A career bucket list for technical writers

What’s next for you in your career? It’s tempting to focus on the bare minimum — staying employed — but identifying new areas of professional development or focus can help you grow your career and find whatever enjoyment you can from the capitalist toil that is an obligation of modern life.

While I was at Splunk, Susan St. Ledger gave a talk about approaching her career with a bucket list. I’d defined my career values, but a bucket list for my career was the perfect way to complement my career values while still growing my expertise.

decorative line drawing of a bucket

Even if you have the same title, you can have different experiences with your career and learn different skillsets if you seek out different team sizes, company stages, reporting structures, and working environments.

Identifying that variation has been crucial for me as I’ve stared down a lifelong career doing “just writing”. Did I really want that? Thankfully, technical writing doesn’t look the same everywhere, and that variation is what keeps it exciting for me.

In chatting about next steps in a technical writing career with a mentee, we came up with the following list of experiences and job situations that could be on a bucket list for technical writers.

What types of experiences and job situations might make sense on a bucket list look like for technical writers? I’m still developing my own, but I wrote up this list to serve as inspiration:


Writing process:

Writing tasks:

Writing and design tasks:

Collaboration or stretch opportunities:

Writing standards:

Writing strategy:

Personal brand:

Writing-relevant roles:

If you’re looking for what’s next, whether at your current company or somewhere new, I hope this list helps you consider what you might want to accomplish next!