John Cutler tweeted today—what have surprised us most in our technology work.
I have experienced different types of surprises at different stages in my career so far.
In my first job as a technical writer, I was prepared for the writing part, for the right use of words in the procedures and instructions. In a project review meeting, my documentation manager Seema Ghai circled a few areas that needed a discussion. The most important parts were not the clarity in instructions, or product, or applying the styles. It was an instance where I had left a white space before a colon. “It is a crime, not to have attention to details,” they said.
Later when I worked in Basware, we used Arbortext Editor for technical documentation. They had a mature team in localization and internationalization, and working with a localization team was a new experience for me. The entire string-matching-approval-publishing cycle totally took me by surprise.
But in the later years, I was even more surprised to see the role of regulatory and compliance in technology.
While working for a US healthcare product in 2012, I saw that compliance runs deep into technology and in the entire content life cycle workflow. Likewise for the technical authoring standards in aerospace, and the regulatory guidelines for international transactions in fintech.
This really caught me off-guard as I underestimated the role of domain knowledge in specific industry products.