There’s a lot of talk about Content 4.0 and microcontent, but what can technical communicators do about it?
Intelligent agents and AI-powered cognitive content solutions perform best with machine-ready content—intelligent content designed to be read by humans and processed by computers. To deliver the right answer to prospects and customers who have questions, you’ll need to optimize your content production approaches and begin crafting content with the precision humans appreciate, and machines require. Welcome to Intelligent Microcontent.
Join us to talk about our next steps in future-proofing our content.
For a limited time, STC is providing those who register now with a free monthly subscription to Roundtable. Each month, Roundtable members receive: over $400 worth of fresh, high-quality content; an engaged community; access to top experts in the field and timely, accurate and targeted resources.
An example month may include: a formal webinar led by the monthly curator or a selected expert; tools for implementing the information learned; a live Q&A on the monthly topic with selected experts moderated by the monthly curator; community connections, resources and more. This is a very cool opportunity for professional development, and a high value for STC members: register for free while you can.
SmartDocs is a complete content management system designed for technical writers which allows your team to work in Word while benefiting from centralized, reusable content. They are raffling off a free STC 2019 Technical Communication Summit Registration (a value of around $2000 Canadian dollars, depending on your membership level). How do you enter? Register for and attend a free SmartDocs demonstration webinar this Wednesday, March 6 from 12-1 p.m. A free webinar and a chance to get into the 2019 STC Summit for free? Not too shabby.
We had the pleasure of welcoming Ray Gallon to Toronto this evening and speaking with him about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Information 4.0 and new roles and responsibilities for Technical Communicators. This highly experienced international expert is the president and co-founder of The Transformation Society, a consulting and training company dedicated to understanding and dealing with complexity and digital transformation. Ray has over 20 years’ experience in the technical content industries, including major companies such as IBM, Alcatel, and General Electric Health Care.
Ray is president of The Information 4.0 consortium, a former international board member of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and past president of STC France. He is a frequent speaker on communications topics at conferences and seminars around the world, and currently teaches in the University of Barcelona’s Master of Sound Art programme, and University of Strasbourg’s online Master of Technical Communication and Localization.
Wednesday, November 7th, 2018, Pamela Paterson, BJ, MS, the bestselling author of “Get the Job: Optimize Your Resume for the Online Job Search” and the founder of the Pamela Jean Paterson bursary, gave a compelling webinar at a deeply discounted rate for student and STC members. The webinar was graced with positive engagement, interaction and questions, and all attendees gained valuable, personal advice and insight into Pamela’s unique methodology.
About Pamela Paterson’s Job Market Conquering Methodology
Using business analysis techniques, Pamela analyzed the HR system to create a unique step-by-step methodology for conquering the job market. She has been teaching this methodology to HR professionals and job seekers across Canada and the U.S. for over 15 years. Pamela claims a 90% success rate in helping her clients find jobs through her innovative methods that have been reported in the national media. Pamela is a long-time mentor and supporter of people who strive for positive change in their lives.
Thanks to everyone who attended STC Toronto’s Annual General Meeting!
Reviewed our finances, accomplishments, and challenges from the past year.
Shared our approaches, goals, and priorities for the year ahead.
Shared the results of our salary survey.
These will be distributed to the rest of our chapter members in the future.
Welcomed new community council members.
More details to come; we’ll be featuring our new members at future brunches.
Thanks to Beth Agnew for her keynote presentation! Beth shared her personal journey through tech comm and offered advice to fellow technical communicators, “the Swiss Army knife” of employees. Some of her key takeaways are summarized below.
Advice for Technical Communicators
Align your interests and actions with those you enjoyed as a child.
Be malleable—adapt to the company you work for.
Be confident—you have somewhat of a sense of even the most unfamiliar things (and can learn the rest through research).
When selling yourself, remember that you possess valuable skills and abilities. Never underestimate the value of understanding users. Good user experiences lead to satisfaction, loyalty, and sales. The ability to increase sales is valued by all employers.
On October 10th, we joined Elia Scher of Dundas Business Intelligence to learn about using dashboards as a medium for technical communication.
Information is valuable only when it’s understood, and making it understandable is a role for technical communicators. Dashboards captures the big picture of critical information on one screen, is the online equivalent of a one-page document, and eliminates scrolling.
Elia describe the stages of a dashboard project and the many ways in which we can convey information. Dashboards must use the concept of key performance indicators, use the principles of visual design, and be interactive to provide the maximum amount information in a small area.
Attendees at this event found the information valuable and timely. We look forward to hearing from Elia Scher again!
Professional certification sets a standard for skills, knowledge, and performance across the industry. STC’s Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) program can help you validate your skills and knowledge, differentiate you from others in the hiring process, be a method of advancement, or allow you to command higher pay. The annual training ensures you stay current, learn new skills, network, and stay engaged in the field. Why do employers look for professional certification in their current and potential hires?
Professional certification provides a hiring baseline.
Employers want their hires to stay current and continue to grow in the profession.
Employers can use achievement of professional certification as a requirement for advancement or pay increases.
Certified professionals with proven knowledge and competency contribute more to an organization.
Certified professionals provide evidence that an organization’s technical communication team is more qualified than that of its competitors.
Knowledgeable workers result in better communications.
The CPTC is a rigorous three-tiered certification program, and many successful certificants have taken training from a CPTC Accredited Trainer. The first tier is the Foundation Certification, where you must pass the exam. Once you have passed, you qualify to apply for the second tier (Practitioner Certification) and the third tier (Expert Certification). Here is what you need to know about the exam:
The test is 50 questions, closed book.
Test takers will have 40 minutes to complete the test under a proctor.
STC is working with a U.K.-based firm, APMG International, that specializes in professional certification administration, following ISO 9001 standards.
Upon passing the exam, you will be issued a certificate and entered into the STC certification database. Your name will also appear on the STC and APMG websites.
We had the opportunity to join accredited trainer Beth Agnew on September 30th and October 1st for a CPTC Foundation exam prep class at Seneca College.
Chris Hester and Alan Houser taught the exam prep class online on October 12th and 13th. Exam prep courses focuses on the nine core skills of technical communication, topics in the exam, the exam format, and sample exam questions.
Below are upcoming training courses offered by our accredited trainers. All courses include an opportunity to take the exam at the end of the course.
STC Toronto past presidents Carolyn Watt, Rob Hanna, Bernard Aschwanden, and Anna Parker had an open, insightful conversation about what makes technical communicators successful over the course of their careers.
They focused specifically on seven core habits of highly successful technical communicators, and used the linked slideshow as their starting point.