Inspiring the young

Tyson Barnett

Tyson Barnett is a technical communicator working for Gallagher, and based in Hamilton NZ. You can read more about Tyson in the February 2016 edition of TechCommWire

Recently I addressed second year communication students at the Waikato Institute of Technology (WINTEC).

The purpose of my presentation was to discuss the role technical communication has in the IT industry, my experience as a technical communicator, and the opportunities available for technical communicators in the IT industry. In short, I wanted to encourage students to take the WINTEC technical communication paper.

My aim was to correct the notion that technical communicators spend all day writing user guides. The truth is we spend the majority of our time learning. We acquire product knowledge and then disseminate this knowledge to users via the appropriate medium.

I used Pokémon Go as an example due to its popularity. The Pokémon Go Quick Tips, which are mandatory to view when starting the game, have successfully educated a large number of users. The Pokémon Go Help (responsive HTML) is a set of instructions on how to play the game. In order to acquire this knowledge, the technical communicator has most likely spent a large amount of time playing Pokémon Go.

One statement that arose was “there wouldn’t be many jobs like mine in Hamilton”. I explained that anyone communicating technical information is acting as a technical communicator, and that the skills that technical communicators acquire can be applied to other positions within the IT industry.

Hopefully I have conveyed that technical communication is exciting and relevant. I believe the IT industry needs to encourage young people to consider technical communication as a career choice. If the enrolment numbers for the technical communication paper increase, then I have been successful.

If you’re interested in talking to young people about the career of technical communication, please contact comms@techcomm.nz.

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