An Editor in the Tech Business — Ep. 3

Posted 5 months ago by Breno Barreto

“To learn philosophy, begin by delving into a single philosopher.” That’s what my history teacher told me in the last year of high school. And although I’ve never really learned much from philosophy, this line has been guiding me whenever I need to immerse myself into a new field of study.

Leaving newsrooms and publishing houses to enter a technology company threw me into a lagoon of countless learning areas. And it’s one that even now I approach in cautious steps, not knowing how deep it may be.

So, as soon as I found myself in front of it, I turned to the wisdom of my teacher and decided to tackle one area at a time, starting with the one that seemed to have more in common with the job I was taking on. So I discovered Content Strategy, a term I’d never even heard before.

I decided to begin by reading the excellent Content Strategy for the Web, where at some point the author mentions the Information Architecture field. Okay, I’d heard of that, but I had no idea what it really was.

“So I discovered Content Strategy, a term I’d never even heard before.”

So I read about it as well and then began to suspect that maybe it had more to do with my work. Heck, that’s interesting, let’s read more? Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, perhaps? Here we go.

Meanwhile, my blog readings were revealing a gigantic world of information, in the midst of which I discovered UX Writing. Isn’t that what I’m actually doing, after all? So I started reading more about it and … Dammit, there are people spending hours of their days thinking about the text of a button. I needed to learn more about that field.

But calm down, what about these cool people having annual conferences to talk exclusively about documentation? So that’s a thing too. Is that my job? Documentarian? Or would it be Tech Writer?

You get the picture.

Within a few months, I had greatly expanded my vocabulary regarding the many possible assignments in the realm of digital content. But at the same time I had brought myself a kind of professional identity crisis. What, after all, was my job? And which field should I study first?

“But at the same time I had brought myself a kind of professional identity crisis.”

I speak in the past but the truth is only now I’m starting to wet my shins in this lagoon of knowledge. Knowledge that encompasses not only the content directly, but all the areas that surround it, support it or depend on it.

For my own peace of mind, I’ve been locating myself in a sort of attributions map that looks remotely like this:

“But the truth is the fear of entering new areas is proportional to the satisfaction of acquiring new knowledge.”

The bigger words, of course, correspond to the roles in which I believe I advanced more so far.

It may be that ten other areas will soon unfold to me, and it may also be that soon I will discover my work has less to do with all of that than with? I don’t know? journalism.

But the truth is the fear of entering new areas is proportional to the satisfaction of acquiring new knowledge. So bring it on.

This post was originally published on Brenos’s Medium profile.

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