Vancouver Community College (VCC) instructor Tamara Bailey talks about the fascinating and ever-changing profession of business and technical writing.
How long have you been teaching?
I have been an instructor on and off with the business and technical writing certificate program since 2006! I teach Technical Communication (TECW 1101) and Editing (TECW 1103).
What do you love about teaching?
Teaching is an opportunity for me to revisit and reevaluate the foundations of my profession. It’s also rewarding to see students get excited about how they can use what they’ve learned.
How did you learn the trade?
I’m always learning! I got my start through the Douglas College print futures program many years ago. Over time, I’ve honed my expertise on the job through trial and error, from observing skilled communicators, and a variety of both formal and informal learning opportunities.
The thing about a career in technical communication is that you are always learning new things: whether it’s about the subject you are writing about, your users and their needs, or the technologies that you use to craft and deliver your materials, which is always changing.
What's an interesting thing about your journey?
I’ve worked in the telecom, semiconductor, aerospace, and healthcare industries, and have produced many different types of materials for many different types of users. All these experiences have made for really interesting work, with lots of opportunities to learn and to grow, and lots of great folks to collaborate with along the way.
How do you personally define success?
In the context of my profession, when users have the right content at the right time.
What is your best piece advice for someone starting out in this industry?
Focus on understanding how to write for users. Being able to demonstrate that you can produce user-centred content, whether it is for a policy and procedure document, a knowledge base article or user guide, it is at the core of what you need to know. Technologies, tools, and even methodologies will change over time.
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