Technical Communication in Boston – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Technical Communication in Boston

Although she was a technical writing intern with Sea Street Technologies this summer, the writing duties were only the beginning for Dominique DeRubeis ’18.

Her first task at the Boston, Mass., office was to make minor changes to the company’s website, but over the course of the internship she went on to assist with the development of “an entirely new look and feel” for the site while “maintaining the system used by the company,” she explains.

“The most noticeable change to the website is the layout that emphasizes code samples, facilitates navigation, and refocuses content for Sea Street’s primary target audiences, including developers, customers and employees,” says the economics and computer science double major, who works on campus in Information Technology Services and the Office of Communications.

As an intern at Sea Street, DeRubeis tackled the same types of projects as full-time employees and experienced the challenges of developing technical publications in a professional environment. She honed her communication and computer skills as she developed document management for the company’s next release of StratOS, a cloud operating system for cable service providers. She designed eye-catching icons for applications and services; streamlined the company’s style guide to emphasize the technical terminology; and created standards for the layouts of each page in the documentation set.

As she experimented with the appearance of the website, she conducted a competitive analysis of other websites to understand best practices and common pitfalls in site navigation, design and organization. Beyond translating technical details into comprehensive, precise and digestible product documentation, DeRubeis helped create an information guide for customization and technical details of the StratOS wiki, the user-edited open-content system that “makes it unique.”

“Sea Street allowed me to have a technical internship while introducing me to lesser known fields that I wouldn’t have contact with otherwise,” DeRubeis says. “A technical writing position is every bit as engaging and important as those in engineering, and is inherently tied to the platform. Working on the product team was exciting and presented something new to learn about everyday.”

DeRubeis says funding from the Guaranteed Internship Program allowed her to participate in the valuable experience.

On campus, DeRubeis co-founded a student chapter of Peace Action New York State with Colleen Moore ’16, and served as the chapter’s vice president. This year, she will serve as the Peace Action HWS chapter leader and club president, coordinate the three Days of Service and serve on the Budget Allocations Committee.

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