Reflections on my technical writing career


I was once asked in a job interview: “Why do I stay a technical writer when it must be such a dull and boring profession?”  After the meeting when I was peeling rubber out of the parking lot, I took a few moments when I was decelerating to think about some of the more interesting moments (at least to me) from my career:

  • Documenting a piece of hardware for a client that NASA later sent to Mars on a mission.
  • Writing the documentation for a client that was migrating away from  Microsoft Outlook to Netscape Communicator. Later, I had to take this contract off my resume because more than one recruiter questioned me on the project and thought I had the packages reversed. This project did help provide the down payment for my house though so it has a special place in my heart.
  • Working on a technical writing contract that was in sovereign territory.
    Interviewing for a technical writing contract at a sewage treatment plant. They have IT groups, too.
  • Documenting my first Web-based application in 1997. It was such a crude Web-based application by today’s standards.
  • Writing an article for CNET about hiring technical writers and got hit with hate mail from some technical writers who called me a traitor to my profession.

While I’ve had some ups and downs in my career as a technical writer, I’m still learning and still at it.

What are some favorite moments from your technical writing career?

Photo by Pablo García Saldaña on Unsplash

Will Kelly

My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical writer and content creator based in Northern Virginia. These days I write a lot about cloud computing and DevOps. My articles have been published by TechTarget, Samsung Business Insights, TechBeacon, CNET TechRepublic, and others. By day, I work in the corporate growth group of a large systems integrator. At night, I do circuit training, then go home and write more. Follow me on Twitter: @willkelly.

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