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Technical Writing Guidelines with Anne Tarnoruder of Synopsys

Technical Writing Guidelines with Anne Tarnoruder of Synopsys

Anne Tarnoruder, the Senior Technical Writer at Synopsys, joined us in this episode of Knowledgebase Ninjas Podcast to share her transition from software developer to technical writer, key insights into the documentation process management, and her way of developing quality documentation. 

Check out all the other episodes here.

Key Facts

    • Anne Tarnoruder’s LinkedIn profile
    • Synopsys’s website
    • Anne holds a Master degree in Applied Mathematics
    • Her first career was software development. Technical writing is her second career
    • After 16 years in technical writing, she is still happy about having made this career shift
    • Because of her background, Anne’s focus has always been on documentation for developers
    • At SAP, Anne developed standards and guidelines for API documentation. Two years ago, tekom published them as a book Standards and Guidelines for API Documentation, which is publicly available for purchase
    • Anne is a frequent speaker on API documentation-related topics at local and international technical writing conferences such as tekom

Key Takeaways

    • After 16 years of experience in software development and architecture, Anne lost a job in a crisis in the early 2000s. This was when Anne decided to try something new, and the journey of technical writing began
    • She joined a documentation team at SAP Labs in Israel and realized that technical writing was a completely different profession. SAP was a great school to learn this profession
    • At Synopsys, Anne works with a co-located R&D team as well as with remote teams. She reports in a geographically distributed team of writers
    • In addition to documentation, Anne also reviews UI texts for new features and provides evaluations and feedback for usability aspects
    • Anne co-authors REST API documentation with R&D by reviewing API names and descriptions
    • In terms of tools and technologies, she uses DITA Oxygen XML Editor for writing, and Git for source control
    • Anne manages her workflow similarly to how R&D manages development tasks, i.e. in Jira tickets, which are visible to all involved parties. Also, Anne publishes her documentation in preview that is accessible for internal audiences

Anne’s biggest influence

  • Anne has learned from just about everyone she has come across in her tech writing career path, even from people who think that nobody reads documentation

Key Resources

What documentation related advice would Anne give to her 20-year-old self?

  • When she started her first job as a developer, and had to write a program in an unknown language, she bought a book that helped her master that language and thus saved her job. So, to her 20-year-old self, she would say that maybe one day her book on API Standards might help save someone else’s job.

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