User experience design (or UX), technical communication, and content strategy are three interrelated disciplines involving communication and digital technologies. And they are all set to grow by leaps and bounds over the next decade.

A supposed ux designer, technical communicator, or content strategist contemplates a computer screen

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According to a recent CNN Money’s Best Jobs in America, UX designers enjoy a median salary of close to $100,000 a year and the field is set to grow 22% by 2022. According to this same source, content strategy boasts a median salary of $80,000 and is set to grow by 32% by 2022. With a median salary of over $65,000, technical communication is set to grow 15% by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As these are fairly technical fields, however, they can be off-putting when you first encounter them. If you enjoy working in a fast-paced, collaborative environment, crafting effective communication, and using digital technologies, you should definitely consider learning as much as you can about one (or more) of these three specializations.

What Is… “UX” “Technical Communication” “Content Strategy”?!

This is a question I get a lot from students, clients, and even longtime professionals who have been working in the technology sector. I tell them that all three of these emerging disciplines involve using communication to help people make better choices. Essentially, though:

  • UX involves helping to improve the overall experiences people have with digital technologies such as websites and mobile applications
  • technical communication involves communicating about specialized topics to a variety of audiences using digital technologies
  • content strategy involves improving the management and quality of content published by an organization, often via the organization’s website

What Are Skill Sets Specific to These Fields?

This is another question I get a lot from people who encounter these terms for the first time. I tend to provide the following as some of the essential skill sets behind these disciplines:

Core Skill Sets

  • You work effectively in messy, complex communication situations
  • You have a strong desire to help other people
  • You have a passion for effective communication, in any medium
  • You’re not afraid to jump in and learn any digital technology out there

Field-Specific Skill Sets


  • user research (interviews, surveys, field studies, etc.)
  • usability testing
  • accessibility
  • information architecture
  • interaction design
  • visual design

Technical communication

  • translation of complex topics for any audience, including audiences from a variety of different cultures
  • documentation software like RoboHelp and MadCap Flare
  • a flare for the mastery of seemingly mundane, technical details like specifications, jargon, and citation systems (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.)
  • highly effective written and spoken communication
  • the ability to manage diverse types of content across a wide variety of technologies

Content strategy

  • content auditing
  • content modeling
  • search engine optimization (SEO)
  • social media
  • highly effective written communication
  • the ability to manage diverse types of content across a wide variety of technologies
  • open source content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, the oManual, and DITA

Okay, I’m Sold: How Do I Get Started?

This is a more complicated question, but essentially: you learn!

In an upcoming post I will go into some of the ways you can learn about these fields, find consultants like me to help your organization, and even launch a career in one of them.