2018 Chapter Communications

2018 Chapter Elections

2017 STC Phoenix Chapter Elections

 

It's time to elect officers who will lead the chapter in 2018! Since all of the candidates are running unopposed, please respond "yes" or "no" to this email to register your vote.

 

President: Alan Vickers

 

Lead Technical Writer at TriZetto Corporation

Vice President: Angela Harleaux

 

Associate at Schwab Compliance Solutions

 

 

 

February 2018 Newsletter

February Brings Us Not One But TWO Social Events!

 

East Valley Happy Hour at BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse

New president Alan Vickers hosts our February Meetup.

Join us for happy hour at this popular Chandler Mall brewery!

Thursday, February 15  4:00 PM

3155 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ (map)

RSVP

 

 

Meet and Greet Picnic

Food and fun! The STC Phoenix Chapter officers (Angela, Erika, and Alan) are hosting the event from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Saturday, February 24  9:00 AM

Chuparosa Park, 2400 S Dobson, Chandler, AZ (map)

RSVP

 

New Members

 

Please welcome new member Skye Croke.

 

Upcoming Webinars

 

API Documentation 101

When: April - September 2018

Where: Online (Zoom Meetings)

Presenter: Alan Vickers

 

The Phoenix Chapter STC is hosting a series of application programming interface (API) documentation webinars for technical communicators and students who want to learn more about documenting APIs. The course will focus primarily on Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs.

 

Visit the API Documentation 101 Wesite for details:

https://www.stc-phoenix.com/api-documentation-101

 

February Interview

New Phoenix STC President Alan Vickers

 

Alan works at Cognizant.

 

Q:  What was your background and how did you first get into the field of technical communications?

 

A:  I was a Hostess Cake sales representative and supervisor until the year 2000, when I went back to school to become a teacher. One thing led to another, and I ended up in the Multimedia Writing and Technical Communication program at ASU East (that’s what it was called back then). I was one of the first five graduates of the program in 2003. I also earned a concurrent degree in Business Administration.

 

Dr. Barry Maid taught two or three of my classes, and we only had one online class at the time. I was one of the founders of the STC ASU Student Chapter, which only lasted a year or two. We simply did not have the momentum and the student base to keep it going.

 

After graduation, I started as a tech writer in the aerospace industry, moved on to telecommunication, and am now in the healthcare industry.

 

Q:  At Cognizant, what tools do you use?

 

A:  When I started (the company was called TriZetto then), we used FrameMaker and RoboHelp for our documentation deliverables. A few years ago, we imported all our documentation into Confluence wiki spaces, which is now where we develop and maintain all of our external-facing product.

 

We also use Camtasia Studio to create and edit product overview and procedure videos. We create videos that are similar to YouTube videos: short, informative, and usually imperfect. We have found that our customers love our videos, even if they aren’t professionally recorded.

 

We use Snagit for creating and manipulating images.

 

Q:  What is the process there?

 

A:  We follow the Agile method for developing and delivering software and documentation. It can be challenging at times, but we have found that it helps to ensure that the documentation is included in the product “definition of done.” Most writers are assigned to more than one Agile team.

 

We work with several teams in India, which is culturally enlightening but presents communication challenges due to the time zone difference. They are usually heading home when we are arriving to work and vice versa. Late night and early morning meetings are common. For example, a few months ago, I had a meeting that started at 3:00 AM. Whatever it takes.

 

Q:  How do you see the local STC chapter currently and what would you like to accomplish during your time as president?

 

A:  When I joined STC in 2002, not only did I think it was something I needed to do to establish myself in the Phoenix tech comm community, but I was proud to be part of a professional organization that represented what I had worked so hard to achieve. I remember the thrill of hearing professionals talking about subjects that I was learning about at ASU when I attended the chapter meetings.

 

The metropolitan Phoenix area has a multitude of technical communicators, managers, and students who develop and deliver ideas, deliverables, and the future of our profession. The STC Phoenix Chapter represents a very small percentage of those people, but I think the technical community and the chapter would benefit from a diverse and strong member base.

 

Our chapter should serve to grow our educational opportunities, develop our networking opportunities, and build a strong community that benefits all of us. Seeing STC Phoenix Chapter on a resume still means something to hiring managers, and we should all strive to maintain that level of credibility.

 

I am looking forward to the opportunity of serving as chapter president, and I hope to help our members and our chapter achieve wonderful things in the exciting world of technical communication.

 

 

 

March 2018 Newsletter

appy Hour at Scottsdale Beer Company

Join us for happy hour at this popular Scottsdale brewery!

Thursday, March 15  4:00 PM

8608 E Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ (map)

RSVP

 

New Members

 

Please welcome new members John Francis and Patricia Rose Kindred.

 

Upcoming Webinars

 

API Documentation 101

When: April - September 2018

Where: Online (Zoom Meetings)

Presenter: Alan Vickers

 

The Phoenix Chapter STC is hosting a series of application programming interface (API) documentation webinars for technical communicators and students who want to learn more about documenting APIs. The course will focus primarily on Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs.

 

Visit the API Documentation 101 Website for details:

https://www.stc-phoenix.com/api-documentation-101

 

April Workshop

STC Phoenix Chapter Workshop: Using Wikis for Product Documentation

When: Saturday, April 14  10 AM to 12 PM

Where: Northern Arizona University–East Valley Campus

145 North Centennial Way Room 421

Presenter: John Hewitt, Cognizant

 Parking Details

 

March Interview:

Former Phoenix Chapter Leader Miachelle DePiano

 

Michelle works at GlobalMed, originally as a Senior Technical Writer and now as a Continuous Improvement Analyst (and m anufacturing technical writer).

 

Q:  How did you first get into the field of technical writing?

 

A: I was an intelligence analyst in the Army and for the Federal government; the last half of my career focused on military technologies. I had to write threat assessments for new technologies going through the DoD acquisition process, which involved talking to program managers, scientists, and engineers to find out how a technology worked, and what was the crucial part of the technology that had to be protected from domestic and foreign collection efforts.

 

When I moved to Arizona, and entered ASU to finish my degree, technical writing seemed like a natural fit to complement my background. Upon graduation in 2008, I was hired at Intel and spent almost five years there working on semiconductor architecture specifications.

 

Q:  What was the technical writing environment like at that time?

 

A:  Whereas ten years ago, companies would hire full time technical writers, more and more those skills are being outsourced.

 

When I officially entered the Phoenix technical writing community, the economy was just collapsing, and I saw many colleagues laid off from permanent positions with some of the biggest corporations in the Phoenix metro area.

 

Q:  What tools did you use?

 

A:  At Intel we used FrameMaker. At the time I transitioned to Shutterfly from Intel, Intel was just incorporating DITA into the technical writing workflow.

 

Q:  How has technical writing changed since you first started?

 

 

A: The demand for DITA experience. DITA and MadCap Flare have become the "must haves" in your bag of tricks; however, the challenge is getting into a position to be able to learn DITA and Madcap Flare if you don't already have the experience.

 

Q:  Who or what has influenced you most in your technical writing career?

 

A:  Dr. Barry Maid has been a big influence. I reached out to him before I ever applied to ASU, and he was the one who convinced me technical writing was a good fit for my background. He also convinced me to join STC. LOL it's all his fault. 😀

 

Q:  What advice do you have for writers just starting out in the field?

 

A:  Stay hungry, and learn as much as you can, especially with DITA and Agentive Design. I think Agentive Design will be the next big influence in our field and surpass DITA in its popularity as a tool.

 

And definitely find a mentor. That first mentor will be key to your success.

 

I also recommend getting certified in other tools such as Lean Sigma Six and Scrum Master. Both are heavily used, and having those certifications can open other doors and possibilities.

 

.

 

April 2018 Newsletter

Happy Hour at BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse

Join us for happy hour at this popular East Valley brewery!

Thursday, April 19  4:00 PM

3155 W Chandler Blvd,Chandler, AZ (map)

RSVP

 

New Members

 

Please welcome new member Kim Jones.

 

Free Event

CRUX Lab Launch

 

The CRUX (Contemporary Rhetorics and User Experience) lab is about to launch, and you are invited to meet the CRUX lab team to discuss how we can partner. The CRUX lab specializes in communication and user experience research, and is positioned to serve as a community resource. The CRUX Lab will strengthen ASU’s ability to conduct UX research, tackle community problems, and help local economies capture economic opportunities. CISA and the CRUX Lab team are already offering a UX undergraduate concentration, and are collaborating with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering to begin a UX Master's degree in Fall 2018.

Light refreshments will be served. We will follow up to those who RSVP for parking needs.

 

When: Thu, April 12, 2018, 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM MST

Where: 7271 East Sonoran Arroyo Mall, Mesa, AZ 85212

Santa Catalina Hall, Room 230

RSVP to web page for parking details.

Map

 

Upcoming Webinars

 

API Documentation 101

When: Wednesday, April 25, 7 PM

Where: Online (Zoom Meetings)

Presenter: Alan Vickers

 

The Phoenix Chapter STC is hosting a series of application programming interface (API) documentation webinars for technical communicators and students who want to learn more about documenting APIs. The course will focus primarily on Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs.

 

Visit the API Documentation 101 Website for details:

https://www.stc-phoenix.com/api-documentation-101

 

April Workshop

STC Phoenix Chapter Workshop: Using Wikis for Product Documentation

When: Saturday, April 14  10 AM to 12 PM

Where: Northern Arizona University–East Valley Campus

145 North Centennial Way Room 421

Presenter: John Hewitt, Cognizant

 Parking Details

 

April Interview:

Brenda Huettner

 

 

Brenda has her own tecnical communications consulting business and works out of Tucson.

 

Q:  How would you describe the arc that your career in technical communication has taken over the years?

 

A: My roles have been increasing in responsibility as I learned more about the industry and the skill sets needed by a successful technical communicator.

 

I started as an assistant to a large team of tech writers, then progressed fairly rapidly to an individual contributor, mostly on a contract basis. I stayed in that role for a long time, though the work varied from client to client.

 

Twice, I was employed as a tech comm manager in a full time employee status, spending three years at each of those two companies. Later, I helped several companies create their own tech comm departments, hiring their first tech writers, establishing policies and procedures, and eventually hiring my own replacement as manager.

 

Most recently, I've returned to the individual contributor role, but as a strategic consultant, hiring subcontractors as needed.

 

Q:  What has been the hardest part of working mostly as a contractor?

 

A:  While I love the variety and the flexibility of contract work, it does mean that I am always, to some extent, an "outsider". It becomes challenging sometimes to really integrate with the team - the SMEs, or editors, or other writers - particularly if I'm the only one who works primarily off-site.

 

Things that help with these challenges include regular social lunches, instant messaging software, and weekly face-to-face status meetings.

 

It's also difficult to keep up with the changing software and development environments. If I were an employee, I'd only need to learn the one way my company does things. As a contractor, I have to stay on top of whatever the latest industry trends might be.

 

Q:  What do you see for the future of technical writing?

 

A:  I see the "writing" part continuing to be eclipsed by the other skills like understanding audience needs and the ability to make strategic decisions not just about what to say but where and how to present the technical information. This will all continue to be done in increasingly interactive (and decreasingly predictable) ways.

 

 

 

 

May 2018 Newsletter

Happy Hour at Scottsdale Beer Company

Join us for happy hour at this popular Scottsdale brewery!

Thursday, May 24  4:00 PM

8608 E Shea Blvd, AZ (map)

RSVP

 

New Members

 

Please welcome new member Marjorie Peel.

 

Upcoming Webinars

 

API Documentation 101 - Lesson 2

When: Wednesday, May 30, 7 PM

Where: Online (Zoom Meetings)

Presenter: Alan Vickers

 

The Phoenix Chapter STC is hosting a series of application programming interface (API) documentation webinars for technical communicators and students who want to learn more about documenting APIs. The course will focus primarily on Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs.

 

Visit the API Documentation 101 Website for details:

https://www.stc-phoenix.com/api-documentation-101

 

May Workshop

Tech Writing Basics and Improving User Experience

When: Saturday, May 12 10 AM to 12 PM

Where: Northern Arizona University–East Valley Campus

145 North Centennial Way Room 421

Presenter: Monica Hess

Admission: Members $15, Nonmembers $20, Students $10

Light refreshments will be served

 Parking Details

 

API Documentation 101 Update

 

The STC Phoenix Chapter is trying something a little different this year. We’re incorporating an online textbook, Tom Johnson’s Documenting APIs A guide for technical writers, with a “guided” six-session monthly webinar series.

Our goal: To learn about representational state transfer (REST) application programming interface (API) documentation and the developer and documentation tools used to create and document REST services.

Some of the API concepts and tools that we’ll explore and use include:

·         REST services

·         JSON

·         cURL

·         Postman

·         Swagger (OpenAPI)

·         Git

·         GitHub

·         Stoplight

(For more information about this list, check out Tom’s online course.)

We’ve already hit a few technological snags, but we’re working through them with a little patience and perseverance. To help with collaboration, we’ve created a private group area on the STC Phoenix Chapter website for managing course discussions.

By September, we will have completed Tom’s course, and we hope to have portfolio-worthy API documentation examples for each participant. And for our last webinar, Tom Johnson has graciously volunteered to drop in for a little Q & A session.

More updates to come…

The API 101 Doc Team

 

 

 

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Upcoming Events
  1. API Doc 101 Lesson 7

    October 16 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm MST
  2. API Doc 101 Lesson 8

    October 23 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm MST
  3. East Valley Happy Hour

    October 24 @ 4:30 pm - 7:00 pm MST