Posted in Uncategorized

Most important trait of a technical writer

See on Scoop.itM-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications

There is only one trait that makes the difference between a bad technical writer and a great one. And it’s not what you think.

Danielle M. Villegas‘s insight:

I was rather relieved when I saw this article today from my friend, author Sharon Burton, who is a technical communicator extraordinaire herself.  Right now when I read several blogs from well-known commentators, it seems like a tug-of-war with what direction technical communication is going in.

"Focus on DITA and XML!"


"Single-sourcing is the name of the game!"

"Simplified English is needed!" 

"No, you’re all wrong. You should be learning code and learning how to do API and developer documentation!"


My head is in a tailspin trying to figure out what I need to do to stay ahead of the game, if my contract should expire and I need to look for work again. What’s a "young" (ahem) technical communicator to do?


Reading Sharon’s words were a breath of fresh air in the congestion of all this "what-to-do" that’s going on. This single trait that she speaks of is what has always driven me forward, and will continue to drive me forward.  I do worry, however, that in the realism of trying to find a position in the workforce, that for many employers, that’s not enough.  I can usually learn a new piece of software within the first few weeks of using it, but no one is willing to take the time to teach me necessarily. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like this. And being a slightly older worker (in my forties now), I’m at a disadvantage because I fall between the cracks–I’m experienced, but not experienced enough for higher positions, yet not as digitally nimble as the millenials (although I’d like to think that I am). 


Here’s hoping the trait that Sharon promotes is what gets me through to retirement! 


Read the article for yourself, and comment below on your perspective. 

See on


Danielle M. Villegas is a technical communicator who currently employed at Cox Automotive, Inc., and freelances as her own technical communications consultancy, Dair Communications. She has worked at the International Refugee Committee, MetLife, Novo Nordisk, BASF North America, Merck, and Deloitte, with a background in content strategy, web content management, social media, project management, e-learning, and client services. Danielle is best known in the technical communications world for her blog,, which has continued to flourish since it was launched during her graduate studies at NJIT in 2012. She has presented webinars and seminars for Adobe, the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the IEEE ProComm, TCUK (ISTC) and at Drexel University’s eLearning Conference. She has written articles for the STC Intercom, STC Notebook, the Content Rules blog, and The Content Wrangler as well. She is very active in the STC, as a former chapter president for the STC-Philadelphia Metro Chapter, and is currently serving on three STC Board committees. You can learn more about Danielle on LinkedIn at, on Twitter @techcommgeekmom, or through her blog. All content is the owner's opinions, and does not reflect those of her employers past or present.

3 thoughts on “Most important trait of a technical writer

    1. You’re welcome! You are one of my tech comm mentors/big sisters from afar, and you always shoot from the hip and tell it like it is, which is something I always appreciate. 🙂

What say you?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.