Changes to #4175 Contract Technical Author, Swindon

We’ve just amended the job description for the contract vacancy #4175 Contract Technical Author, Swindon. This project involves working on Cloud-based applications, rather than enterprise software, which means the content will be written in Markdown rather than DITA.

Ideally, you will have experience in the following areas:

  • Developing web-based online Help
  • Working in an Agile environment
  • Cloud-based solutions
  • Video-based instruction (although is less important).

Apologies for any confusion caused.

See #4175 Contract Technical Author, Swindon.

How common knowledge disappears – customer questions & answers for a turntable

In the olden days, every family had a record player (also known as a “turntable”), and pretty much everyone knew how to use it. However, if you look at the Customer Questions & Answers section for a turntable currently on sale on Amazon, it’s clear that many people today don’t know how a turntable works, or what it does. Common knowledge sometimes isn’t as common as people think.

New Technical Author Lead vacancies in Cambridge

A client is looking to recruit two new staff:

“You’ll be working as part of a team that mentors and coaches the developers and user experience specialists to improve their technical writing skills by providing style guidance and feedback. This role requires you to be the proactive subject matter expert for user interface writing and technical documentation, and to be able to introduce new ideas and practices to the company.”

See: #4174 Technical Author Lead, Cambridge, £40-£60K DOE

What can LinkedIn tell us about the number of Technical Authors in the UK?

As there are no official statistics recording the number of people employed as Technical Authors in the UK, we have to make some educated guesses to get a sense of the size. Searching LinkedIn might provides some useful information.

In LinkedIn’s advanced search page, if we search the job title field for Technical Author, LinkedIn states there are 5,297 people who match this search. This would include past job titles as well as current job titles. Searching on just current job titles, LinkedIn provides 2,109 results for Technical Author. Searching on just past job titles, LinkedIn provides 2,528 results for Technical Author. It’s not clear why those two figures don’t add up to 5,297.

One of the difficulties is that people use a variety of different job titles. In addition to the 2,109 results for Technical Author, we can add the people who have these current job titles in the UK:

  • Technical Writer – 603
  • Technical Communicator – 28
  • Information Developer –  21
  • Documentation Manager – 394

That makes a total of 3,155.There may be other job titles people are using in addition to these, which would increase the numbers further.

There were over 19 million registered LinkedIn users in the United Kingdom, as of the 3rd quarter of 2015 (source), out of a UK working population of 30 million people (source), which means it’s unlikely every Technical Author has a profile on LinkedIn.

It seems reasonable to conclude there are more than 3,200 Technical Authors in the UK, but possibly not more than 5,000.

What capabilities do Technical Authors want in an authoring tool?

We were contacted last week by a SaaS developer who wanted to know if their solution might be of interest to companies needing to write and host their product’s user manual or online Help content. So what capabilities do Technical Authors look for in an authoring tool?

There were a few features that sprung to mind:

  • Multi-channel publishing (for example: publishing to the Web, Microsoft Word and PDF). PDFs are still important as a publishing option, as people still like to read good quality printed content.
  • Separation of look and feel from content.
  • Content re-use (write once, re-use many times). This is different from simple cut-and-paste.
  • Variables (so it’s easy to change product names).
  • Conditional text (content that can vary depending on the type of user or type of product).
  • Link management (being able to find content in the project quickly, as well as being able to manage the dependencies among links and topics).
  • The ability to handle larger documents (200+ page documents with screenshots on most pages)
  • Expanding/collapsing table(s) of contents (and even different tables of contents for different types of users).
  • A user-friendly authoring environment.
  • Version management of the content.

Ideally, there would also be:

  • A way for occasional users to add and edit content without breaking formatting styles, using a User Interface that didn’t overwhelm them.
  • Access to and shared management of the content. This is so that writers could collaborate with each other, working on different topics for publications at the same time.

Are there any other features you would expect?

New Technical Author vacancy in Cheshire #4156

Our client is looking to recruit a permanent Technical Author to join a team of writers that provides global support documentation for its range of scientific products.

You’ll be part of the team that creates and updates service-related information for scientific instrument equipment. You’ll be involved in the installation procedures, as well as maintenance and diagnostics of the internal hardware and electronics.

For more information, see Job: #4156 Technical Author, Cheshire