New contract opportunity #4183 Contract Technical Author, Swindon

Our client is looking for a contract Technical Author to assist the in-house Technical Author, in updating the hardware manuals and software user guide for a range of new product releases. These are published as PDFs and printed manuals.

The company sells scanning and imaging equipment. The work involves taking the existing manuals and updating them, using Microsoft Word.

You will need to visit the client near Swindon, Wiltshire, to get hands on experience with hardware and software. Other than that, you would be able to work off site.

The client estimates the project will be around 6 weeks’ work. There may be opportunities further work in the future. The client has not specified a rate.

To apply, please contact Cherryleaf.

New technical communication laptop stickers

The technical communication Venn diagram laptop stickers we created have been very popular. We’ve ordered more of them, and we’ve created some new designs. The new stickers have quotations from some of the people we’ve interviewed on the Cherryleaf podcast.

laptop sticker with quotation

The stickers should arrive by the end of the month. Like before, we’ll post them off to anyone based in Europe who wants them. 

Cherryleaf 2017 European technical communicators survey results – Part 3 Other Salaries

Here are some more findings from our recent survey of European technical communicators. These relate to non-UK salaries.

We didn’t get enough data to draw many conclusions, so we’ve provided the responses in the table below. We converted all of the salaries to Euro, to make it easier to compare.

Continue reading “Cherryleaf 2017 European technical communicators survey results – Part 3 Other Salaries”

Cherryleaf 2017 European technical communicators survey results – Part 2 UK Salaries

Here are some more findings from our recent survey of European technical communicators. These relate to UK salaries. Most of the people who responded to our survey were based in the UK, so we are able to look at these in more detail than other countries.

UK salaries

We asked people to describe their seniority levels: Junior, Line staff/Standard, Senior/Team Lead, and Manager. These are often a key factor in the salary someone earns.

LevelSalary (Mean)
Line staff/Standard£37,826
Senior/Team Lead£50,982
Documentation Manager£49,620

Excluding managers, the mean was £45,338.

Are the figures accurate?

The sample size was fairly small (n=61), so  we do need to look at this information with some caution.

Data on the Technical Author salaries offered on the main IT jobs boards in the six months to August 2017 show a UK median annual salary of £50,000 (with a median of £47,000 for jobs offered outside of London). They also show a 25% increase in median salary offered (17.5% increase for jobs offered outside of London) since August 2016. That’s based on 167 job adverts – again a fairly small population. We also need to bear in mind the salaries in job vacancies can be higher than those for people who have been a job for a long time, and the number of Technical Author job adverts has decreased in the last 24 months.

See also : Cherryleaf’s recruitment service – Technical Authors and other content developer roles

Example project – API documentation portal using MadCap Flare

Note: This post follows on from two previous posts on creating a unified API documentation portal:

We’ve just uploaded an example project of an API documentation portal created using MadCap Flare:

The documentation portal includes API reference documentation that was generated automatically from a Swagger/OpenAPI specification file.

Whenever the REST API specification is updated, that content automatically updates itself in the Flare project.

Using MadCap Flare means you can provide a consistent user experience: for the reference, troubleshooting, getting started and tutorial content. Flare also manage the content, search, linking, pdfs, tables, flowcharts etc.

The steps are:

  1. Generate the API reference documentation in HTML format from the OpenAPI specification file. This could be generated automatically each day.
  2. Import the API reference HTML file into Flare. Select Link Generated Files to Source Files. This creates a connection between the original HTML files and the files that are created as a result of the import. Flare recognises when changes have been made to the source documents.
  3. Fix any initial CSS issues. The API reference HTML file links to a cascading stylesheet file. We found we needed to create a CSS file with the same name, as there were some issues with displaying the top navigation menu bar.
  4. Generate and publish your web site. You can run Flare’s “Build” command from the operating system’s command line. This means you can create a batch file with the necessary commands in it. Then you can use a scheduling tool to run the batch file automatically.

Further work could be done to improve the outputs:

  • We’ve not made any changes to the default styles for the PDF manual.
  • Amending the cascading stylesheet for the Stripe-style API documentation
  • Adding code samples.

See also: Cherryleaf’s API documentation writing services