We’d like to introduce you to some of the people from around the world who make us what we are. In this post, meet Desi, a skilled technical writer who has made a big impact in her community.
Desislava Mihaylova is not only one of the most experienced technical writers at Progress but also an active part of the local industry community. You can meet her at conferences and events throughout Bulgaria sharing her passion for technical writing with fellow colleagues and students. Read our interview with her to learn more about her job and the way Progress supports her to develop professionally and contribute to the technical writers’ community.
Desi, you are known in the IT community in Bulgaria for your passion for technical writing. What makes the technical writer's profession so fascinating for you? What's the best part of it?
To a great extent, being a technical writer means to be a team player, to be adept at communicating with various roles within the company (support, designer, development, quality assurance, project management teams) so you are able to achieve your goal of “translating” and “adapting” the content to the needs and expectations of the user, which, ultimately, leads to a higher product quality and a greater user experience.
The thing I really love is that you always learn. Day by day, you pile up technical knowledge about new scenarios, approaches, features, products, tools, implementations. It’s a never-ending story which makes me feel excited and content with what the team achieves.
Apart from the technical competencies that you build on with time and the soft skills you apply on a daily basis, technical writers are a shared resource within the company. Working on one or more suites with various teams opens you up to different mindsets and broadens your overall knowledge about the whole product life-cycle and internal company processes.
If you have to describe it with just three words, what would they be?
Inspiration, action, satisfaction.
Tell us more about your efforts promoting the profession. You are a co-organizer and a speaker at many industry events. What are you up to now?
For over a year now, I’ve been one out of four tekom Bulgaria Initiative Committee members. tekom Bulgaria, similar to tekom Europe, is the community of technical writers in Bulgaria. Last year we ventured on the so-called Roadshow initiative in the cities of Plovdiv, Vratsa, Veliko Tarnovo, and Ruse. The 4-hour seminar aimed at promoting the profession among students and young professionals and also sharing some hands-on experience.
We also held two seminars at Telerik Academy in Sofia to the same effect, which provoked great interest among the Academy’s former and current students, as well as with a number of tech writers who already practice the profession.
Undoubtedly, our greatest success for 2017 was that the Bulgarian Ministry of Labor and Social Policy acknowledged us as professionals and, as of January 1, 2018, included the occupation in the National Classification of Occupations and Positions. We achieved this huge success with the support of all the big companies in the Bulgarian software market, which are otherwise competitors, such as VMware, Software AG, SAP, and, of course, Progress. Taking into consideration that there’s no dedicated specialty at the Bulgarian universities yet while the want of technical writers in the country is getting bigger and bigger, I consider this inclusion a huge success because the way we shared efforts, contacts, and know-how proved that we are a real community standing for common values and a desire to improve and develop the community in Bulgaria.
In 2018, I plan to go on with the Roadshows in several cities in Bulgaria as well as to take part in the extended workshops we plan.
You have diverse professional experience and did not always work in technical writing. How did you decide to move to this field?
Yes, for eight years I had worked in the financial field as a lease and bank expert. The desire to make a complete shift matured over the years as a I got to realize that choosing one bank or another won’t let me develop my potential nor make feel truly appreciated. It was a challenging time looking through job offers that sounded just as routine and brain-washing as the one I held at the time. Luckily for me, one day a friend of mine asked me: “Can you write from scratch, out of a blank sheet of paper?” “Just try me!”, I said, and that’s how I became a tech writer at Playtech Bulgaria and discovered a whole brave new world of possibilities.
How does Progress support your professional development and your personal commitment to the technical writing field?
As I mentioned, we don’t have a dedicated university specialty for technical writers. More than 90% of the active community in the country have become technical writers by luck or coincidence and built up their skills out of practice. So, if you want to get certified, one way is to take the 7-month online course, organized by tekom Europe, which I did last year with the financial support of the company.
The company also provides annual support for my attending local and international conferences for technical communicators. Last year, for example, Progress made it possible for me to attend Write the Docs in Prague, Czech Republic.
Also, Progress is among the sponsors of the Evolution of Technical Communication conference, which is the biggest conference for technical communication in the South-Eastern Europe and is held every year in Sofia.
What does a typical day of yours look like?
What’s the best part of working at Progress?
My team. They are a rare mixture of highly intelligent, hugely resourceful, and extremely helpful people whom I truly admire. It’s always about thinking how something can be done, a new approach implemented, or a needed technology embraced, and this simply makes you feel the sky is the limit.
Aneliya Stoyanova is part of the Global Communications team at Progress. She has extensive experience in the technology media and communications field. A news junkie and technology lover, she enjoys writing and finding the best way to communicate across all exciting news around Progress.
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