration software such as Slack, Flock, and Discord continues to grow in popularity. Instructional and user experience designers use screen recording and video editing programs such as Camtasia, ShareX, and Snagit to capture screenshots and create videos. One attendee, working in a Microsoft .NET framework, attempted to automate certain tasks in FrameMaker. This person turned to Udemy, an online learning platform, to learn about the C# language. Lynda.com also offers courses, available free through the Vancouver Public Library.
Webinars: The chapter has several upcoming webinars, starting with a presentation about DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) entitled “Why ‛Intelligent Content’?” scheduled for September 20, 2018. Later in the fall, they’re planning a webinar on making instructional videos with Camtasia. Also in the works is a series of API documentation webinars, beginning with a presentation of basic computer science concepts targeted specifically for an audience of technical writers.
New venue for the next meeting: Our usual meeting place is sometimes noisy and crowded. For the next Tech Comm Café, on September 12, 2018, we’re trying a new venue, The Wicklow Pub (details below). Join us for a meal or a beverage and some lively networking with fellow technical writers! Be sure to RSVP by end of day September 11 so we can reserve a big enough table.
The Tech Comm Café 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!
Next Vancouver-area Tech Comm Café: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 — NEW LOCATION
If you plan to attend, please RSVP by end of day September 11.
Date: September 12, 2018
Time: 6:30–8:00 pm Pacific Time
The Wicklow is near Cambie Street, on the False Creek seawall halfway between Granville Island and Science World, a five-minute walk from the SkyTrain. From Olympic Village Station, walk west to Moberly Street and then follow Moberly to The Wicklow. The Aquabus and False Creek Ferry also go to Stamps Landing. There is some street parking near The Wicklow. Paid parking is available at 600 Moberly Road and at 415 West 2nd Avenue.
Rick Georg is a technical writer, editor, and educator. He is currently serving as event planner for the STC Canada West Coast chapter. He holds degrees in journalism, communications, and education. He lives in Vancouver.