How many Technical Authors are in the UK? Here’s the answer

woman reading bookIt’s quite difficult to know how many Technical Authors there are in the United Kingdom. The profession doesn’t have its own Standard Occupational Classification code, so there are no official statistics.

We can estimate the number of Technical Authors in the IT sector. One way to do this is by looking at the total number people working in the IT and the percentage of permanent IT job vacancies that are advertising for a Technical Author.
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Getting started as a freelance Technical Author

One of the most common questions we get asked is for advice on becoming a freelance Technical Author. To help address that question in depth, we written an ebook, which you can purchase via the Cherryleaf website.

This guide answers the key questions people have when considering a freelance career as a Technical Author. It is focused on starting out as a freelance Technical Author in the United Kingdom, and in the IT and medical equipment sectors. However, many of the sections will also be applicable to other countries and other industry sectors.

See Getting started as a freelance Technical Writer ebook

What Technical Authors can learn from pole dancers

Pole dancer Flickr creative commons image by gophotodotcomThe conversation in a meeting yesterday went somewhat “off-topic” when someone commented on the difference between accountants and pole dancers.

Their comparison might apply between Technical Authors and pole dancers, as well: that pole dancers probably do a boring job (i.e twirling around a pole day after day) that’s seen as interesting, whereas Technical Authors (and accountants) do an interesting job that’s often seen as boring.

So what can Technical Authors learn from pole dancers? WikiHow suggests a pole dancer’s success is more to do their ability to gain rapport with the customer and keep their attention, than their dancing skills. This ability to “know” your customer and gain their attention, is perhaps a useful reminder to Technical Authors to do the same with their “performance” (that is, with the deliverables they produce).

Is there a difference between a Content Strategist and a Technical Author?

What’s in a name – at this week’s Content Strategy Meetup, which unfortunately I missed due to illness, a number of the attendees and speakers came from the technical communications community. They were Technical Authors/Documentation Managers or had a background as a Technical Author.

So are Technical Authors and Content Strategists one and the same thing? Do they require the same skill set? Do they look at the same type of content? Is the only difference the salary levels?

What do you think?

Cherryleaf featured in this month’s PC Pro magazine

In this month’s edition (confusingly dated January 2013) of PC Pro magazine, Stuart Andrews explores the role of technical writer, the person behind technical documentation. In the short article, he interviews Ginny Critcher, Director at Cherryleaf, who explains the highs and lows of working as a Technical Author.

Ginny Critcher in PC Pro magazine

PC Pro magazine Jan 2013

Cherryleaf interview in PC Pro Magazine

Cherryleaf’s Ginny Critcher has been interviewed by PC Pro Magazine about the role of the Technical Author today.

Ginny has extensive project management skills and has considerable experience using the main technical authoring tools. She is fluent in Spanish, has an MSc (in Information Systems), a BA (in Spanish Studies) and an RSA TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certificate.

The article should be published in the December edition of the magazine.