© Ugur Akinci
Welcome to you all in the new year’s first blog post! I thank you once again for all your support during 2011. This blog would not have existed without you.
Let’s start the new year by asking the question — what does a “typical” technical writer who is employed by Uncle Sam really look like?
Technical writers are sometimes called “technical communicators” because in reality that’s what they do – they communicate. Writing is just one of the several tools that they use to do that.
Those writers and information designers who work for the U.S. Government form a special niche. Here are their characteristics according to to a survey of the National Association of Government Communicators:
Women dominate our profession. Nearly two out of every three government communicators are female.
The largest percentage of government communicators are between 36 and 60 years old, suggesting that people do not enter government communications directly from college, but come from other fields.
Most government communicators are pleased with their agency’s attitude toward public relations and most believe the media does a fair job of covering their agency. But more than 80 percent believes their agency’s Web site needs to be improved.
At least 72 percent of government communicators say writing, editing, drafting news releases, producing web content and holding media events are core parts of their jobs. Only five percent write for blogs and only seven percent produce podcasts. However, they see this changing dramatically in the next two years, while they see less use of celebrity spokespersons and producing magazines, brochures and other publications.
Nearly three-fourths of communicators find it impossible to do their jobs in a 40-hour work week.
About 58 percent believe public cynicism is at an all-time high.
In terms of contracted services, government communicators see more need for media measurement, Web conference and Web hosting.
About three in 10 seek out higher educational degrees.
Don’t forget to check out the writing opportunities available in the government sector.