Vocational and Advanced Training
The field of technical communication employs predominantly people who have changed their careers and have previously completed a tertiary education in a different field. Vocational and advanced training for technical communicators is not regulated. It is not a profession in a strict legal sense. Many people who have changed their careers have found their way into technical communication through re-training or multi-month vocational training.
The following vocational and advanced training measures are available:
- The tekom traineeship
- Multi-month vocational training
- Extra-occupational, multi-month advanced training
The relevant advanced training providers offer customized group training for companies in the German-speaking region. These culminate with the formal proof and "Technical Communicator (tekom)" certificate by tekom.
The tekom Traineeship
The tekom traineeship, in particular, is intended for graduates of technical, natural, social or human sciences or also for university dropouts. It is a practical vocational training in technical communication, the concept and contractual definition of which is based on the journalism traineeship where the in-house vocational training is complemented by external advanced training measures.
Full-time training is recommended for those who have changed their careers and who in their previous career had no experience with technical communication. Full-time training extends across a longer period, six months or longer, and usually comprises a work placement as well as the educational phases. They are offered by private institutes and may be financially assisted by means of a training voucher from the employment agency upon submission of individual qualifications.
Extra-occupational Advanced Training
Extra-occupational advanced training in technical communication is also offered in the training market. This is, however, largely geared towards employees who are also working in the technical communication arena. For those who have shifted careers and are employed in technical communication without previous professional experience or vocational training – e.g. initially in in-house vocational training – an extra-occupational advanced training is highly recommended. Vocational and advanced training offerings in technical communication can be accredited by tekom. The accreditation seal confirms that the vocational and advanced training for a technical writer meets the tekom requirements and quality standards and that it can be completed with the tekom certificate "Technical Communicator (tekom)".
Overview Training Providers
Overview Career changers
|Specialization of studies /||Industries||Total|
|Vocational training||Industrial establishment||Software companies||Other companies||Service providers|
|Technical communication and documentation||15.4%||19.5%||18.2%||19.6%||16.9%|
|Technical vocational training||22.1%||3.7%||18.2%||13.3%||17.7%|
|Linguistics and cultural studies||5.1%||11.6%||3.0%||7.0%||6.1%|
|Natural sciences and mathematics||5.3%||10.4%||6.8%||10.1%||6.9%|
|Media and communication sciences||3.2%||4.3%||3.8%||3.0%|
|Economic and social sciences||1.7%||6.1%||3.8%||1.9%||2.6%|
|Commercial / trading vocational training||1.8%||3.7%||5.3%||1.9%||2.5%|
|Psychology and cognitive sciences||0.2%||0.6%||0.2%|
The fast-changing working environment and related innovations carry with them the need for greater qualification requirements. Even after a completed vocational or advanced training, it is important to retain, adapt and increase skills and expert knowledge. Successful technical communicators are expected to continue learning throughout their professional lifetime and to align their knowledge and skills with the latest needs and requirements not least to affirm their place in the job market.
Technical writers have different options to stay abreast of the latest knowledge:
- tekom/tcworld conferences: Every year tekom organizes a theme-specific spring conference and a cross-theme annual conference, during which current trends and the latest methodological approaches are presented in numerous papers, workshops, tutorials and podium discussions. A large trade fair with different products and a range of services related to technical communication completes the offering.
- Professional journals: With "technische kommunikation" ("technical communication"), tekom publishes a German-language professional journal for technical communication every two months in which renowned experts and authors share their expertise and experiences in technical papers. The journal is free for members. tekom also issues the tcworld magazine, an English-language publication, focusing on international and multilingual documentation development.
- tekom web portal: The tekom web portal keeps readers informed about the state of the art in Technical Communication and about current events.
- Technical literature: tekom regularly publishes technical publications as well as guidelines and studies. In addition, there are a number of German- and English-language technical publications for technical communication.
- Regional group events: During the year, the German tekom regional groups and European country groups regularly host events with talks on special subjects. These are free for members. Those interested in tekom are also welcome.
- Events for executive managers: To satisfy the information needs of executive managers, tekom hosts their own workshops and forums.
- Seminars and extra-occupational advanced training: Service providers for technical communication and advanced training providers have in their offerings special seminar programs on technical communication topics and conduct extra-occupational advanced training.