Why Every Digital Agency Should Hire a Technical Communicator (or Six)

I have encountered a belief amongst some members of the tech sector that jobs in technical communication are “going away.” The reasons for this are variously cited as: changes in technology, the growing pervasiveness of user-generated content, and the growth of jobs in related fields such as digital marketing, UX, and content strategy.

Instructions on a pistol rocket apparatus written by a technical communicator

Image source: http://bit.ly/1ao0glp

As I mentioned in a previous post, this is simply not true. Employment in technical communication is set to grow by 15% through 2022.

I think the real reason this belief persists is that there is a general misunderstanding regarding the value that technical communicators provide to digitally-focused organizations. Below I provide some reasons that every digital agency should hire a technical communicator (or six).

5 Reasons You Should Hire a Technical Communicator

  1. Not everyone can write good. Writing is a threshold skill for hiring and promotion among many different types of professional employees, meaning that people who struggle with it will also struggle to establish their career. As anyone who has taught writing knows, however, writing is also very difficult to do well. It is a learned skill, but those of us who teach it and do it for a living also know that many fail to successfully learn this skill.
  2. Technical communicators are versatile communicators. My experience in technical communication is that members of our field are good at lots of different forms of communication. This means that we work exceedingly well in situations that require cross-functional teamwork.
  3. Technical communicators can translate things for a variety of audiences. One of the most valuable skill sets technical communicators bring to an organization is our ability to break down complex knowledge for a variety of different audiences. In contemporary organizations, which are filled with an increasingly diverse array of professionals, stakeholders, customers, and clients, this skill cannot be overestimated.
  4. Technical communicators are efficient communicators. Most of the work I do as a writer and educator involves cutting through unnecessary jargon, deleting excess language, and replacing non-descriptive nouns. Like most professionals who communicate for a living, I am good at being concise because my attention to language has been honed through years of writing and editing.
  5. Technical communicators aren’t afraid of grunt work. Despite claims to the contrary, many digital media are still primarily textual. People also still primarily search the internet for pertinent, textual information, not for images. This is especially the case when they’re doing purposeful searching for information they consider important (like information about health, how to do something, and emerging trends in their field). Organizing and producing effective textual content is a mundane, often overlooked, task for many organizations.