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Blog

March 04, 2019

Speaking Announcement: Evolution of TC

I’m excited to announce I’ll be speaking at the Evolution of Technical Communication conference in Sofia, Bulgaria in June. Not only that, but I’ll also be leading a workshop!

How to assemble a quality writing portfolio

We’ve all spent a long time trying to decide how to craft the perfect cover letter and resume to apply to new positions. Often times we are also expected to present writing samples – if not in the application, at some point in the interview process. These writing samples are the key to showing potential employers that you can concisely explain a process in various mediums.

In this talk we’ll discuss:

  • How to pick the best writing samples for a job application
  • How to approach additional writing prompts and homework
  • Document design and packaging writing for print and the web
  • Empathy for our potential employers, readers of the writing samples

We’ll also touch on how to update your existing work to meet the expectations in the job description.

When to create video documentation

There are many ways to help people learn and understand how to use new technologies. Visual learners succeed best with clear screenshots, GIFs, and video documentation. Video can be a crucial part of your technical education strategy.

In this workshop, you will learn:

  •  When to make a video and when NOT to make a video
  •  Tips for creating scripts and storyboards
  •  How to make videos people will actually want to watch
  •  Maximizing video usability

Instead of focusing on how to use a specific tool, as availability and expertise levels are different, we will work on the decision process for the type of content you should create and the crucial pre-work needed to make quality video documentation. 

December 18, 2018

Job Updates: Hello from Google

In October 2017, I decided to apply to Google. It wasn’t the first time I had applied—I applied in 2011 when trying to get a job post-graduation in communications. Back then, I never received a response to my application and expected similar results in 2017.

Although I applied for a product Developer Programs Engineer position in New York, I ended up getting an email from their technical writer recruiter the following week. A year and one day from the day I submitted my application, I signed an offer letter. And 6 weeks after that, I finally went to Noogler (that’s what they call new Googlers) orientation. It was a long road to get here.

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September 26, 2018

Write The Docs Prague 2018

There is something special about Write The Docs. I’ve been to a number of conferences in the last few years, many of which were tech-specific, and this is the only one where I feel confident that I could have walked away friends with everyone. People who attend this conference are kind, smart, thoughtful, and every other adjective you’d hope for your communicators.

I was honored to be among the 15 speakers chosen to speak. On Monday, September 10, I presented, “How to tear down your existing documentation,” focusing on the ways writers could write a proposal to convince their managers that the documentation needs to be blown up.

Download the full slide deck as either a PDF, Keynote file, or Microsoft PowerPoint, as well as an example proposal.

July 03, 2018

Speaking Announcement: Write the Docs Prague 2018

In a few months, I’ll be joining the technical writers community at Write The Docs Prague. I’m thrilled to have been chosen and I look forward to meeting my fellow writers. Check out my intended abstract:

How to tear down existing documentation and rewrite docs that actually work

We all know what it’s like to look at a series of existing documentation and think, “how did this happen?” Be it a large swath of unorganized content or a lack of a clear strategy, the complications of bad docs aren’t just a curse for documentation editors. Our readers see it, too. It leads to confused support requests and possibly a loss of customers.

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January 17, 2018

Creating and managing instances with Packer and Terraform

Over the last three months, I’ve written a series of four blog posts about creating and managing instances with Packer and Terraform. It’s been a tremendous learning experience, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of some HashiCorp experts (and ex-pats). Thanks to Sean Chittenden, Paul Stack, and Justin Reagor for your advice, critique, and editing.

Below I’ve included excerpts from all of the posts. The source code for all of the exercises is available on GitHub.

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November 16, 2017

How to Create Step-By-Step Instructions with Visuals

A few months ago, I wrote a post for five tips to create technical screencasts. Afterwards, I was ask by my former colleague Jessie to write a post for TechSmith about creating visuals for instructions.

Some highlights

Always consider your audience:

  • Are my readers already experts? Have they done this process before, if not exactly then in similar circumstances?
  • Are my readers internal or external? If my readers are within the same company, what language do we share that will help better explain the process?
  • What mood will they be coming to my content with? Am I creating this content for someone who is in a rush to get something done, or is this for a more casual learner who is just hoping to further their education on a topic?
  • What is most important to my readers? What is least important?
  • How do my readers prefer to learn? Do I know if a blog post is more successful than a video? Is there any analytical data to support these claims?
  • Are my readers native English speakers? If I use an idiom, will it hinder their ability to learn how to complete the process?

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