We need you, Google technical writer tells students

News News & events

06 May 2013

“The world needs way more tech writers,” according to a technical writing expert who visited CPIT recently.

Students in the Graduate Diploma of Information Design (GDID) heard this message loud and clear when Dave Holmes, a technical writer for Google Australia, gave a talk about his work and the booming technical writing industry.

Dave gave CPIT’s programme some high praise during his presentation. “I was told, when you want a good technical writer, you go to New Zealand. All the good tech writers are there. People know of your school, they know it’s a good programme. I’m happy you’re here. I hope you feel good about your programme.”

The reputation of the GDID motivated Dave to contact programme leader Cindy Staudt and offer to speak with students during his visit to Christchurch.

Dave’s career started with content writing for Microsoft and has since taken him around the world – to Canada, France, the US and now Australia. He made it clear that the field is not one that students are likely to stagnate in. It’s a career marked by constant and dynamic changes, new methods, new technology and new opportunities.

“The industry moves very quickly, and people’s demands change very quickly, and you need to stay on top of it,” he said.

Dave Holmes

Google Australia's Technical writer talks to students in the Graduate Diploma of Information Design about the universal demand for tech writers.

Dave also highlighted soft skills technical writers need to be successful, such as curiosity, empathy and charisma, which combined with fierce writing skills, good research ability and excellent personal communication skills can lead to a rewarding job trajectory.

And Dave cautioned students to avoid letting people dismiss their work as mere editing of others’ words: “Your work is critical to companies. We need people to be able to write content so others can use our products.”

The presentation was also a unique opportunity for GDID students to get together. As the GDID is taught fully online, students rarely meet face-to-face. Dave’s talk proved to be a great way to bring together staff, students and recent graduates.

Dave confirmed to his audience what those involved in the GDID programme have known all along. “Technical writing is a great place if you want to look at new things, learn new stuff, help people in the world, educate, spread knowledge, have a public voice and get known.”

Or to put it more simply, Dave noted, “Tech writing is awesome.”