I know. I didn't think about it much in the past either. On some level I thought that it was a job you got making instruction manuals for products that you didn't care about. It turns out there's a lot more to it than that!
I was already doing it, I just didn't know it.
The first time I did any sort of technical writing was at Geek Squad. We were asked to identify common issues that our customers would have that were easy to solve. Then we were asked to make documentation describing how to avoid them. The value added was that we could hand them out to anyone that had an issue after helping them, so they could save a trip in the future. I took on the role of taking the information and putting it in a format that was easy for the customer to understand. This was the first time I was ever complimented on my work as a writer even though at the time I didn't see it as such.
When I worked for Thomson Reuters at their call-in service desk, we had a knowledgebase that was so comprehensive that we would actually get deducted points on our service level if we couldn't find a matching documented issue. I was fascinated! You could onboard anyone and they could be helpful to clients within minutes. All you needed was proficiency in searching for issue titles and off you went.
I'm currently a QA Analyst at an insurance company, promoted up from a service desk role. When I started, there wasn't really a standard for writing documentation. If I'm being honest, there wasn't really much documentation at all! Even without a knowledgebase, I started a Microsoft OneNote notebook and started filling it with repetitive issues that could be taught to other employees. This allowed me to format my help articles in a way similar to my prior employer's tool and also made the documents searchable. This was the first time I had experience with building out a higher level of knowledge that was easy to find. Still, I did not see myself as a writer.
My First Blog
I started to get complements regarding my documentation at work while also getting more into "tech twitter". I started to see the value in sharing knowledge online and decided to give content creation a try. I joined another popular blogging platform and have since moved my only two articles to Hashnode.
I've written one post about impostor syndrome, and another about a Bitcoin lottery machine that I built from scratch. On the other blogging platform I was featured for the impostor syndrome article and it was put on a publication. The other was not featured but got a lot of external exposure due to the popularity of the subject. Since then, I have been brainstorming how to effectively utilize a blog for valuable content creation in a way that could be consistent. That's when I saw that Hashnode was hosting their technical writing bootcamp.
The main reason I want to advance as a technical writer is to reinforce my learning. Currently I am learning iOS development and there are nuances with Swift and Xcode that I keep forgetting. I believe that writing about these difficult topics and trying to simplify the explanations will allow me to retain the knowledge and maybe help some others along their journey as well. I've certainly found most of the solutions to problems I've already faced by searching and finding blogs posted by others. I feel that taking my proven ability at work and applying it directly to my passions is what's going to propel my career forward.
I'm also going to make a habit of reading other blog posts by the rest of the community as well! That said, if you liked this article or have comments on it please feel free to follow me and chat.