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tekom Bulgaria Roadshow: Origin, Development and Experiences

tekom Bulgaria Roadshow is a travelling seminar that includes presentations and workshops, aimed at raising awareness about the field of technical communication and the tekom outside of the capital city Sofia.

In 2017, the initiative travelled all the way to Plovdiv, Vratsa, Veliko Turnovo and Ruse. The audience ranged from high school students in their last year to university students, software developers, and owners and employees of small businesses.

Bulgaria is a small country with great interest in the field of information technology (IT). We are home to R&D centers for several big companies (SAP, VMware), we are an outstanding outsourcing destination, and we have local companies scoring big in the world of IT (Telerik, EGT). However, most of the jobs and business in the field are located in Sofia, the capital city.

Many young people are looking for opportunities in the field, interested mostly in engineering or support jobs in the capital. Only very few are aware of the career opportunities available in the technical communication area because it is a fairly unknown profession locally..

tekom Bulgaria Roadshow: How It All Began

In 2016, one member of tekom Bulgaria decided to change the status quo. Desislava Mihaylova, senior technical writer at Progress and now a member of the Initiative Committee (IC), approached the local chapter requesting assistance with the first edition of the tekom Bulgaria Roadshow. She started attending local IT conferences as a speaker, delivering talks about technical communication in Bulgaria and raising awareness about tekom and the benefits of being a part of it.

At the end of 2016, Desi talked about her initiative at our annual BarCamp event. The community welcomed the idea and the Roadshow became one of the big 2017 tekom Bulgaria initiatives. In 2017, the Roadshow reached four major cities outside of the capital with fast growing local IT societies.

tekom Bulgaria Roadshow: Taking Initiative

While in 2016 the goal was to raise awareness among people generally interested in the IT field, in 2017, the aim was to reach out to young people in search of possible career paths and to get in touch with the universities outside of the capital.

The format of the four-hour event was a combination of presentations and workshop exercises. One of the presentations discussed the reality of being a technical writer in Bulgaria - providing an overview of the career and outlining a day in the life of the author including backgrounds and skills.. The second presentation discussed some principles of modern technical communication - minimalism, topic-based writing, and some practical advice. The exercises aimed at showing the audience how a technical communicator works.

Highly concentrated attendees during the workshop exercises in Veliko Turnovo

tekom Bulgaria Roadshow: Team Members

In 2016, Desi worked mostly alone, backed up by the resources and good will of tekom Bulgaria.

In 2017, she grew her team to 4 people with diverse experience in the field. Vanya Kiritzova, chairwoman of the IC and a Senior Manager at VMware, Margarita Staneva, Manager at VMware, and Iva Koevska, Senior Technical Writer at ATTRAQT came on board.

The Roadshow crew in the back: from left to right Margarita, Vanya, Iva, and Desi

tekom Bulgaria Roadshow: 2017 With the Eyes of a Volunteer

Click Opens external link in new windowhere to read the official reports of the Roadshow initiative events.

In the following, please find a personal report of Iva, one of the members of the tekom Bulgaria Roadshow crew:

“By now, you’ve probably made the connection. I’m Iva, one of the volunteers who helped drive the 2017 Roadshow. This was not my first volunteering gig with tekom Bulgaria but was by far the most challenging, exciting, and rewarding one. It was also the one where I learned the most.

Naturally shy, the Roadshow challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and present in public. I spoke about my passion in front of tens of people at a time in several cities; people open to new ideas, in search of new paths for themselves. I had the opportunity to spread my passion around along with my firm belief that being a technical writer is an amazing career path. I felt my passion for the job grow and bloom, nourished by sharing it with others.

The Roadshow also challenged my perceptions and my own stereotypes. It turned out very few people believed that the job was dull and imagined technical communicators as people producing thick tomes of barely usable and deeply technical text. I also bumped heads with developers from Veliko Turnovo and their personal approach to documentation. I walked in their shoes, they walked in mine and in the end, each one of us walked away a better technical writer, if only just for the knowledge of the other’s point of view.

The Roadshow met me with amazing, smart, ambitious people who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. We talked about the industry, about the profession, about our goals, dreams, and pursuits. One of these talks led to another of tekom Bulgaria’s initiatives for the year - the autumn writing sprint.

Lastly, giving back is a truly rewarding experience. Giving back your time, knowledge, and attention even doubly so compared to just donating money to charity. I’ve entered the field of technical communications because a few people believed in me and gave me a chance. For a very long time, I’ve been wanting to give back to the local community and help other people discover the career revelation that technical writing could be. tekom Bulgaria granted me this opportunity and helped me learn how to give back. And let me tell you something, giving back does not deprive you, it elevates you, it charges you up. As exhausted as I was after each Roadshow session, I actually left the event and the respective city with energy and passion for the field renewed, with new thoughts and ideas piling up, begging me to pick them up.

In a heartbeat, I’d do it all again. Maybe less shy, maybe more practical in my advice, maybe visiting more cities in the process.

Join the volunteering initiatives of your tekom chapter. Give back to your community and grow in the process.”