Moving to a New Career in Technical Documentation - Part 2

Published: 2024-05-28 Updated: 2024-05-28

Our article on switching to a career in technical writing has garnered a great deal of interest. It is apparent that many people are concerned with how to gain a foothold in this interesting occupational field with a promising future. One point that has been mentioned time and time again is that regarding access routes and qualifications that make someone a good candidate for technical writing.

Get started easily

In many cases, the switch to a career in technical writing is relatively unregulated. A company advertises a technical writing position and it becomes apparent that your own profile fits in well with some aspects of the job: typical areas of overlap are writing experience, translation knowledge, or experience in creating seminar materials.

The career changer then acquires additional knowledge during their day-to-day work. The new team member is often productively involved in work processes after just a few days and gains increasing experience in their newly chosen career. Training opportunities and industry events also play their part in overcoming the new challenges.

Develop systematically

However, many career changers recognize that this approach has some disadvantages. Training on the job primarily qualifies them for their current, specific role, which can become a problem in large businesses in particular. In the worst-case scenario, they only learn to master a few selected tasks from the broad field of technical documentation, which is not a good basis if a job change is ever required. For this reason, even after a successful career change, it pays to take advantage of more formal qualification routes to gain a comprehensive overview of technical writing.

However, completing a bachelor's or master's degree in technical writing is not an option for many. There are numerous reasons for this: some do not possess the formal entry requirements to undertake a degree course, for others a degree course does not fit into their current phase of life, for example if they have to take care of small children alongside working, or study cannot be combined with the requirements of the new job.

The tekom Professional and tekom Expert Level qualifications are available within the German Qualification Framework (DQR) for such cases. They are ideal for people who want to continue their education either part-time or as part of fixed-term employment.

Part-time or full-time

The tekom certificate is available as a part-time and full-time further training course. The fact that the full-time courses are usually subsidized by public funding organizations may also appeal to career changers. The part-time courses are in turn appealing to those technical writers who have already found a job and now wish to create a systematic basis for their professional activity.

The tekom traineeship, on the other hand, is similar to a traditional apprenticeship in many respects. The traineeship has a time limit and consists of part-time work in a company and parallel in-service training. Webinars and e-learning units are also used, eliminating the need for time-consuming trips to a training center.

All the qualifications described lead either to tekom Expert or tekom Professional Level certification. Thanks to the mixture of webinars and e-learning components, they offer both self-study units and opportunities for group learning. Direct contact with a learning coach reinforces learning success and ensures continuous feedback.

Overall, there are a wide range of training opportunities within the tekom competence framework. For career changers, this means that important qualifications and skills can also be systematically acquired while working— the path from career changer to professional need not be a long one.

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