Co-op Experience with Ericsson - Technical Writing

Type of Experience: 
Co-op Work Term
Organization Information
Organization: 
Ericsson
Organization Sector: 
Customer Product Information
Organization Profile: 
Ericsson is a Swedish company that specializes in making telecommunications equipment to provision communication networks in services. Ericsson has offices globally, from North America, to Europe, to Asia. The Burnaby office, however, is strictly for research and development, and develops a router used for IP networking, and a web client to manage a broadband network.
City: 
Burnaby
Country: 
CANADA;CA

I worked as a technical writer at Ericsson for 8 months.  Essentially, my responsibilities were to produce and maintain content for the user guides of Ericsson products.  In particular, I was assigned to a team that wrote documentation for a web client used to manage and provision services over broadband networks.

Coming from a non-technical background, the biggest challenge for me was to familiarize myself with the new networking concepts and terminologies that telecommunications has to offer.  The amount of acronyms thrown at me in my first week felt incredibly excessive, and it was honestly overwhelming.  However, I firmly believe one of the strengths of Ericsson is the wealth of resources provided to their new hires to help them succeed.  There is a large amount of information found on the internal website, and the employees are all extremely knowledgeable and open to helping each other out.

Continuing on this train of thought, I can say another one of the strengths of Ericsson, at least within the Burnaby office, is the team morale.  Things may not always run as smoothly as planned, but the employees are always in good spirits and cooperative, and ultimately the environment is very laidback and inviting.  It made it much easier to work across different departments, and to ask questions about various problems I was encountering.  The employees there seem to take pride in their jobs and roles, and this made for a very stimulating workplace to be a part of.

When I came into Ericsson, I was uncertain of what exactly to expect in terms of work and responsibilities.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was treated much like another full-time employee, and not simply an intern at the office.  I was given a fair share of responsibilities, and a great opportunity to see what it was like working for a global company.   I enjoyed the variety of tasks I was given during my work.  I was not always writing new content for a user guide; I edited existing documents, created Excel spreadsheets, wrote administrative processes on the company wiki space, and even worked on a company document template.  The variety I experienced in the job as a whole, however, stands in stark contrast to the unvaried, stagnant nature of technical writing itself.

I was certainly surprised by how different technical writing is from any other writing style.  I had initially assumed being able to write a solid academic paper would be enough to qualify a good technical writer, but let me stress now that academic writing and technical writing are simply incomparable.   It was certainly an eye-opening experience to try and write something that was still clear and understandable, with the fewest amount of words possible.  Technical writing is very dry and direct, and creative writers may not enjoy this aspect of it; however, I found a satisfaction in simplifying my thoughts.  It made me think more about the accuracy and precision of my word choice, something that will certainly benefit me in future writing courses.

The past eight months working as a technical writer at Ericsson provided me with some great learning opportunities, as well as some massive struggles.  In the end, it wasn't the experience I had initially anticipated, but this isn't a bad thing.  Working here has opened my eyes to new career paths and intellectual pursuits in fast-paced, technical environments. My time at Ericsson was certainly memorable, and incredibly beneficial to my professional development.