S&TC Alumna: Rose Hruska
Technical Writer/User Documentation Specialist
B.S. in S&TC, 2013
What is your current position?
I am a Technical Writer/User Documentation Specialist at a Minneapolis-based healthcare educational software company called Advanced Informatics. Our company produces E*Value, a customizable software that assists healthcare educators in managing student data and administrative processes. My main duty is to create and update documentation about E*Value functionality for the software's online help manual. Since the tools within the software are always changing, I am constantly editing existing documentation and creating instructions for the use of new tools. Another duty I am tasked with is adding documents that assist my co-workers in communicating with clients to the company Wiki. I also post updates about new tools and features on the client-facing administrator homepage in E*Value and my co-workers often ask me to proofread and edit their documents.
How does your position relate to technical communication?
My position relates directly to technical communication because it requires me to present technical information in a language and format that is concise but easily understandable.
What aspects of your study in technical communication have been most relevant to your current work?
Learning the process of editing my own and others' writing during my undergraduate career definitely helped prepare me for the job I have now. After I draft a document, I consult subject matter experts within the company and ask them to check the text's accuracy. Often, I need to revise the documentation to reflect obscure variables that can be produced within the software. Being able to revise my work to make it as accurate as possible is crucial for creating documentation that is useful for clients. Another aspect of my study in technical communication that has been extremely relevant to my current work is being able to analyze the needs of my audience.
What did you learn about technical communication that surprised you most in the workplace?
The most surprising component of technical communication in the workplace is how much I must communicate with other employees in order to complete projects. Although technical writing seems like a fairly independent line of work, I often need to consult coworkers from multiple departments to gather all of the information needed to write technical documentation. I was also surprised by the importance of well-written emails in the workplace. Emails that are poorly written and unclear can waste the time of all parties involved if they have to ask for clarification.
What message do you have for our current students?
Work on creating a clean, detailed resume. Your resume should show employers not only why they'd want to hire you, but also why they'd want to work with you. Internships can be crucial; relevant experience is attractive to potential employers, and internships give you an idea of what your career after college might involve. Also, start applying for jobs a few months before graduation. Even if you don't get a job offer right away, potential employers may keep your resume on file in case a position you're qualified for becomes available.