Meet STC Member Ken Schatzke
Ken Schatzke is a content strategist and architect at SMART Technologies, located in Calgary, Canada, a provider of technology solutions for classrooms and workplaces around the globe. His work at SMART includes creating content for SMART’s suite of interactive touch displays and collaborative technology. He has been a technical writer for just over two decades and is a senior member of STC and a Certified Professional Technical Communicator.

Discovering Technical Communication
Schatzke was in high school when he first heard of technical communication and was busy deciding what he wanted to do when he went to college. Through researching Mount Royal University and its programming, he found technical writing.

“I had a vague idea of the kind of things I wanted to study,” Schatzke said, “but I didn't really have an actual job title to associate with those things. So, the local college had a degree programming in technical writing. That is how I first discovered technical writing.”

At the time, Schatzke was doing fairly well in English classes and liked working with computers. He was involved with the high school yearbook committee, which gave him some experience with publishing and visual design. He also had a general interest in technology and science.

“It was kind of hard to figure something out that addressed all of the different things I was interested in,” Schatzke said. “It was an eclectic list of subjects, but it seemed like technical writing would address all of those things.”

Expanding Technical Communication and Getting Involved
Every day technical writers run into people who have a varying level of experience and attitudes toward technology, the work that technical communicators do allow people from all different backgrounds to get the most out of the newest technology and to leverage their abilities.

“I think the challenge we have is just to be able to reach those all those people in a way that complements their needs to really use technology, because ultimately, how we succeed as individuals is really going to be dependent on how we can make use of all this technology because it's kind of unavoidable,” Schatzke said.

Schatzke thinks that other technical writers should get involved in not just STC but to develop other skills that can improve their technical writing.

“Get involved with the professional community,” Schatzke said. “I mean, STC in particular, and volunteer where you can, even if it's not something that's necessarily technical-writing related. There's still lots of opportunities to develop, like project management skills, leadership skills, oral communication skills—all of these skills you are going to use as a technical writer.”

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