The origin of technical communication has been attributed to various eras: Ancient Greece, the Renaissance, and the mid-twentieth century. However, the professional field was firmly established during the First World War, growing out of the need for technology-based documentation in the military, manufacturing, electronic, and aerospace industries.
In the United States, two organizations concerned with improving the practice of technical communication were founded on the East Coast in 1953: the Society of Technical Writers and the Association of Technical Writers and Editors. These organizations merged in 1957 to form the Society of Technical Writers and Editors (STWE).
STWE merged with the Technical Publishing Society in 1960 in an effort to extend the organization’s size and reach. It was via this merger that the Society of Technical Writers and Publishers was born. Over the next eleven years, the organization flourished, continuing to grow and expand its membership. In 1971, the organization changed its name to the Society for Technical Communication.
For the past three decades, STC has prospered, growing in size and scope as an organization whose members lead the field of technical communication. As the information technology revolution brought significant changes to world communication, the Society and its members have stayed on the cutting edge, advancing both the theory and practice of technical communication.
One of the Society’s primary missions has been to prove technical communication’s relevance and importance in the world. In 2009, the Society successfully lobbied the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to recognize Technical Writer as a profession. In 2010, the Society began a year-long project to transform the organization and to prepare for the next fifty years of growth for the profession.
This is an exciting time to be a technical communicator!