Technical communication as user experience in a broadening industry landscape

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    55 Scopus citations


    Purpose: Based on an analysis of 502 industry job postings, this article argues that technical communication work shares traits and competencies with the field of UX and that technical communicators who are not already doing UX work are wellqualified to expand their career paths into the UX field and could, in fact, play a central role in UX. Method: We analyzed 502 user experience job postings from After mining the postings for position title, job type, education level, experience level, location, salary, and industry sector, we conducted a content analysis of the job descriptions, using open coding to identify professional competencies and personal characteristics that employers are seeking in applicants, as well as key technologies and information products. Results: The user experience job postings could be grouped into five categories— Designer, Developer, Architect, Manager, Researcher—each with a distinct profile in terms of information products, technology skills, and professional competencies. However, the job postings also reflected skills, competencies, and characteristics that were common across job categories, and several of these are areas that overlap with more traditional technical communication positions. Conclusion: We articulate the advantages and challenges of transitioning into UX and make recommendations to help technical communication practitioners and programs capitalize on the advantages and address the challenges.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)248-264
    Number of pages17
    JournalTechnical Communication
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


    • Competencies
    • Jobs
    • Technologies
    • Usability
    • User experience

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Communication
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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