Zapraszamy na kolejną odsłonę z naszej serii wywiadów.
Tym razem na nasze pytania zgodziła się odpowiedzieć Robin Pille – technical writer z wieloletnim stażem w firmie Splunk w San Francisco.
1. How long have you been working as a Tech Writer?
I have been working in technical writing for 8 years now, 7 of them as a technical writer and 1 year as a manager.
2. How did you become a Tech Writer?
I transitioned to technical writing from educational publishing because I was interested in working in a faster, more agile development cycle.
3. Can you say something about the company you work for and your team?
I work for Splunk, Inc, based in San Francisco. Splunk is well known in the industry for having excellent documentation, which is partially due to the fact that all the tech writers get a lot of direct feedback from customers. Interacting with the customer helps us understand what they need and how we can better make them successful.
4. How is your and your team’s work organized?
Splunk is a mid-sized company, and there are a lot of different products. Most writers specialize in certain products or technical areas of the product. We also have a team of editors who help the rest of us keep our work consistent and high quality.
5. What tools do you use and what do you think about them?
We use a lot of different tools: probably too many! We currently use a mix of wiki documentation and repo-based docs, but we would like to consolidate so that everyone on the team can use the same docs-like-code process.
6. How do you get the information you need to prepare/create documentation?
Tech writers at Splunk work as part of the scrum teams, so they work closely with engineers, product managers, and user experience designers. In addition, we have close relationships with the technical field teams who interact directly with customers in real situations, which helps us craft documentation to suit real use cases.
7. What documents do you deliver, in what form, in which language/languages and how are they published?
We write in English, and some sections of our documentation are translated to other languages. All our documentation is freely available on the web.
8. Do you participate in any other activities besides documentation writing (e.g. creation of marketing materials)? If yes, what is it and what tools do you use?
Some writers contribute to the Splunk blog, but this is not part of our regular work.
9. What do you like the most in technical writing?
Every day consists of learning and solving new problems. Contrary to common expectations, technical writing is far from boring. I also like that I get to work so closely with so many different functions: developers, QA, product, legal, UX. Everyone brings their special expertise and we get to build something together.
10. What is your advice for those who want to begin their adventure with writing documentation?
A great way to get started is to contribute documentation to open source projects.
11. Do people in the US know who Technical Writer is?
No, I usually have to explain what I do.
12. Are there any organizations that unite Technical Writers in the US? How do they work?
There are several, and one of my favorites is called Write the Docs. Write the Docs offers Meetups around the world, as well as annual conferences in the US, Prague, and Sydney. Joining a local Meetup is another great way to get started in this career, as you can meet and network with others.
13. Do you have any diploma or certificate in technical writing? If yes, did it help you in your career?
14. What is the salary range for Tech Writers in the US?
According to bls.gov, “The median annual wage for technical writers was $72,850 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,320, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $117,250.”