Tina Yuan and Hazzy He work as technical writers at the Sigma Technology Shanghai office. They are both engaged in the assignment for the company`s big Telecom client. In this interview, they share with us their vision of technical writer`s role.
Tell us about your background. How did you become a technical writer?
Tina: I had Chemistry as my Bachelor major at university and had the highest score in the group. Although I was amazed by the science, I felt that spending long hours in the lab was not my thing. I was always attracted to the new technology, and, thus, I became a knowledge analyst at the customer service in Microsoft China. Two years later I started working as a consultant on a telecom assignment for Sigma, building my career from a technical writer to a project manager in a year. I am currently responsible for a team of five writers and lead the planning and releasing of the projects, also wearing a new hat as DITA migration leader in China.
Hazzy: I had worked as an engineer before I became a technical writer. My job was to manage software, databases and IT services. Sigma`s Telecom assignment was a whole new job for me. It was not only about troubleshooting. It was something completely new, and of course, my technical background helped me a lot in technical writing.
What excites you in your work as a technical writer?
Hazzy: Here I have time to think and don`t feel a constant rush. I can reflect and turn things around to understand what is the best thing to write. Before, when I was an engineer, I felt endless pressure, but with technical writing I can spare some time to be creative. This work makes me valuable and helps to bridge engineers and end users.
Tina: Technical writing helps me to be more careful and attentive to details, learn new things and new features. I value that I am self-managed, independent consultant, and my voice is always heard.
What is technology for you?
Hazzy: Technology for me is a better future. It traps our mind and changes the world each day. It is up to us to decide whether we want to be pioneers or slaves of technology.
Tina: During my university years, I wasn`t thinking I would work with technology. There is something new every day, and you get access to the latest inventions. It`s amazing!
What is your recommendation for new technical writers?
Tina: Being a technical writer is really challenging and interesting. I say it is challenging because there are always new things for you to learn, not just the various writing styles, but also you will need to grasp lots of qualifications as time goes by, such as language, illustration, customer mindset, communication, coordination, project management or even product management skills and etc.
I say it is interesting because how can you get bored learning new things every day, especially when you image numerous people across the world can use this product because of your writing?
With information and technology being explosive continually every day, I have no doubt that providing easily readable information is more and more significant. So I would like to say to the new TWs, welcome aboard!
Hazzy: Being a technical writer means that you are either a writer with technical knowledge, or an engineer with writing skills. You may feel it`s hard to explain things with both English language and machine language.
When you try to tell people what you do for a living, they might think you are a translator, or a copy clerk. However, your friends will find out you can tell if a product is good or not by just a glance at the product instruction. As you know, only the people who care about the user experience will make good products, and they will hire a professional technical writer to take care of the product information.
This is the moment when you are proud of being a technical writer.
Want to know more about life at Sigma Technology? Read interviews with our employees from other locations.