Explore Non-Traditional Career Paths - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  1. Explore Non-Traditional Career Paths Ways you can direct your career development Karen L. BachmannThe Technical Resource Connection, Inc. Rob HouserUser First Services, Inc.

  2. Core Communication Skills • Gathering information about users • Researching information • Distilling research to only the required information • Organizing information • Conveying information, regardless of media or type of communication

  3. Finding New Areas • Areas where information is communicated to users • Places where users ask for more information • Products with which users interact • New developments in the industry related to communication

  4. Some Areas to Consider • Technical Marketing • Interface Design • Training • Functional Testing

  5. Technical Marketing • Information products that help sell the product • Informing decision makers • Getting customers excited about the product • Providing scenarios of use • Usually done by sales and marketing in large companies, but in small companies everybody helps sell the product

  6. Technical Marketing • Organizing information around customer questions and concerns • Persuading customers that your product meets their needs and is of high quality • Designing eye-catching graphics and layouts • Conducting demonstrations and making presentations at trade shows

  7. Technical Marketing • Technical fact sheets that highlight features of the product • Demos of product functionality • Brochures, flyers, and postcards that announce product events • Web sites that hype the company and the product • Trade show booths and promotional items

  8. Interface Design • The art and science of creating effective, intuitive communication between the software and the intended users

  9. Interface Design • Develop a user profile and task analysis • Learn about the domain the users work in • Identify and emphasize essential tasks • Map the flow of each screen and between screens to reflect the actual tasks • Identifying the most informative terminology, graphics, and relationships between screen elements

  10. Interface Design • The interface • User analysis • Task analysis • Design requirements (in conjunction with functional and system requirements) • Interface style guide • Usability validation plan and scenarios

  11. Training • Presenting information to users so they can learn to use the product effectively • Sometimes takes place as the users are doing the job; sometimes in classroom • Usually involves learning objectives, review, practice, and evaluation • Often conducted by a separate group of people with different skill

  12. Training • Conducting a needs analysis and task analysis • Researching, organizing, and conveying relevant information • Illustrating processes, workflow, and concepts • Delivering oral presentations

  13. Training • Materials for classroom training • Classroom training delivery • Print and online tutorials • Computer-based training • Web-based training • Performance coaching (agents)

  14. Functional Testing • Evaluating whether the final product performs all expected tasks completely

  15. Functional Testing • Have a solid understanding of users so you can identify potential problem areas • Know what the purpose of the product is and what needs it must meet • Use the product in all of the ways it is intended to be used following a real-world scenario • Capture detailed information about where the product fails to meet the requirements

  16. Functional Testing • Trouble reports in a database or configuration management tool • An effective final product

  17. Benefits of New Roles • Increasing your value (and your job security) to the company • Demonstrating the importance of technical communication to your company • Increasing your salary • Advancing your professional development

  18. Risks • Increased workload • Reduced quality of current deliverables • Additional training • Skeptical co-workers and employers • Outside your job description

  19. Strategies • Do your homework; prepare for the role • What skills the new role entails • What the role produces • How you qualify and what you need • Identify a current need • Find an advocate • Find a mentor

  20. Strategies • Inform your boss about what you’re doing • Include your new tasks into your annual performance objectives • Document what you’re doing – successes and failures • Be patient but persistent

  21. Questions

  22. Rob: rob@userfirst.net Karen:karenb@trcinc.com Thanks!