Originally written in 2013, Charlotte’s experience continues to be relevant today.
Are you not sure if you’re ready to go to a conference?
Are you not sure if TCUK is the best choice for you?
– I’d say go!! And here’s why:
You don’t need the background knowledge of a senior
You might find that some subjects are presented on a level that’s too advanced for you. That’s OK. See it as inspiration on what to read up on when you get home. At the same time, given the diverse backgrounds of technical writers, you might experience that you have knowledge that is interesting for others.
When I attended my first TCUK, the specialist theme “anything but text” touched on theory I knew very well from my university education in art history and cognition. On the other hand, I was lost when hearing about DITA 2.0 when I still had no idea what DITA was. That was perfectly OK. In a coffee break, I said out loud that I had no idea what DITA was all about, admitted that I was confused about all the talk of encoding, standards and software applications. Frankly, I’m one of those who see programming skills as a necessary evil, so I’m glad I opened my mouth. I went home with a basic understanding of the essence of DITA, ready to explore a field I would have otherwise ignored.
TCUK has a good balance of focus and diversity
I find it inspiring that TCUK each year has a specialist theme. It gives you the opportunity to explore different angles on a common theme and, indirectly, on technical writing in general. With a common theme, different approaches tend to become clearer.
Keynote speakers are carefully selected to offer you insights from a well-known insider in the field, an intriguing story, and input from a related field.
Sessions and workshops are selected by quality, and fit with the specialist theme and diversity of the programme in general.
TCUK makes you feel welcome
The conference is a reasonable size, participants stay at the conference hotel, and the conference is evidently a not-for-profit event with the volunteer spirit showing. No need to be a networking genius – you will soon find yourself involved in discussions or informal chats. TCUK has a uniquely intimate atmosphere and is populated by technical communicators who are passionate about their field. When I attended TCUK for the first time I was not just accepted; I was welcomed and offered help and encouragement.