M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications
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7 Surefire Signs You’re Ready To Be A Freelance Writer

7 Surefire Signs You’re Ready To Be A Freelance Writer | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
It's hard to believe, but every successful freelance writer started at this point. They all had to choose between freelance writing or some other career --
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

As someone who aspires to be a full-time freelancer someday, there are some great tips in this article that make sense. First thing is to ease into it! Take a look to see what the other recommendations are...

 

--TechCommGeekMom

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M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications
A collection of all the tech comm topics I find most timely or helpful, with a special emphasis on e-learning and m-learning
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Is the STC dying?

Is the STC dying? | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
I was moved by a series of articles recently written by my friend, Larry Kunz. The most recent of the three, "Why is it so important that the STC survive?" was the first that I read from a series he had recently produced (there are links within the article above that links you to the…
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200 Startups Hiring Remotely in 2016 — Medium

200 Startups Hiring Remotely in 2016 — Medium | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
I started working remotely in 2014 and immediately loved it!
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
As an advocate of remote work, I found this article--and the one written after it--greatly insightful and a great resource which I plan to take advantage of as best as I can.  

If you are looking to work from anywhere, take a look at this. There are some good tech comm and digital marketing jobs listed on the site. 

Good luck!
--techcommgeekmom
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Saddle up for a FREE workshop event from Adobe at #STC2016!

Saddle up for a FREE workshop event from Adobe at #STC2016! | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
While I was unable to go to the STC Summit last year, I am looking forward to going to Anaheim this year to not only being a presenter at the STC Summit, but  also to learn and connect with other technical communicators again! I realized that one of the events I've always liked attending is the…
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The T-shirt that can speak in any language

The T-shirt that can speak in any language | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Communication breakdown inspires Swiss travelers to create genius clothing solution
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
This is a brilliant idea to encourage communication without translation! I applaud the creators of this product to take the time to figure out some truly universal icon images to use around the world. This is a great step towards better communication and better understanding globally. Now, if we could only incorporate more of this in our work... I think I need to get one of these. What do you think? Will you purchase one of these items? Include your comments below. --TechCommGeekMom
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Why Women Job Hop More Than Men

Women are much more likely to switch jobs more frequently than men, but it might not be a bad thing for their careers.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
This is an interesting article, as I think this definitely applies to the tech comm field especially. It's not unusual for technical communicators to be brought into projects as either short term or long term contracts, so it's built into the industry right now. I can attest to that point, but I can also attest to both looking for flexible schedules and climbing up the career ladder as the reasons why I end up job hopping a lot. I am that woman they speak of in the article! At this point in my career, it's the only way to go if I want to stay employed at all. How many of my female readers can relate to this article as well? Do you think this is something that works for or against women? Include your comments below. --TechCommGeekMom
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Three-day working week 'optimal for over-40s' - BBC News

Three-day working week 'optimal for over-40s' - BBC News | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Workers aged over 40 perform at their best if they work just three days a week, according to economic researchers.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
As a person who is starting to approach her fifties (yikes!) in a couple years, I find this to be so true. Or for me, it's even just letting me work from home three times a week rather than dragging myself into the office every single day.  I know that my brain takes a little longer to rev up in the morning, and conks out earlier, so shortened hours would be great. I think the other thing about this study or the article--which admits that the study is a little flawed--is that for many people, responsibilities shift when you hit your forties. Many have children who are teenagers and college-age students by then, and there's a lot going on with that. Or, after your forties, you might have more to do with aging parental care. But somehow, I think adults generally have more responsibilities once they hit their forties, and it just doesn't let up anymore. 

I know I'd welcome a shorter week, or at least shortened hours. What do you think of this article? Include your comments below. 
--techcommgeekmom
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Should you attend an editing conference?

Should you attend an editing conference? | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
In this article, Carol Fisher Saller, editor of the Chicago Manual of Style's Q&A, provides some fantastic tips on the pros and cons of attending and editing conference, including how to decide what conferences to attend and how to approach your experience there. It reflects many of my own views, because as a consultant/contractor, I have to pay for my own way to conferences, and usually lose a week's pay, so I have to make the trip affordable and worth the time off! While Saller speaks specifically about editing conferences, the advice easily extends to tech comm, content strategy, content marketing, and e-learning/m-learning conferences, too. Do you agree with her recommendations? Include your comments below. --TechCommGeekMom
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Is it ‘Internet’ or ‘internet?’ The Internet can’t agree.

Is it ‘Internet’ or ‘internet?’ The Internet can’t agree. | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
In the summer, the "Internet" will become the "internet," at least according to the Associated Press's widely-followed stylebook.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Now here's an interesting dilemma with the "I" versus "i" for the use of the word "Internet". It can be a little confusing. I'm not a big fan of the AP (long story), nor their style guide because I don't think it's accurate grammar. I am more of a Chicago Manual of Style gal, or even a Microsoft Style Guide (yes, it exists) gal. My thought is that if it's referred to as "The Internet" as an entity, then it should be capitalized as a proper noun. Other situations like "internet connection" should remain lowercase as its a descriptive word. What kind of connection is it? It's an internet connection. I can see this one being hotly contested in the writing world. What do you think? Include your comments below. --TechCommGeekMom
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We're Turning Into a Freelance Nation. Here's What That Looks Like.

We're Turning Into a Freelance Nation. Here's What That Looks Like. | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Technology has facilitated a global market shift that provides more options for freelance employees.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Thanks to Craig Cardimon for finding this article.  I almost fit into the stereotypical freelance model as described in the article--except for my age--but I'm also looking to eventually do more freelance work in the future so that I can be more flexible with my time. I like working from home and arranging my schedule the way I want to work.  It's still the pipe dream, at least. 

In the meantime, this article supports the idea that the rise of freelancing is not a dead idea. In my opinion, this has been said for years, but perhaps it's had a very slow start. Time will tell whether more freelancing opportunities become available, especially to technical communicators. 

What do you think? Include your comments below. 
--techcommgeekmom
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The technical communicator’s credo

The technical communicator’s credo | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
What does it mean to be a professional technical communicator in 2016? What will it mean to be a professional technical communicator over the next decade? After pondering those questions I came up with this credo: I serve my audience.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Larry Kunz, with his experienced wisdom, has written an excellent technical communicator's credo here, and has explained what each of these points should mean. In many respects, these are common sense, but they can easily be forgotten when things get rough. Larry invited his readers to add to his credo, but I can't think of anything to append to this. Can you think of anything? Include your ideas below! --TechCommGeekMom
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Starting Your Own Business | Fifty Is The New Fifty

Starting Your Own Business | Fifty Is The New Fifty | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Things you need to remember to be successful in starting your own business
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Craig Cardimon found this article. The pipe dream, for me, is still to start my own business. While I still haven't gotten my act together to make it happen, I often wonder if, as I approach the age of 50 (I'm not quite there yet), if this is something that can still be done at my age.  This article says, yes, it can happen, but not overnight (obviously).  There are some great pointers in the article that I plan to review again once I'm ready to try to take off again, and move forward with my business. I don't know when that will be, but for now, there are some pointers that I should heed as I plan. 

What do you think of these suggestions? Include your comments below. 
--techcommgeekmom
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Aimee Joyaux's curator insight, March 24, 7:39 AM
Craig Cardimon found this article. The pipe dream, for me, is still to start my own business. While I still haven't gotten my act together to make it happen, I often wonder if, as I approach the age of 50 (I'm not quite there yet), if this is something that can still be done at my age.  This article says, yes, it can happen, but not overnight (obviously).  There are some great pointers in the article that I plan to review again once I'm ready to try to take off again, and move forward with my business. I don't know when that will be, but for now, there are some pointers that I should heed as I plan. 

What do you think of these suggestions? Include your comments below. 
--techcommgeekmom
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Lemme Upgrade Ya: Check Out This Totally Redesigned, Easy-to-Read NYC Subway Map

Lemme Upgrade Ya: Check Out This Totally Redesigned, Easy-to-Read NYC Subway Map | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
A man by the name of Tommi Moilanen updated Massimo Vignelli's sleek design for the year 2015, and here it is.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Being that I live relatively close to NYC, I could never figure out the subway system to save my life. I always loved the DC Metro maps and London Underground maps, as I found the visual design of Vignelli's maps not only aesthetically pleasing, but incredibly helpful due to their seemingly simple designs. I had never really thought about the intensive strategy and deep thinking that had to occur for these kinds of designs--which seem simple, but aren't--until I had taken my visual design class in grad school. 

This is a great study of visual design. Take a look...
--techcommgeekmom 
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Six Essential Tips for WordPress Beginners - Take Matters Into Your Own Hands

Six Essential Tips for WordPress Beginners - Take Matters Into Your Own Hands | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
WordPress is what makes the internet go round. With a huge share in web design and development arena, WordPress is one platform that every beginner webmaster should be aware of.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
This article by Mr. Gill is short and sweet, but to the point. He's got some great up-front tips to get you rolling along. Upon reviewing them, I realized that I did these steps on my own way back when I started TechCommGeekMom, so I can validate his advice. Take a look... --TechCommGeekMom
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The tech helping us work together wherever we are

The tech helping us work together wherever we are | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Cloud computing is helping form new types of collaborative business unrestricted by geography or time zones.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
This is a concept that I don't understand why there isn't more remote work out there, and why more companies out there aren't embracing it. We have the technology, so why isn't it embraced more? This would provoke more collaboration and efforts to work together, as well as allow the best talent to be hired rather than who is close enough but willing to make the commute. For much of the tech community world, this would be an ideal situation. What do you think? Include your comments below. --TechCommGeekMom
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How Global Is Your English? 8 Ways to Keep It Simple—And Save Big -

How Global Is Your English? 8 Ways to Keep It Simple—And Save Big - | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Here are some techniques that you can use right away to make your text more readable around the world whether or not it gets translated.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Marcia Riefer Johnston has an excellent article on her Writing Rocks blog today about Global English, and shows fantastic examples of how word choices can make a difference not only for comprehension when translating, but how it can affect costs down the line. 

Great article! 
--TechCommGeekMom
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Here's How I Know When A Job Applicant Is Lying - Forbes

Here's How I Know When A Job Applicant Is Lying - Forbes | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Matthew is an HR Manager who's figured out how to catch job applicants' lies when he interviews them. Is Matthew on to something?
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
This is an excellent article for anyone who is job searching--whether it's in tech comm, e-learning, or digital marketing. 

Having sent out G-d knows how many resumes in my lifetime (I know Princeton University alone has received over 100 from me over time, so I've generally given up on them), and been on dozens of interviews to know that what the author of this article, Liz Ryan, says is true. Sure, everyone will try to stretch the truth a little bit to make themselves better, but there are ways to say, "Yeah, I'm not as strong in that but I can learn quickly," in a way that isn't lying, but still expresses that more carefully. Additionally, this is one reason that volunteering, or talking about topics that interest you--but you aren't doing--in a blog is helpful. I know that while I haven't been an instructional designer, anyone who's read my blog knows that I have a decent foundation in instructional design principles, and I know much about the tools and lingo used in the field. So for me to apply to an e-learning or m-learning job is not that far-fetched. A stretch, sometimes, but nothing more than that. Sometimes recruiters have contacted me with something that I think is way off target, but I'll look at it a second time, and think, "Hmm...maybe I can do this after all."

As Liz Ryan said in the article, it's a two-way street as well. Employers are always working to ensure that their brand evokes something positive, even when things aren't going well, because they want to retain good talent. 

What do you think? Include your comments below.  
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Tech Fatigue

Tech Fatigue | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
This isn't a rant post. But if you have worked in tech for long enough, you know this feeling — tech fatigue. At some point, everything new feels old,..
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
I'm sure that I'm not alone when I say that I think that as a technical communicator, I definitely have tech fatigue. Sometimes it's even "tech trending idea/issue" fatigue. I think I've been hearing about how content marketing is what needs to be done now and going forward for the past 2-3 years. Single-sourcing and structured content is what companies should be doing. Mobile content is the wave of the future! These have all come to fruition, but not to the level that was touted. For example, I've worked for several global corporations who have looked at me like I had three heads if I mention the concept of single sourcing, or writing for mobile, or considering plain English due to localization and translation issues. That shouldn't be! Many cutting-edge or bleeding-edge ideas around technology have been slow to take hold. Why? I think part of it is that people are slow to adapt and give in to change. For example, iPads have been around for about 6 years, and smartphones have been around longer. How is it that I am still able to give presentations and workshops on the basics of writing for mobile? Neil Perlin is another person who comes to mind who does much more about teaching mobile concepts than I do. Why aren't more companies on top of this? What do you think? I agree with the author's perspective of why he loves tech. I don't think I could've put it better myself. But I understand the fatigue as well. Include your insights below. --TechCommGeekMom
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Improving Customer Experience: The 9-Step Foundation for Retention

Improving Customer Experience: The 9-Step Foundation for Retention | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
A strategic approach to Customer Experience is a sharp differentiator in the success and growth of companies for a simple reason – so many companies just don’t have one. Not necessarily from
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Great article that's really about common sense in understanding your customer base and how to adapt to their changing needs. While this article is really meant for marketing and digital marketing, it can easily apply to content marketing as well as how we write as technical communicators in general. Needs and interests change, and we need to adapt to them. 

Disclosure: I'm also a little biased, as this was written by my cousin's "significant other" (so he's family to me). He's a smart cookie, and a pleasure to talk shop with, when I get the chance! :-) Even so, he makes fantastic points here, family or not! 

Do you agree with Dave's assessment? Include your comments below. 
--techcommgeekmom
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Being paid to write–for the first time!

Being paid to write–for the first time! | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
While I've spent years blogging and talking about being a technical writer, I haven't actually been a technical writer except for doing projects in grad school--until now. In the last two months, I've started a position as a content/technical writer for the UX/UI Design team of a large company, working on their global self-service portal.…
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When It Comes to Age Bias, Tech Companies Don’t Even Bother to Lie

Imagine you’re African-American and working at a 500-person technology company where everyone else is white, and one day the CEO declares in a national newspaper interview that his company’s lack of diversity isn’t an accident. In fact he prefers to hire white people because when it comes to technology white people simply make better employees. That statement would be unthinkable. But what if a tech CEO made the same comment about age?
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Craig Cardimon found this gem on LinkedIn. I think the sentence in this article that struck me the most--because it validated something I've said time and time again--is this one: "I suspect the truth is that tech startups prefer young workers because they will work longer hours and can be paid less." In fact, I just had a conversation with someone yesterday about just that point. I had seen a job listing for a social media strategist for a non-profit that I knew would be great for a friend of mine who has done PR, marketing, and more recently social media her entire career. She's unemployed, and I knew she had the experience, and it was also a cause near and dear to her heart. She said she'd probably apply for it, even though she, most likely, would not be considered because she is "old" (she's not) and they want to pay peanuts, She's used to not being paid as much from being in the non-profit sector for so long, but even so... This story shows a travesty that's going on in the industry. And it's not only ageism. There's racism and sexism as well. So basically, as long as you are a young, white male, you're fairly guaranteed to get an IT job in a tech company. When did inexperience outrank experience? I know I'm still new in the industry, but the only thing I have "going" in my favor based on the above-said criteria is that I'm white. And I don't seek white privilege. Being an older woman in itself breaking into the IT world and not being some young whipper snapper is hard enough without all the other obstacles in the way of just proving yourself worthy at all. What do you think of this article? Include your comments below.
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Virtual reality is about to go mainstream, but a lack of content threatens to hold it back

Virtual reality is about to go mainstream, but a lack of content threatens to hold it back | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Technology is surrounding us; its surface is becoming more complex, pliable and familiar to the eye. Virtual reality is no longer creeping into the..
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
The sentence in this article that caught my attention the most--other than the headline--was "VR has the potential to remake storytelling, from how we watch movies to how we play games to how we pass time while waiting for a flight." 

The biggest message I've heard about content marketing for the past couple of years--or much of technical communication, for that matter--is that it's comes down to storytelling. If you tell a good story, people will buy into it, whether it's in print, audio, video, web, or now virtual reality.  This article seems to be heralding the call--"Technical communicators! We need you now!" Who better to be the storytellers? Who better to be the ones to help others create content strategies for future virtual content. As the article says, the sky is the limit! 

Would you want to be part of creating content for virtual reality? I think I would want to do that. What about you? Let me know what you think in the comment section below. 

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graham j. passmore's curator insight, April 4, 12:43 PM
The sentence in this article that caught my attention the most--other than the headline--was "VR has the potential to remake storytelling, from how we watch movies to how we play games to how we pass time while waiting for a flight." 

The biggest message I've heard about content marketing for the past couple of years--or much of technical communication, for that matter--is that it's comes down to storytelling. If you tell a good story, people will buy into it, whether it's in print, audio, video, web, or now virtual reality.  This article seems to be heralding the call--"Technical communicators! We need you now!" Who better to be the storytellers? Who better to be the ones to help others create content strategies for future virtual content. As the article says, the sky is the limit! 

Would you want to be part of creating content for virtual reality? I think I would want to do that. What about you? Let me know what you think in the comment section below. 

graham j. passmore's curator insight, April 4, 12:44 PM
The sentence in this article that caught my attention the most--other than the headline--was "VR has the potential to remake storytelling, from how we watch movies to how we play games to how we pass time while waiting for a flight." 

The biggest message I've heard about content marketing for the past couple of years--or much of technical communication, for that matter--is that it's comes down to storytelling. If you tell a good story, people will buy into it, whether it's in print, audio, video, web, or now virtual reality.  This article seems to be heralding the call--"Technical communicators! We need you now!" Who better to be the storytellers? Who better to be the ones to help others create content strategies for future virtual content. As the article says, the sky is the limit! 

Would you want to be part of creating content for virtual reality? I think I would want to do that. What about you? Let me know what you think in the comment section below. 

Stephania Savva's curator insight, April 5, 7:30 AM
The sentence in this article that caught my attention the most--other than the headline--was "VR has the potential to remake storytelling, from how we watch movies to how we play games to how we pass time while waiting for a flight." 

The biggest message I've heard about content marketing for the past couple of years--or much of technical communication, for that matter--is that it's comes down to storytelling. If you tell a good story, people will buy into it, whether it's in print, audio, video, web, or now virtual reality.  This article seems to be heralding the call--"Technical communicators! We need you now!" Who better to be the storytellers? Who better to be the ones to help others create content strategies for future virtual content. As the article says, the sky is the limit! 

Would you want to be part of creating content for virtual reality? I think I would want to do that. What about you? Let me know what you think in the comment section below. 

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A Poem About How The English Language Makes No Sense

A Poem About How The English Language Makes No Sense | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
We park on driveways, park on driveways and drive everyone else nuts.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
We can thank Mr. TechCommGeekMom for finding this one. Here's another amusing video to show why English is such a difficult language to learn for those learning it as a second language. If you think about it, this video shows the reason why clear, plain English is needed for translation and localization purposes! 

Enjoy...
--techcommgeekmom 
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How The Master's Degree Became The New Bachelor's In The Hiring World

How The Master's Degree Became The New Bachelor's In The Hiring World | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
More employers are looking to hire candidates with advanced degrees than ever before.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Adam Helweh found this one and posted it on Facebook (which is where I found this). Reading this, it makes me glad that I spent the time earning my MSPTC (Master's of Science in Professional and Technical Communication), and it has helped me earn a better income and advance my career.  But what would it mean to get a PhD or other doctorate degree in the working world? That is, if the Master's degree is what is the new Bachelor's degree, does that mean a doctorate is the new Master's?  

In the US, it's expensive enough to try to earn a Bachelor's degree, and that's much cheaper than a graduate degree (knowing the cost per credit at many graduate schools compared to undergraduate schools, it's tremendously more), how is this going to help the workforce ultimately? It definitely helps the technical communication world, I think, to some level bring up the quality of work that's out there. But there are plenty of talented people with undergrad degrees that can do the work, too. 

Time will tell how this will all impact the workforce at large. 

What do you think? Include your comments below. 
--techcommgeekmom
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Aimee Joyaux's curator insight, March 24, 7:39 AM
Adam Helweh found this one and posted it on Facebook (which is where I found this). Reading this, it makes me glad that I spent the time earning my MSPTC (Master's of Science in Professional and Technical Communication), and it has helped me earn a better income and advance my career.  But what would it mean to get a PhD or other doctorate degree in the working world? That is, if the Master's degree is what is the new Bachelor's degree, does that mean a doctorate is the new Master's?  

In the US, it's expensive enough to try to earn a Bachelor's degree, and that's much cheaper than a graduate degree (knowing the cost per credit at many graduate schools compared to undergraduate schools, it's tremendously more), how is this going to help the workforce ultimately? It definitely helps the technical communication world, I think, to some level bring up the quality of work that's out there. But there are plenty of talented people with undergrad degrees that can do the work, too. 

Time will tell how this will all impact the workforce at large. 

What do you think? Include your comments below. 
--techcommgeekmom
graham j. passmore's curator insight, March 24, 9:00 AM
Adam Helweh found this one and posted it on Facebook (which is where I found this). Reading this, it makes me glad that I spent the time earning my MSPTC (Master's of Science in Professional and Technical Communication), and it has helped me earn a better income and advance my career.  But what would it mean to get a PhD or other doctorate degree in the working world? That is, if the Master's degree is what is the new Bachelor's degree, does that mean a doctorate is the new Master's?  

In the US, it's expensive enough to try to earn a Bachelor's degree, and that's much cheaper than a graduate degree (knowing the cost per credit at many graduate schools compared to undergraduate schools, it's tremendously more), how is this going to help the workforce ultimately? It definitely helps the technical communication world, I think, to some level bring up the quality of work that's out there. But there are plenty of talented people with undergrad degrees that can do the work, too. 

Time will tell how this will all impact the workforce at large. 

What do you think? Include your comments below. 
--techcommgeekmom
graham j. passmore's curator insight, March 24, 9:00 AM
Adam Helweh found this one and posted it on Facebook (which is where I found this). Reading this, it makes me glad that I spent the time earning my MSPTC (Master's of Science in Professional and Technical Communication), and it has helped me earn a better income and advance my career.  But what would it mean to get a PhD or other doctorate degree in the working world? That is, if the Master's degree is what is the new Bachelor's degree, does that mean a doctorate is the new Master's?  

In the US, it's expensive enough to try to earn a Bachelor's degree, and that's much cheaper than a graduate degree (knowing the cost per credit at many graduate schools compared to undergraduate schools, it's tremendously more), how is this going to help the workforce ultimately? It definitely helps the technical communication world, I think, to some level bring up the quality of work that's out there. But there are plenty of talented people with undergrad degrees that can do the work, too. 

Time will tell how this will all impact the workforce at large. 

What do you think? Include your comments below. 
--techcommgeekmom
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Surviving the Dying Career of Technical Writing :: UXmatters

Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Rahel Bailie had received this article in her email and shared it in Facebook, and I'm glad she did.  I have to say, I don't agree with the author's viewpoint, although I understand it. 

Let me start with this: TECHNICAL WRITING IS NOT DEAD. 

Since I'm still a relative newbie to the industry, my response to this author is that this is why the industry is known as "technical communication", not only "technical writing".  The reason that these combination jobs are happening is quite simple: employers are cheap. It's really nothing else. Yes, there are people out there that are talented enough to be both technical writers AND analysts, programmers, instructional designers, etc. But what this shift really involves is a shift in how business is done--a necessity for all technical writers, no matter who they are. They have to have a broader understanding of other aspects of the IT industry to survive, no matter what industry their company is. Let me explain. 

Learning these other skills was inevitable. Once the digital age started, there was no going back. Writing documentation for software and hardware became normal. As time as gone on, social media and mobile have upped the ante for digital documentation, because digital documentation is practically universal now.  When universities have related programs, it's not degrees in technical writing alone, but rather it's technical communication, because we are taught about graphic design, UX/UI practices, social media, content strategy, and more. We are taught that now, whether it's through formal education or through working experiences. This is the "new normal".  But technical writing is not dead, and having it as a skill is very advantageous. 

My husband is a programmer/web developer. English is not even his first language, even though he's has about 98% native fluency in American English. He can write better than most people born in this country. HOWEVER, he's the first to say that while he can write a good sentence, and he can recognize a bad one, he's not really the best person to write user-friendly text or content. He's not the best content editor out there. He's a programmer, so that's what he does and does best.  He leaves the writing part to others to provide the best solutions possible. 

At one position I was at, I was working with a fellow who felt so proud that he was getting a degree in programming, so learning the company's CMS system was going to be great so that he could help a team create web pages. When I received the initial content that needed to be added, it was one of the worst things I had ever seen. Poor grammar, text that didn't make sense, and images that looked like a clown vomitted and didn't represent the group well at all. A technical writer understands these things. 

Right now, I'm in a position as a UX technical writer. It's my first real writing position other than blogging. I work with UX designers and graphics designers who are very good at .what they do. While they do have a good grasp of user-friendly language, the other tech writer and I have been tasked with cleaning up the content of the wireframes so that things are consistent, clear, and cogent. The designers don't have that mentality, and so they add--or sometimes don't include enough--text that will enhance their customer's experience. 

So, while this author makes a great point that you can't limit yourself to writing solely, technical writing is NOT dead, but enhanced.  After all, it's not the Society for Technical Writing that many of us belong to, but rather the Society for Technical COMMUNICATION. Technical communication is a much bigger umbrella that covers more than technical writing alone, but it is the foundation of it all. Technical communication in the 21st century is about being a multi-tasker and having multiple disciplines. It makes you a better candidate for employment, and it makes you a better employee.  Even in the few weeks that I've been at my current position as a UX tech writer, I've pointed out things to the UX designers that they hadn't thought about before, because I had training in UX/UI. They also saw that as a blogger and content strategist, I knew how to write and what would be best for the user reading the content. 

It all works in the end, but this is why all of us need to think of ourselves as technical communicators. We are more than technical writing, but technical writing is far from dead. We have a skill that the analysts, instructional designers, and programmers wish they had. While we should enhance and broaden our skills, we should not think of ourselves as programmers or analysts who can write, because most can't. We are writers that can program and analyze--that's much more valuable. 

What do you think? Include your comments below. 
--techcommgeekmom
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Disney Experiences: Content Strategy Lessons from One of the Happiest Places on Earth - Content Science Review

Disney Experiences: Content Strategy Lessons from One of the Happiest Places on Earth - Content Science Review | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
What content strategy lessons can we learn from a former Disney cast member?
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Colleen Jones pointed me to this Michael Haggerty-Villa article that's really well done. You can find content everywhere, even at Disney Parks! (Something that those going to the 2016 STC Summit should keep in mind!) As Michael points out, Walt Disney was a master of content strategy and customer experience, and set a precedent that we all try to follow now, not just at Disney. This is great reading! Nice job, Michael! --TechCommGeekMom
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graham j. passmore's curator insight, March 19, 12:37 PM
Colleen Jones pointed me to this Michael Haggerty-Villa article that's really well done. You can find content everywhere, even at Disney Parks! (Something that those going to the 2016 STC Summit should keep in mind!) As Michael points out, Walt Disney was a master of content strategy and customer experience, and set a precedent that we all try to follow now, not just at Disney. This is great reading! Nice job, Michael! --TechCommGeekMom