Hunting down precious morsels of context – Life as a Technical Writer
Time for Talent with Martina Welander
Meet Martina Welander aka Documentina 👋 Our super talented Technical Writer, who goes beyond words to come up with creative ways to document our tools and processes. But we’ll let her do the talking – read her full story below (it’s a good one!).
Tactile: Hi Martina, could you tell us a bit more about what you do at Tactile?
Martina: I write ✨ technical documentation ✨ on a fabulous team of one. I write everything from system architecture overviews to user tutorials to API documentation. My days are spent ferreting around in codebases, hunting down precious morsels of context in the dustiest corners of Slack, and thinking up ways to make stuff like security protocols fun to read about. And pestering my fellow Core Teamsters for information, of course.
Tactile: What was your journey to becoming a Tech Writer?
Martina: It just happened – I did a history degree and never really had a plan. I wrote my first line of CSS on neopets.com in 2000 (Neopians unite) and accidentally became a backend developer because I needed to create a database for all my RPG characters. This eventually led to several Serious Jobs as a developer and technical consultant, which turned into blogging a lot about the stuff I figured out, and now I write for a living. There were probably more steps but it felt very ‘whoopsie poopsie guess I’m a writer now’.
Tactile: What do you like the most about the team you’re working with?
Martina: They are good eggs. Patient, kind, smart, a lil’ bit weird, a lil’ bit sassy.
Tactile: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Martina: Variety. Sometimes I write songs about A/B tests, sometimes I draw cartoons about API keys, sometimes I code, 🎵 SOMETIMES I RUN, SOMETIMES I HIDE 🎵, and sometimes I actually write things down (that’s the hardest part about being a writer). It makes my day when I hear that my work helped someone or saved them time, particularly new starters.
Tactile: For people who would like to start their career, what do you think are the most important qualities that every (tech) writer should have?
Martina: Curiosity. If Tactile decided to pivot into making croissants I would go all in on explaining the chemistry of butter through the medium of dance; learning is fun, kids! If you want to write for developers, I think it really helps to have at least some experience with programming – either as a hobby, or by working as a developer or in QA. If you are starting from scratch and want to be seen, try to figure out how to do something that interests you (a recipe app, a to-do app) and blog about the challenges you encounter.