Technical Writing ToolBox

A Blog on Technical Writing

Adaptability and Flexibility for Technical Writers

A stretching lion at Ouwehands Dierenpark.

Adaptability and Flexibility skills are now becoming a necessity, and not just a desired quality, to get hired as a technical writer.

Employers want to hire highly adaptable and flexible technical writers who can learn latest technologies, new documentation tools, and can find their way in the maze of social media.

It was Charles Darwin who once said, “In the struggle for survival, the fittest wins out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.”

Adaptation is indeed the prime factor contributing its share to a successful technical writing industry. In the golden age of globalization, one cannot stick to a particular standard, language, or technology by personal choice. One has to be versatile enough to adapt to any new technology or guidelines for the sole purpose of producing meaningful content to the users of a particular region.

Fewer jobs, that too in the form of low paying contracts, has given birth to strong competition in the technical writing industry. The day is not very far when technical writers working in any industry will find it very difficult to survive without the essential skills of adaptability and flexibility.

We all understand the importance of being flexible and often create different ways of doing so in our gated world.  The question is how can we ensure that we are always adaptive and flexible in this ever changing landscape?

Dear Readers, how do you stay adaptive and flexible in the constantly changing world of technical writing? Leave a comment and let me know.

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5 responses to “Adaptability and Flexibility for Technical Writers

  1. Suganthi December 18, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Constant learning and open mindedness – to allow oneself to learn and utilize the new technology/ terminology/techniques and adapt it on daily basis. Patience pays more than anything else.

  2. Noa Dror December 27, 2012 at 11:11 am

    You make a very good point, Gurpreet. I am of the opinion, however, that it is possible to stay in a specific, carefully chosen field of expertise. Specifically, fields that have been around for several years now probably aren’t going anywhere and are a safe bet (Oracle products). Likewise products based on generic technologies (eg.: Access-based products). And once you have mastered the basics of those technologies, one can only add to one’s skill set by acquainting oneself with additional applications or products in that sphere of reference.

    That said, it is always important to keep a finger on the pulse of progress – I make sure to stay updated on technology news, which includes both the business aspect (who bought which cloud app, who was appointed CEO of which leading SaaS, etc.) and the purely technological one. If there is a boost in popularity of cloud-based services, for instance, I want to follow it closely and consider allocating some of my learning energy to cloud-based technologies.

    What do you do to stay flexible and adaptive?

    • Gurpreet Singh December 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Noa. Interesting thoughts! I do agree that while being a generalist pays off in lean periods, experts are always in demand. I occasionally take freelance writing assignment for domains I want to know about. The money, of-course, is minimal for such assignments but it is surely an additional incentive which fuels my research.

  3. Ashish February 20, 2013 at 1:45 am

    Hi Gurpreet, I read your article after so many days. Was busy in adapting to newer version of our company product. As we talk of adaptability and flexibility why don’t we discuss about latest software tools used by technical writiers and influence of those tools on technical writing job.

    I guess I was first one to click like button so no more comments on quality of article.
    Keep posting. take care.
    Ashish

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