Product Manager Career Progression
30th Sept 2019 Arthur and Celine gave excellent presentations of their career progressions into Product Manager and Product Marketing roles. Celine Sharpe of FIS was a Technical Writer, one of the roles covered by the ISTC (Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators). Cambridge Network were asked for events and courses on Technical Communication and Product Management and last night the CPMN (Cambridge Product Management Network) meeting was very well attended showing the huge interest locally in these two areas of work. Cambridge Network is an excellent business network organisation and through CPMN and ISTC they have tapped into the premier specialist networking organisations for these roles. CPMN events are normally promoted through meetup and ISTC regional meetings through the regional page on the ISTC website and eventbrite. Future events will also be promoted through the Cambridge Network website.

A summary of last night
Many attendees :
  • had other titles and discovered they were effectively Product Managers in small companies
  • were skilled in several Product Manager roles 
  • were skilled in several Technical Communicator roles
  • were not aware that the overarching description of ‘Technical Communicator’ includes potentially many of the specific job titles below
  • had not known there is a regional Cambridge ISTC meeting, nor that the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC) is the professional body that represents all UK members with the different job titles listed below.  
  • often progress in large companies to be Product Managers from other roles in large companies but rarely start a first appointment as a Product Manager in a large company.
  • do not typically start as Product Managers from a first degree without life and other career experience. The same is often true of Technical Communicators. 
  • who are already Product Managers, have during their careers bounced back and forth between different key focal roles within their overall job title. The same is true of Technical Communicators.
Presenters and attendees struggled to find UK university first degrees in Product Management or Technical Communication. MBA level qualifications helped in gaining employment locally in Cambridge, often from a technical starting point. However, increasingly Technical Communicators with solid marketing and bid writing experience for technical companies, progressed in large companies towards Product Marketing and then Product Manager roles. Once technologists discovered ‘marketing’, ‘political corporate behavioural control methods’ and ‘the power of customer liaison and data metrics’, they hardly ever went back to a completely technical role again!Click here to download the Product Managers Career Progression pdf file handed out at the event.

The ISTC website and next regional meeting  Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators
[Celine mentioned time well spent creating documentation standards. Attendees might like to know that the ISTC website has some free templates and further resources are available through membership.]

3rd or 4th Tues of the month The Robin Hood Pub, Cambridge 6pm
22nd Oct 2019 FREE, just buy a drink, snack or meal please.
Open networking event.

What does a Technical Communicator do? A list of job titles from the ISTC website…

  • API Documentation Writer
  • Communications Manager
  • Content Designer
  • Content Developer
  • Content Engineer
  • Content Officer
  • Content Strategist
  • Digital Content Designer
  • Digital Content Manager
  • Documentarian
  • Documentation Engineer
  • Documentation Manager
  • Information Architect
  • Information Designer
  • Information Developer
  • Knowledge Base Writer
  • Knowledge Manager
  • Microcopy Writer
  • Product Writer
  • Programmer Writer
  • Publications Manager
  • Technical Author
  • Technical Communicator
  • Technical Editor
  • Technical Illustrator
  • Technical Writer
  • Translator
  • UI Text Writer
  • UX Copywriter
  • UX Writer

Some technical communicators have more generic job titles, such as Engineer or Developer. [Product Manager or Project Manager]

ISTC members come from virtually every industry and area of society within the UK, as well as internationally, who all need to communicate complex or important information effectively.

It’s is what you do that matters, rather than your job title. If you’re communicating technical information to explain and instruct, there’s a good chance you’re a technical communicator. And if you are a technical communicator, we’d love you to be part of the ISTC.