IT Career JumpStart

Jan 28 2011   3:02PM GMT

Keep working those “soft skills,” especially writing

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

Yesterday I wrote an article for the website. When it appears there — and if it keeps the same title it had when I submitted same — it will be entitled “Soft Skills in Writing Can Boost Any Software Developer’s Career Profile.” Because SmartBear builds developer tools such as TestComplete, CodeCollaborator, QAComplete, DevComplete, and so forth, I aimed this story at developers in particular, so as to suit the company’s target audience. But the story could just as easily have been called “Soft Skills in Writing Can Boost Any IT Career Profile,” without losing any of its juice (though I would probably have to tweak my language and change the examples throughout to make it completely general).

SmartBear Software offers developer learning as well as tools

SmartBear Software offers developer learning as well as tools

Nevertheless the key points from that story are worth repeating here, in describing how IT professionals can develop and hone their writing skills:

  • Take a course: lots of options here online, on DVD, and in the classroom. Check ’em out, and especially look into what your friendly neighborhood (and usually quite affordable) local community college has to offer in this vein.
  • Read a book: lots of good books are available on technical writing, or writing for engineers and IT pros. Find one; read it; practice what it preaches.
  • Do some writing: you can’t learn how, or get better, unless you put yourself on the line and actually do some writing work. Volunteering online is a great way to start.
  • Practice makes perfect: If you want to write, you must write as much as you can. The more you write, the more comfortable you will become with this onerous-seeming, but ultimately beneficial and essential type of communication.
  • Get some feedback: Practice alone is not enough to become a good writer. You must find somebody better than you to look over your work, and help you figure out how to improve. It’s a lifetime adventure, in fact, because no matter how well you write, you can always do better. Feedback is the key!

When this article goes live, I’ll provide a link to same. It’s full of more details, additional tips and tricks, and good information on this topic. Stay tuned!

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