A graduate in Physics, she has been in the IT industry for the past 27 years. She has won many awards (local and international) for her Presentations as well as Work. Her passion for Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Learning has made her an active participant in the STC India learning sessions conducted in Chennai. Her interests include Graphology, Painting, Reading (both fiction and non-fiction), Art & Crafts, Astrology, Astronomy, Cooking, Mythology and Social Causes.
Q1: How did you get yourself into Technical Writing? How has your journey been so far?
I grew up in an environment that was conducive to learning and qwench the curiosity of an young mind; was exposed to computers at a very early age. This fascination with computer technology had me joining a Diploma course in Software Languages. I was fortunate to join the training industry to teach Software Languages in the late 80’s and early 90’s. One of the tasks , that was part of this industry, was to prepare course material for the general public, school students, corporate training programmes (some of my clients were Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) (formerly MRL), Southern Railways, a few banks, etc). My first step into Technical Writing was to decipher a code written in ‘C’ Language and produce a User Manual, it was challenging but very interesting.
There are two main reasons for shifting to this profession; first, changing technology in the decade of the 90’s was rapid, keeping abreast of the changing times and balancing the family act was becoming tough, second, Technical Writing was unheard of at that time (the career growth was very steep), the passion for Writing, Technology, and gaining knowledge in various domains or verticals was motivation enough to take up this profession.
In the recent past, I have been managing Knowledge Services Teams which comprise of members from different aspects of User Experience Engineering. This includes Writers, Instructional Designers, Technical Illustrators, User Design & Usability Experts, Patent Writers, and Trainers.
Q2: You have been a well known face at STC India, when and how did you get into this circle?
I attended the 2nd Annual STC India Conference in Pune for the first time in the year 2000.
A few years later, I had promised a friend of mine that I would share the knowledge that I had gained over the years and hence decided to submit a Paper Proposal in the year 2004. The presentation and the paper went on to receive the “Best Speaker” award for me and it gave me the confidence to keep going and commit to the promise. So, I started presenting when the opportunity arose and it has been great sharing the knowledge. These opportunities have brought the visibility.
Q3: As an active member in both regional and national level , in what activities of STC India have you been involved in? Please share your experiences.
I have been an active volunteer for STC India, if people need my expertise and help, they approach me. If I am confident that I can complete the task then I commit to the task. I was the Chennai City Representative for the year 2006, 2007; the main task was to facilitate learning sessions in the city every month. I was on the selection committee to shortlist the paper proposals for the annual conference held last year. For me, it has been about contributing to the community that has given me so much and volunteering is one aspect of that contribution.
Q4: What do you think are the future trends in Technical Writing? Do you think Technical Writers in the Indian Subcontinent are geared towards these changes?
A few concepts will always remain the same, the core activities of the Technical Communication, nevertheless each year or two a few will trend. This year and the next I can see the following trending:
- Responsive Design of content (objective)
- API documentation
- Adaptive content (subjective)
- Generalised Specialist instead of specialist in one area
- Integrated knowledge services and delivery (the way we work in the changing enviroment-e.g.cloud-based technology)
- Certification in standards (e.g. S1000D for the Aerospace industry, HIPAA for the health industry etc)
The Writers in India have adapted very well to changes (concepts, tools, technology) and a few of them are already geared for these changes. The rest will adapt if their companies adopt these strategies or plans.
Q5: What is your message to ‘newbies’ looking into choosing Technical Writing as their Career?
Technical writing is a very rewarding profession but it requires passion, the right attitude, interest in technology, discipline, and an inclination to commit to continuous learning. Increasing expectations from the Technical Writers, changing technologies, quality output, domain knowledge will be the requirements as they see a career growth. As I have said earlier and emphasized enough, it depends upon the individual’s interest to gain knowledge through continuous learning with a good training plan in place; this will help in keeping abreast with the changing times. The training plan should adhere to the SMART goal concept to implement it effectively; each milestone should motivate the learner to further enhance their skill set. Welcome and all the best!
Q6: What are your concluding thoughts?
Thank you for providing me the opportunity to express myself. I am passionate about technical communication and training- two aspects which have sustained me in the IT industry for so many years, hope to contribute a lot more in the future.
On behalf of STC India, the Indus Team would like to thank Kiranmayee for sharing her experience, thoughts and ideas.