WritersUA just published the results of their 2011 Skills and Technologies Survey. This annual survey is one of the best ways I know of to “take the pulse” of the user assistance, technical writing, technical documentation fields. WritersUA typically receives hundreds of responses (460 this year). The analysis is in three sections: Skills, Technologies, and Platforms. The data are presented in a clear, concise form. Each of the pages presents a summary of the top findings and then drills down into the details.
In the Skills are, expertise with authoring tools topped the charts with 85% of respondents, followed by writing procedures at 81%, and project planning at 75%.
On the Technologies side, PDF was rated at the top with 81% and browser-based help came in a close second at 80%. Web / intranet content came in a distant third with 67%.
For Platforms, there is no surprise that Windows leads with 97%, with World Wide Web far behind in second at 69%, and Intranet/extranet ever farther back with 47%.
For anyone who makes their living as a technical writer, technical communicator, or user assistance professional, the WritersUA 2011 Skills and Technologies Survey should be a must read. It can be equally informative for hiring and supervising managers who need to better understand the current state of the technical communications industry.