Techcomm Upskilling Survey: A Finger on the Pulse

Techcomm surveys are a finger on the pulse of the profession. It benefits all of us in the techcomm community to maintain an up-to-date, evidence-based understanding of industry requirements, expectations, and trends. As techcomm professionals, we are particularly interested in accurate and current information about workplace and career-related issues, such as skills development, also known as ‘upskilling’.

Upskilling and Continuing Professional Development

Both formal and informal upskilling are core components of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), which involves developing and tracking the skills, knowledge, and experience that you gain throughout your career.

In an industry where there is insufficient empirical research and evidence, small-scale studies help to improve our knowledge of the professional realities in which we operate. A report on ISTC Survey Trends (available from the members area of the ISTC website), found that between 2011 and 2014, from 62% to 78% of respondents had taken part in a training course in the previous six months. On the other hand, a tools-focused survey conducted by TWi in 2015, found that a high proportion of technical communicators do not hold formal techcomm qualifications relating to their profession.

To dig deeper, the ISTC and TWi came together and designed a short online survey, focused specifically on upskilling and CPD for technical communicators. We’d like to know more about the motivators and blockers that impact on your engagement in CPD. Furthermore, we’re interested in the methods you use to maintain, advance, and expand your skills and knowledge. We anticipate that the findings will improve our understanding of the aims and priorities that drive technical communicators’ engagement in CPD.

Upskilling

Upskilling involves growing your expertise through formal and informal means. Photo by Aleks Dorohovich (unsplash.com/@aleksdorohovich).

Background

We originally opened the survey last September in coordination with TCUK16, tying in with the conference theme ‘From Novice to Expert – Writing Your Career Path as a Technical Communicator’. Now, we’d like to give another opportunity to those who may have missed it at the time. Wider participation makes for more interesting the results, allowing us to compare findings from a broader cross-section of techcomm professionals.

The ISTC is committed to promoting and supporting CPD. Membership of the organisation can boost your CPD by enabling you to:

  • Access quality industry publications and resources
  • Keep up-to-date with trends and technologies
  • Connect with the techcomm industry
  • Reduce isolation in your everyday work
  • Gain advice on projects from peers
  • Share your skills and experience
  • Achieve recognition amongst your colleagues and peers
  • Seek career opportunities
  • Save money through access to discounted events and training

At TWi, we are strongly invested in techcomm education and training, and have been closely involved in an innovative industry-academic collaboration over the last three years.

Have Your Say

The Technical Communicator Upskilling Survey only takes about five minutes to complete. If you haven’t yet done so, we welcome you to take part, no matter what stage you are at in your career. We look forward to sharing the results of the survey in a future post.

Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and updated in March 2017.

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One Response to Techcomm Upskilling Survey: A Finger on the Pulse

  1. Dennis J. O'Boyle April 24, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

    There is always a different or completely new type of software, application, or methodology to master before most technical writers in the consulting / contracting realm are able to qualify for an assignment.

    ArborText, DITA, and other du-jour flavors constantly arise.

    In general, most tech writers are competent with the categories, such as desktop publishing, spreadsheets, word processing and more — yet the challenge remains to be experienced and qualified with far too many options.

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