Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Demise of Technical Writing?

What do you think about this article by Jared Spool? http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2007/05/16/where-did-technical-writing-go/. I like Michael Hughes' comment.

Tell me what you think.

1 comment:

Carol Barnum said...

I'm glad that Jared Spool was inspired to write about the state of technical communication today (he was an invited speaker at the STC conference, which is one of the changes that improved the conference this year). I also like what Mike Hughes had to say about Jared's column on this topic.

I agree with Mike that we are all fundamentally technical communicators. But I also think that others tend to see us in a narrowly defined niche, possibly restricting our ability to grow into other related but different fields.

Because the definition and understanding of technical communicator has changed and is continuing to change (see Susan Burton's current efforts to get the Bureau of Labor Relations to change a really outdated definition of technical writer), we changed the name of our degree program from MS in technical and professional communication to MS in Information Design and Communication. As a result, we have seen students apply from fields that would not have been thought to be a good fit for them. And we have seen graduates take jobs or move into new positions that are far different from "technical writer" in the traditional sense.

Still, we feel, as does Mike Hughes, that technical communication is the core value we all share. That's why we kept the name of our online graduate certificate "technical communication," while also adding four specialized areas for advanced certificates in current areas of professional interest.

At base, however, is the recognition and continuing commitment to good writing, regardless of the medium.