My name is Quirijn Vermeulen. I am 49 years old and I live in the Netherlands.
I work as a Technical Writer. For the past 6 years, I have been working at Parentix. A hosting provider that focuses on the hosting of business applications. My job consists not only of technical writing, but also copy writing. The diversity of my job means that every single day I get to explore something new.
I have been interested in computers since childhood. The first computer I have worked on was a Sinclair ZX-81 computer. It was one of the early “home” computers.
Although, compared to modern day devices this machine may seem simple, I found a drive to learn how to control this device. This resulted in writing my first computer programs, most of them were simple games, using the keyboard to navigate.
I feel lucky in a sense that I was able to grow up as computers were maturing as well. From Sinclair ZX-81 through Commodore 64 all the way to PC’s.
I studied Computer Sciences and quickly found out that they offered a lot of extra classes that were there to add ‘weight’ to the studies, but in fact it meant the Computer Science courses missed out on some of the more technical topics that I would expect from a Computer Science course. I learned to write in Turbo Pascal, as that was the language used in education at the time. I was fascinated by graphical operating systems at the time after getting a copy of GEOS for my Commodore.
On the PC I used my Turbo Pascal skills to write my own GUI complete with scaling dialogue boxes. Although, I had only been trained in procedural programming, it turned out I had actually written an object oriented program.
In the end, I decided to educate myself and I started working as a Junior Programmer at a local computer firm. I learned to use C++ instead of Turbo Pascal.
It was during that period that I was asked to help out the Customer Service desk and I found a new challenge. Explaining difficult technical information to customers in a way that was easy to understand.
I found this job to be very rewarding as you helped people to solve problems they were struggling with. I enjoyed it so much that I have been working in Customer Support for almost 15 years and during that period I have dealt with almost every situation that you can imagine. From turning an angry customer into a fan to receiving gifts for providing a solution by going that extra mile.
After that period I felt that I had reached a point where I needed a new challenge. It had to be a challenge where I could use my existing knowledge, experience and talents and add new knowledge and experience.
I found this new challenge in Technical Writing. It has similarities with customer service as you are still trying to work from a customer’s perspective, however, instead of solving issues brought up by the customer you try to anticipate them and provide information to prevent the issue from occurring, or at least help the customer to solve the issue as much as possible.
The main challenge as a Technical Writer is to take something that is complex and explain it in simple words. Not unlike a customer service employee would when a customer calls. I find it challenging to identify the items that could be hard to grasp and clarify those to a point where the reader will most likely not even notice that they have just learned something complex.
I have been working as a Technical writer / Documentation specialist for a little over 10 years now and I’m loving every single minute of it.
I have come to the realisation that I have been thinking of writing throughout my life, but I couldn’t find the right topic to write about.
In high school I have been working on writing a story, that was when people would still use typewriters instead of computers. Unfortunately, working on paper has it’s drawbacks as I found out when my originals got damaged. Perhaps I will pick up writing again now that there are computers and you can simply print a new copy.
Most of my work these days consists of writing reports, manuals and help documents.
Next to writing technical documentation I also write down my opinions from time to time. Some of those opinions will make their way here, my home on the web.
Feel free to stop by any time!