Employed in the Data Center of a Major Bank

  • 43 years old, divorced
  • BA in History, AS in Information Technology
  • Has worked in the IT fields for over 20 years
  • Is tired of IT, is considering transitioning into technical writing

“I’m considering moving from IT  into technical writing. What does it entail? What education do I need?”

Linda went to a community college 20 years ago to get a degree (any degree), but couldn’t find work with an BA in History. She then went to DeVry University for an AS in Information Technology.  She has worked in IT since, doing networking administration, database administration, etc.

She had to do writing as part of her IT responsibilities, such as documenting network procedures,  backup procedures, network configurations, etc.  She found that she enjoys the writing part more than the IT part, and wants to know what it takes to find work as a full-time technical writer.

Key Attributes

  • Aptitude for technology
  • Likes to learn new things
  • Likes to write


  • Research field of technical writing

Informational Needs/Goals

Wants to know:

  • What kind of work technical writers do
  • What salary tech writers make
  • How to break into the field
  • What education or certifications she needs to move into TC

Scenario of Use: Linda Etesh

  1. Linda does an Internet search for “careers in technical writing” and find the STC website.
  2. On the site she clicks “Search” and “breaking into technical writing” and clicks the link that takes her to the article in the BOK on hot to break into technical writing.
  3. After reading the article, she sees a heading “For More Information” at the bottom of the page and clicks “About Technical Writing Jobs” to read more.

Linda needs information tailored for newbies-people new to the field or wondering how they can break into TC. She probably also wants the quickest and cheapest path to the knowledge she needs to move into TC, either at her current job or at a new one. Ideal would be information that could help persuade her current employer to help her pay for a certification program or degree.

Although the STC site provides ample information on programs and skillsets needed in TC, it might help Linda to provide a page or collection of links for FAQs for newbies like her (e.g., “For Newbies: What You Need to Know and Do to Become a Technical Communicator” or FAQ: “How do I transition into Technical Communication from my current field?”).

Linda already has technical SME knowledge about IT; it would be handy if she could use an interface that has an entry box for Current Profession (a dropdown list) and creates a custom page that pulls together a bundle of info on certification and degree programs, current job listings, etc. for TCers with IT experience, etc. I know this would require some serious advanced database work, but it sure would be nice. Many of those features exist on the STC site now, e.g., the Career Center. Maybe just some information design changes could provide the same kind of proximity of relevant information and related links from which newbies would benefit.