How to successfully change careers

Or the story of how I went from globe-trotting freelance web developer to in-house technical writer. On purpose!

Before I took on my current role at Zengenti, I had spent 1 in 6 months in Asia, mostly Thailand. Or to put it into perspective, about twice as much holiday as I'm allowed to take now. How does someone make this change and most importantly, why? Well we need to take a look at all the writing I've done alongside development work, to see how long I've been building up to switching to writing without actually knowing it.

Programmers Voice

If you know what Programmers Voice was, congratulations! You've probably been following me around the web for over 5 years. For those of you none the wiser, Programmers Voice was my first foray into writing educational content. It was a programming tutorial blog akin to Nettuts+ with all content written by myself, no guest authors! Topics covered the CodeIgniter PHP Framework, jQuery, Writing your own PHP Framework and more. This was the stepping stone that got me a contract with Packt Publishing to write my first book CodeIgniter 1.7 Professional Development and I've just started to stop getting royalty checks, not bad for work I did 4 years ago.

CodeIgniter 1.7 Professional Development

My very first book, and more than likely my last as well. From now on I will be self-publishing my content and more than likely I'll be packaging everything up as a course rather than an ebook. But that's a topic for another day. My experience publishing a book with a traditional publisher could have been better, but let's face it, I was 17 and got paid a fair chunk of change to write it.

CodeIgniter Libraries User Guide

I wrote a handful of CodeIgniter libraries that I open sourced, most notably AG Auth which is still available but no longer supported. I knew I had to write quality documentation for the libraries, due to CodeIgniter having an impeccable user guide. I think this is something that turned me on to the importance of writing good documentation and is more than likely a big reason as to why AG Auth has been used by so many developers (the number is in the thousands).

My work at Zengenti

Which brings me nicely on to my role at Zengenti. I am writing the documentation for their software, and they know the importance of good documentation and are committed to having quality documentation for all their features, modules and plugins.

The secret to changing careers? Have absolutely no idea what you're doing. All of these steps have built up to the next one, and every time I moved on a step I gained more experience and more reach to people. I am hoping that I can do this again with this new style blog. I hope that by writing about what I have done, what I am doing and what I want to do I can help others get to where they want to be.

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