2017 Career Summary

2017 Career Summary

In 2017, I made a switch to a new job, expanded my scope of learning, and began focusing on increasing my presentation experience.

Tech writers are legit! Forbes says so.

Forbes published Four Careers That Are Growing (Not Shrinking) Because of New Technology and we made the cut!

#4 Technical Writers. Even though technology has changed much of how companies get their services in front of customers, one critical component remains constant: the need to communicate clearly and effectively. This is where writing skills come in. Some even go so far as to say that a company is only as good as its writing. Since 2012, technical writers have grown by 11%, adding over 5,000 new jobs. There are now 55,000 technical writers working in every industry from software to retail to engineering to health care.


Sharing knowledge with my network

I was invited to participate in a panel discussion for SD/PEN: The Nuts and Bolts of Technical Writing

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Officially converted to serial comma fan

I’ve gone back and forth on my preference for using the #Oxfordcomma, but you can’t argue with how important it is for clarity in technical or legal content.

Court settles debate that’s divided grammar nerds for decades

Ah, the Oxford comma. Journalists often fight over it, academics love it and a lot of people don’t care about or even know what it is. But this singular bit of punctuation is actually super important. 

Just ask a couple dairy drivers in Maine who recently won a labor case and overtime pay — all because of the state’s failure to slip in that crucial piece of punctuation into its labor policy guidelines.


Volunteer achievements

I began volunteering with STC San Diego in the middle of 2015. In 2017, we earned two special awards for our 2016 efforts:

  • Platinum Community Award (the highest designation an STC Chapter can receive)
  • Most improved Chapter

Thanks to all the community volunteer leaders, speakers, members, and guests (non-members can attend all our events!) – we achieved something special together.

New job thanks to LinkedIn!

I made the switch to a new job in 2017 and wrote about how I’ve landed my last two new jobs due to my activity on LinkedIn.

Don’t be complacent if you’re in a good spot now. Your network and credibility is something to build over time, not switch on for a quick return after a missed promotion or unexpected layoff.

Went to my first STC Summit

Sara Feldman at STC17 Summit
STC Summit 2017

Webinar: Technical Writers Should Embrace Content Analytics

I presented a webinar about content analytics for the Society of Technical Communication.

Content analytics provides a breadth and depth of insight that can significantly bolster the effectiveness of your content and improve your content strategy.

Leveraging content analytics enables you to:

–Expand your skill set to help you get a job, earn a promotion, or even be kept on-board during layoffs.

–Prioritize your work for content migrations, localization initiatives, or when time is limited.

–Gain insights to improve decision-making, justify resources, or measure content ROI.

I presented an overview of what technical communicators need to know about content analytics, introduced the basic concepts and terminology, and gave actionable recommendations to incorporate content analytics into work processes.

Went to an SEO conference! Whaat?

I’ve been a technical writer & editor for 10+ years and never imagined I’d attend a content marketing conference. After just a couple months into a new role where SEO and Lead Generation became a major part of my responsibilities, I attended MozCon!

I love that my career has focused on technical support content and online self-service because being good at my job helps my company and customers at the same time – fortunately that’s still true with my new focus.

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KCS becomes increasingly relevant

Knowledge Centered Service (KCS), formerly called Knowledge Centered Support, is a methodology to better manage the creation and maintenance of knowledge produced by interactions between employees and customers. KCS focuses your knowledge management strategy and optimizes self-service.

KCS® is a service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation™

In good company on list of Top Content Experience Strategists

I’m pleased to be included on a 2017 list of Top 200 Content Experience Strategists and proud to see so many familiar names from my network included on the list too!

Sara Feldman Content Experience Strategist

Customer Effort Score is a thing

What I’m loving about the latest data around customer effort score is that so much of it is based on a customer’s *perception* of effort – which is actually possible to influence through effective content.

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Direct Customer Engagement is a thing

The importance of customer understanding has never been more obvious than it is today. Companies like Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Tesla, and Google have woven customer understanding into the very fabric of their products. These companies have an advantage over their competitors because they can continuously hone their features and services based on a deep understanding of their clients. This essential business strategy is called direct customer engagement.


Went to my first LavaCon

I learned how to embrace change and the evolution of content functions at LavaCon 2017.

Career success insights

Are you holding yourself back, without even realizing it?

The STC San Diego Chapter that I help organize hosted a presentation by Dan Ziagos  about how his Tech Pub team began creating instructional videos.

My favorite takeaway had nothing to do with videos. A shining theme from the presentation was that the team had never made videos before. So why them? Because they knew they could figure it out! I highlighted my favorite bits in the pictures here. All you need is a desire to learn new skills, then take the steps to make it happen for yourself. What have you tackled so far in your career with this approach? Or, what’s next on your list to add to your skillset and propel your own success?

Design solutions, not features

Design Tech High School, known as d.tech, was founded in 2014 with the aim of steeping students in design thinking, a creative problem-solving strategy popularized by Stanford University’s design school. It teaches students to empathize with people before trying to devise solutions to their problems.


New resources added to my list

Google Material Design: If you haven’t already, definitely check out Material Design by Google. The same way that effective content must be functional and purposeful, good design should help solve problems. Incredible resources here include an icon library, design guidelines, usability recommendations, and more. You don’t need to be a designer to find value here.

Sideways dictionary: The Sideways Dictionary is “is a tool for finding and sharing helpful analogies to explain technological ideas. Because if everyone understands technology better, we can make technology work better for everyone.”

Google site test tool: Always important to ensure you website is optimized for mobile, with some assistance from Google to test your site.

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