Staff Technical Writer
Radio Frequency Documentation
Summer 2015 Intern
Joined NI full-time on August 22, 2016
Texas Tech University – B.A. English with a specialization in Creative Writing
Texas Tech University – B.A. Technical Communication
How did you join NI?
I first heard about NI when I was a sophomore at Texas Tech. I was in a software usability class when a recruiter came in and talked about NI: what the company is all about, what it was like to be a technical writer there, how awesome the campus is, and how great the people are. I was instantly drawn to the idea of trying to get an internship there.
I applied for the internship during my junior year, and worked as a tech writer intern for 12 weeks during the summer before my senior year. At the end of that internship I was offered a full-time position in RF and I accepted right away!
What are the typical activities you do each week as a Technical Writer at NI?
As an entry-level writer most of my work usually consists of interfacing with my developers, and documenting hardware and software products. I’m frequently working on more than one release at a time, so I spend a lot of time documenting new features, updating my document plans, and meeting with developers just about every day. I also have a lot of group meetings with the other writers on my team to make sure we are creating consistent documentation. I also talk with my manager to prioritize issues in various projects.
Can you tell me a little more about one of the tasks you listed above?
Interfacing with my developers is really important. I get the opportunity to meet with them every single day in our group stand-up meeting (where we talk about the progress we made since the last meeting). I’ve developed a good relationship with all of my developers and I feel comfortable being able to ask them for help and answers to questions.
I think that’s an important aspect of being a newer writer, because they can help you understand a lot of the technicalities behind what you’re working on. A lot of times if someone comes in like I did (an English and Tech Comm major) they might not have much experience with the hardware and software themselves. I work really close to them, so I can get up from my desk and talk to them when I need to.
What do you like best about NI?
- The people here are incredible, that’s one of the things that keeps you wanting to come to work every day. They’re very driven. They’re very sociable. It’s very easy to make friends with the people that you work with. As an entry level writer that’s great because it makes you feel more comfortable asking questions even to people outside of your group.
- I get a lot of variety in my projects. No two days are ever the same, it doesn’t really get boring especially because in RF I get to work on hardware and software.
- I get a lot of time to interface with my managers which is especially useful because I have a lot of questions as a new writer.
How has your career grown since you started at NI?
The biggest improvement that I’ve seen is my familiarity with the products and toolchains that we use as tech writers. Some of that comes with the experience of having to use it every day, but a lot of it really has to do with the fact that my managers will always answer questions for me, and everyone on my team has caught me up to speed quickly. I felt like it took me a couple months to start feeling more comfortable with it. After working here for about six months I feel a lot better about going in, making edits and doing whatever I need to do myself.
I also have a better understanding of the day to day responsibilities of being a tech writer now that I’ve kind of gotten into the groove of things. I know how to juggle a lot of different work at once, which feels very different than being in college. Dates are just different. There are iterations in projects, there’s not just one due date and then it’s done.
Best RF joke you know?
Two antennas got married. The ceremony was alright, but the reception was amazing!