App & Embedded Software Technical Communications
Date Joined NI
March 2, 2008
B.S. in English, B.S. in Spanish, Minor in Art History
The University of Texas at Austin
How did you join NI?
During my final year of college, I stumbled across technical writing at NI as a career option through my department’s career services. I researched the profession and thought that, given my interest in technology and my tendency to document onboarding/transition information for the roles that I took on during college, it sounded like a great fit. And guess what? It was.
What are the typical activities you do each week as a Technical Writer at NI?
As a manager, I don’t do much public-facing technical writing anymore. My current work falls roughly into three categories: career growth, project management, and business. Career growth is pretty much what it sounds like: I help the writers on my team to grow their careers. Project management involves making sure the writers on my team have what they need to manage their own projects, looking ahead to make sure my team’s availability is in line with the upcoming project workloads and adjust as needed, and representing my team in meetings across departments. Business involves anything from volunteering on our recruiting team, to seeking ways to make our documentation delivery fit customer needs better, to getting involved in other internal projects that keep the business running effectively.
Can you tell me a little more about one of the tasks you listed above?
One of my favorite parts of my role is having career planning discussions with the writers on my team. They’re ultimately driving their careers; my role is to talk through their ideas with them, offer a sounding board or guidance when they’re stuck, offer insight on what the path they’re working toward might require of them, and help them to align their goals and interests with business goals and opportunities. A typical discussion might involve overall career growth context for a new hire, strategizing filling out remaining opportunities for a writer working toward a promotion, or open-ended brainstorming with a writer about where they see their career going in the long term and what they might do now to work toward that.
What do you like best about NI?
I love how much people respect each other here. I remember feeling thrilled that, even when I had just graduated from college and was still in training, my R&D team cared about my opinion on decisions that impacted documentation. I also love how motivated the people around me are to improve the content we create, improve how we create it, and make sure it’s really what our customers need. It inspires me daily to challenge myself and think critically about what I do.
How has your career grown since you started at NI?
I started writing primarily about one product line and seeking out opportunities to help out on other product lines when I had down time. Over the years, I ended up owning or helping with documentation on a number of the product lines within Modular Instruments and thus developing a bigger picture understanding of how they fit together, including their shared needs and pain points. As it turns out, I really love solving puzzles at the big picture level, and I love training and mentoring, and these interests evolved into my managing the team that I had grown within.
If you could have dinner with one famous person, one fictional person, and one historical figure, who would you pick, and why?
I’d pick one of the founding Amys of 2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria (my favorite Neapolitan pizzeria, located in Washington, DC), Remy (Parisian rat chef in the movie, Ratatouille), and Ruth Graves Wakefield (inventor of the chocolate chip cookie). The reason? I love good food and I love a good origin story.