In November’s spotlight we feature STC Canada West Coast Chapter Secretary/Treasurer Beverlee Bishundayal. Beverlee discusses her current job, her path to becoming a technical communicator, and what she likes about being a chapter member.
Question: Can you briefly describe your current job?
I am a senior technical writer for EduMine, which is the education and training division of InfoMine Inc., who provide information and technology solutions to the mining industry. I edit material for our online courses and enter them (coding) into our learning management system. I also write and update our internal policies and procedures, as well as user guides for clients.
Question: What was the most interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
It’s really hard to pick just one! At my current job, the projects I work on are for a global audience and different audience types (i.e. levels of knowledge and areas of study). I have worked on many different topics about mining ranging from health and safety, to mine planning, to geotechnical covers so it keeps the job interesting. No project is ever the same, so I like the variety.
Question: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I have actually changed my mind about that a few times over the years! In the period from high school to completing my BA in Communication Studies, at some point I wanted to be a graphic designer, television producer, web designer, or communications coordinator. I wasn’t really aware of technical writing as a career option back then.
Question: Why did you decide to become a technical communicator?
I was having a hard time breaking into the communications field when I moved from Quebec to British Columbia. In my weekly job searching, I kept seeing postings for technical writers. It seemed like this was a more specialized and in-demand profession. I decided to research some more about what technical writers do and found that my skills would make me well-suited for this. I am very analytical, detail-oriented, organized, and curious about how and why things work.
Question: If you could go back and talk to yourself when you first started in the field, what advice would you give yourself?
I would say, “Be more adventurous and don’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone.” Looking back, I wish I had done more networking when I was studying. I think a lot of technical writers are introverted by nature, but if you push yourself a little bit, you will be surprised with what you can accomplish. The more I got myself out there, the more confident I got. I think my increased confidence was also very helpful during job interviews.
Question: What do you like most about being an member of the STC Canada West Coast Chapter?
Volunteering with the chapter is very rewarding. I have been able to meet and collaborate with many technical communicators. There is so much we can learn from each other. When I moved to BC and decided to take my career down a different path, I didn’t know any technical writers. I have been able to grow my professional network through the STC by attending chapter events and volunteering on the Board. Being an STC member has also helped with my professional development. I have been able to take webinars offered by the head office and attend events run by our chapter.
Jenny Riecken is a technical writer with a past as a QA analyst. She specializes in freelance contracts, writing everything from software documentation to policy manuals.