Susan Alexander-Brief Profile

Somehow this request for my profile in INDUS on a Monday evening was different from other more professional profiles where you try to put together all the things you feel are most noteworthy about yourself.

I have been in the technical writing (now technical communication) profession since 1987.  My first job outside the academic realm was with Sonata Software. I had applied for a position in the marketing field but they needed manuals to be able to market their software products. That was how I got my feet wet in the technical writing arena and now have been in the field for 25 years!!

After stints at TCS where I learned the nitty gritties of technical and financial proposals and writing User’s Guides, TI where I learned about in-house style guides and project audits, and Exeter Systems India Pvt. Ltd where I had the opportunity to interview and hire most of the team—I thought it was now time to start my own business. [Yes, I know this sentence beats all records for being too long].

I’ve been running Write Concept since December 2000. It’s been a challenge but the advantages are that we’ve done some really interesting projects and the team has enjoyed working with clients in different industry verticals. Every client has challenged us to think differently and attempt work that we never knew we could tackle. I have been fortunate to create and work with a team of talented individuals who have managed to meet deadlines despite lack of timely inputs, last-minute UI changes and so on. Write Concept has also had a chance to provide technical writing training to individuals and technical writing teams in software companies. We’ve also conducted workshops at the university level.

During my career I have been actively involved with STC India Chapter activities, and was President of the chapter in 2004. I continue to volunteer with the chapter as a competitions judge, scholarship manager, and to evaluate conference paper proposals.

Being a member of STC did draw out many skills I had not paid much attention to—like organizing events, co-ordinating activities across different states in India, and communicating with the parent STC office bearers.

People often ask me about the future of technical communication and I always say that there will always be the need to communicate technical information for a variety of audiences. We may just have to use different tools and approach the tasks in novel ways. Writing for mobile devices and creating documents in the epub format are likely to be the next areas of focus for many technical communicators.

Some of the papers and articles I’ve written are in the table.

Papers and articles written
1998: For 1st conference of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) Transalpine Chapter held in Slovenia. Theme: Where East Meets West: Technical Communication and Usability Sent in paper titled “A Profile of Business Trends and Technical Communication in India over a Decade”
1999: IEEE Professional Communication Society conference held in New Orleans. Presented paper titled: Communicator Skills in a Changing World
2001: STC India Conference, Bangalore. Presented paper titled: The Legal Angle: What Technical Communicators need to Know about the Law
Indus (Newsletter of STC India) May 2001. Article: Domain Knowledge: The Need and the Challenge
Indus (Newsletter of STC India) July 2002. Article: Looking Back, Looking Forward (A Summary of Learning Activities in 2002)
2003: Society for Technical Communication International Conference, at Dallas Texas. Presented Paper titled: Control Your Destiny and also moderated a session.
2007: Spoke on panel that reviewed different growth paths for technical communicators at the Regional Employment Fair held at Taj Gateway. Aspect discussed: How Technical Communicators can go on to run their own businesses.
2009: Presented a session at the One-Day Career event held at NetApp in Embassy Golf Links. Title: So, You want to be a Technical Communicator?
2009: Presented paper at the India Chapter STC Conference. Title: Finding the Right Employee—Every Manager’s Dream.
2011: Presented paper at the India Chapter STC Conference in Chennai. Title: The UX of User’s Guides and User Information

Susan Alexander, Owner – Write Concept and Veteran STC India member

You can contact Susan at email: susana@write-concept.com

Cell: +91 9845197130


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