Student Testimonial: Sara Yacoubian

Sara Yacoubian (Drexel senior, BA/MA Technical and Science Communication) provides some insights on the value of an STC student membership.

  1. How has STC membership benefited you?

My STC membership, two years running now, has continued to keep me in the know about the technical communication job market and developing technologies related to the field. Without STC, it is very difficult to see technical com outside of the scope of academia, despite the fact that I will be graduating soon and will need a job. It is often very difficult for students to meet other technical communicators outside of their professors, and even more challenging to keep up with those outside of their schools or own workplace. I am no exception to this; STC has kept my network of professional contacts alive and well, and it gives a nice preview of what life as a technical writer will be like after college.

  1.       What was your favorite STC meeting?

I thoroughly enjoyed the Mid-Atlantic conference that we hosted in Willow Grove last year. It was very refreshing to see different perspectives of the presenters who came, and being able to choose which seminars I attended kept things interesting. I went to a few that were outside of my area of expertise (and interest), and they proved to be extremely rewarding and informative. There was also plenty of time to mingle with people who do not often attend PMC’s events, which was another unexpected benefit.

  1.       What advice would you give to another student looking into techcomm?

Techcomm is not just instructional documentation; there are many facets to the practice as a whole, and it can be useful for job descriptions besides “technical writer.” Academia makes it sound like that’s all one can do with the degree, but not so. There are plenty of other opportunities to put communication skills to work, and many of them involve freelance work. There is a shortage of effective communicators, especially in tech, so there will always be different types of jobs available, even if one is not strictly a writer. For those who are concerned that techcomm isn’t “social” enough, there are some very team-oriented positions for the taking. Additionally, I have learned that the word “technical” can be more of an umbrella term – it can include science and legal writing as well, both of which are lucrative and interesting in their own ways. It just depends on how one applies their skill set.

  1.       What sort of career are you looking for after you graduate?

Software documentation is my first choice given my familiarity, but I’m also looking into medical writing and industrial documentation for clean energy companies.

Testimonial: Dave Gorga

I am a mid-career operations professional, recently downsized, investigating the field of technical communications as a possible future career path. As an outsider with limited technical writing experience I reached out to the STC Philadelphia Metro Chapter to discover more about what a technical writer may experience in the real world. I initially emailed chapter Secretary Claire Hirai who immediately put me in touch with professionals Donn DeBoard and Barrie Byron. Mr. DeBoard and Ms. Byron selflessly allowed me to conduct informational interviews during casual lunch meetings and phone calls. It was as if I had hired a team of consultants to guide my entry into technical communications.

Both Mr. DeBoard and Ms. Byron gave me exceptional advice, introduced me to additional chapter members, consulted me on my resume and social media presence, and otherwise provided mentorship. Within a few weeks of emailing Secretary Hirai I had learned more about the career, and developed more new contacts in the field, than I could have under almost any other circumstance.

I attended a chapter meeting, where I met more working technical communicators and was warmly welcomed by a generous and friendly chapter membership, who gave exceptional professional advice to a complete stranger who simply asked. I enjoyed a detailed seminar given by the effervescent Barrie Byron, on how to best utilize LinkedIn and other social media to promote your career. This valuable information will serve any professional who wanted to get more out of his or her career.

I heartily recommend the STC Philadelphia Metro Chapter for its exceptionally friendly, professional, and supportive membership. Anyone who wants to network productively with technical communications professionals will find a group of successful men and women more than happy to provide mentorship and consultation.

Dave Gorga, Operations Professional making the change to Technical Communications

Testimonial: Jake Kelly

I consider joining STC to have been a great decision. Participating in our local chapter has great for me, both professionally and personally.

Since I joined, I have participated in three techcomm competitions (and won an award!), attended many informative webinars, several conferences, and friendly social events, enhanced my technical communications skills, and assumed responsibility within the chapter that allows me to develop social media and networking skills. I will not only be able to do more of all of this in the future, but experiment with other opportunities to give back and benefit the chapter that I could not have otherwise.

While all of this has been great, the biggest benefit has been working with such great people. The members are what make the chapter the dynamic and friendly group that it is. Everyone I have worked with has been helpful and generous with sharing their experiences and knowledge.

In most activities, you get back what you put into it. My experiences with STC have more than borne that out.

– Jake Kelly, Senior Member, STC Philadelphia Metro Chapter

Testimonial: Timothy Esposito

I have been active with STC for about 11 years now, and started volunteering from the beginning. Volunteering with the chapter and the society has widened my vision of my career, community, and the world. Not only has my work with STC been rewarding, it has been fun too. I now count several of my associates from around the world as friends as well as colleagues. In addition to increasing my social and professional network, STC has aided my career. I’ve been able to directly apply technology knowledge to my workplace. For example, my manager, who is also a member, was able to successfully use an article in Intercom magazine to implement a customer feedback form into our online help project.

Overall, STC has been a great experience. I highly recommend that anyone in the industry consider attending some of our meetings, and hopefully becoming a member.

– Timothy Esposito, Associate Fellow, STC Philadelphia Metro Chapter President