During a networking session at the 9th International Conference on Technical Communication: Evolutions of the Discipline, we asked attendees to discuss how technical communication careers will evolve. This is what they said.
Dissolution: a core competency for many different careers
Product Manager, Consulting (e.g. tooling), support positions, UX positions, Education, Management and Leadership
Technical writing becomes a core competency
Tech Writing is design and the positions are absorbed by design groups
The careers may become even more multifaceted, involving UX, customer-support.
Or technical communication may become an extra skill for engineers, in a cost-cutting, systemic crisis context.
Testing (product, data…?)
Consolidation: acknowlegement as a competitive advantage
More direct-to-consumer communication (back and forth commenting/updating)
Better acknowledgment of the profession among other teams
It will be more about the way we interact with the user, the techniques we’re using to help the end-users assimilate content just-in-times support.
Tech wirting is a competitive advantage
More collaboration with other disciplines like marketing and development
More collaboration and integration
Technical writing will become more present in all companies, mostly because data is increasingly easy to handle and also because people are specializing a lot, so I don’t think an engineer could craft a better job than a technical writer (but that’s just my point of view).
Apocalypse: the bots take over
Writing for bots
Worst case scenario : a software is designed to enable technical data extraction. Engineers and technicians are trained to use it. Technical communicators disappear per se, superseded by low-cost technical communication made by outsiders: it follows the same fate as translation.
Technical communication apocalypse
We still need to train the robots
We’ll be writing the human conversations and figuring out tools that we’ll need to write for machine learning applications and automation
Extension: fact-checking for a society in need of information literacy
Pam and Alexandre brought up something really interesting on how TW could help providing information to people who are less at ease with traditional media
Checking the validity of data as a profession
Specialization: domain-specific branches
Supervising of Distributed contributors around the world (increase)
Continuing need for domain-specific writing skills – for developers, for healthcare etc