I found this “wiki technical writer” job description the other day and thought about the ideas in my book. Yippee! Companies are starting to demand the skills and strategies outlined in my book.
Here’s the job description, pasted from the STC Silicon Valley website.
Description:Oak Hill Corporation is currently looking for a Technical Writer with administrative-level experience using Confluence (or another major Wiki tool) to migrate and develop product documentation for one of our clients. The migration task requires some information architecture. This is an on-site full time position. The contract will be about 6 months and could result in a permanent position with the company.
* Bachelors degree in Computer Science or related field
* Thorough understanding of the business usage of wiki technologies (2+ years)
* Administrative knowledge of and experience with Wiki engines, preferably with Confluence or MediaWiki (2+ years)
* Experience documenting technical customer and developer materials
* Portfolio of work showing experience
* Ability to design, implement, and maintain wiki namespaces and pages
* Ability to migrate legacy documents to wiki
* Ability to architect scalable wiki namespaces and page linking layouts
* Ability to create wiki templates
* Ability to fully utilize tagging and labeling wiki functionalities
* Excellent writing and communication skills
* Understanding of software development life cycle
Upon closer inspection I realized it is a six-month contract position, that may lead to a permanent position. One interpretation of the fact that it’s a contract position is that the company housing the Confluence wiki really only needs to use the wiki as a web CMS, not as a community site. That’s a valid use of the tool as it offers more interactive, shareable content than most help authoring tool outputs. Check out this case study on the Atlassian site for more information on using Confluence for user assistance.
Another interpretation is that the company hasn’t found anyone with this unique skillset and is hoping the Oak Hill Corporation’s reach will help them find that unique person. In a contract position, the technical writer will have to work hard in six months to establish themselves as a member of the community, as long as their online identity would be permanent enough to allow them to earn attribution on the content. Perhaps a writer who embraces the community would earn the permanent position, though.
I hope to see more job descriptions like this one. I know I see more and more demand for these skills and for user assistance on the web that blends well with the rest of the web content out there, is shareable, findable, and ultimately solves users problems.
What are you seeing? Is there demand for this type of content with these types of tools and skill sets? Are technical writers the ones filling the demand?