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Kilka pytań do - część 20

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Po kolejnej dłuższej przerwie wracamy do cyklu Kilka pytań do. Dziś odcinek 20!

Naszym gościem jest dziś Surya PanneerSelvam, która pełni rolę Senior Content Developera pracując zdalnie z Wrocławia dla zagranicznej firmy. Pochodzi z Indii, a do Polski przeniosła się aby dołączyć do swojego męża. Surya chciałaby nawiązać współpracę ze społecznością technical writerów w Polsce, o której dowiedziała się czytając o naszym portalu w artykule Dzięki temu splotowi okoliczności dziś możecie poznać ją bliżej. Zapraszamy!

How long have you been working as a Tech Writer?

14 years.

How did you become a Tech Writer?

By chance. After doing my Masters in Computer Science, I joined a startup in which we predominantly worked on SkillSoft articles. I had no idea what technical writing was, and I had begun as one under the guidance of experienced professionals in the industry. My first work experience as a technical writer intrigued my interest in the profession. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jitendra Sivamani, who undoubtedly believed my technical writing abilities and nurtured my writing skills around a decade.

Can you tell us something about the company you work for and your team?

I work at Noetix/Magnitude for 12 years now. The company provides solutions for enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications. We are a group of technical writers who span across borders. The group consists of a balanced mixture of experienced and fresh team members and handles the documentation of the products owned by Magnitude.

How is your and your team’s work organized?

Technical writers are assigned to a product or a group of products and work in a writer-editor combination. We are responsible for the end-to-end process for major, minor, and update releases – planning, developing, reviewing, editing, and delivery of the content.

What tools do you use and what do you think about them?

We primarily use MadCap Flare for authoring content for most of our products, and Adobe FrameMaker and Confluence Cloud for some of our products. We use our in-house templates in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel to meet our release notes and internal review requirements. I believe that the tools are more beneficial when we take full advantage of their features.

How do you get the information you need to create documentation?

We use the available sources of information: product management release announcement pages, functional specifications, feature/bug issues, inputs by subject matter experts, product demonstrations, and hands-on testing of the feature. We use predefined templates and bug tracking tools to mostly track our interactions with other teams. At times, we have to rely on Outlook emails, chat conversations, and our rapport with SMEs. We also believe that providing a specific list of our questions to the product managers/SMEs will help us get desired results.

What documents do you deliver, in what form, in which language and how are they published?

We develop documentation in English (en-US) for technical audience, report developers, and end users. Our deliverables include installation and configuration guides, administration guides, user guides, report guides, security guides, release notes, and in-app guidance. We deliver the documents in formats, such as HTML, WebHelp, and PDF documents. Some of our documents are made available online and some are shipped with our products.

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?

We do create product or feature videos by using Camtasia. However, we focus mainly on the product documentation, and the marketing content is handed by a team of professionals.

What are the biggest challenges at your work?

The part where you believe that as a writer, you are enhancing the customer experience and continue doing it regardless of how others see it.

What do you like the most in being a Tech Writer?

I like how we can steer up meaningful conversations regarding the usability of the product features with product management/SMEs and help them see from an end-user’s point of view. I like how our content shapes up from the raw, complex information into simple, clear, well-structured, and comprehensible form with rounds of reviews and edits. This profession also gives me a chance to help my fellow writers at work and thereby help myself become a better writer by day. I am an advocate of the standards and principles that guide our writing. And, finally, I realize that my fascination for writing has only grown over time!

What is your advice for those who want to begin their adventure with writing documentation?

If you like writing and have good language and communication skills – go ahead and give it a try! I believe that the tools, technology, and industry can be learned and developed over time. The work will be challenging at times, but it is worth if you are passionate about it!