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Alumni Spotlight: Grayson (DeYoung) Mack

Alumni Spotlight: Grayson (DeYoung) Mack

Current job title 
Senior Technical Writer

 

Describe your current position 
I work at a Software as a Service (SaaS) organization. We build software products that other business's use for their improving their email marketing programs. I am in charge of writing and developing content that customers find inside of our products’ user interface. I help with everything from the entire website's information architecture to evolving our voice and tone to writing button labels.

 

To what extent does writing relate to your current position? / What type of writing/design do you do for work? 
Writing is my entire role!

To get all of this done, I have to work extremely close with our User Experience Design teams and Product Managers to craft helpful, frictionless content experiences. I also help maintain our company's Help Center where customers can find additional information about using our products, troubleshooting issues, and more.

 

Please briefly describe your path from graduation at GVSU to your current position. 
When I was graduating in the spring of 2015, I was looking at everything from content marketing positions to editorial assistant positions. There was a lot I knew I could do with my writing degree, and it was a bit overwhelming. But after doing more research, I became interested in the world of technical writing in software companies. I reviewed job descriptions (of jobs that I didn't yet qualify for) to see the career path and evolving responsibilities of a technical writer. Essentially, I found out I had a misconception of what a technical writer's responsibilities are and discovered the role was fit for someone with writing expertise (duh), project management, and an interest in design and content strategy. I started focusing my applications on the companies that had these roles. I discovered an internship at my company and applied. I went through a few interviews and then was offered the internship. Halfway through the internship, I was offered a full-time position.

 

What parts of the writing major had the strongest impact on you as a professional? 
I truly believe that the focus on collaboration within the classroom heavily influenced my success in this role. Working with other writers, learning how to talk about writing and design-related concepts, being able to defend your choices—all of these things related to communication and shared project ownership are crucial in my day-to-day world.

 

What advice would you offer to current/future writing majors at Grand Valley? 
First, the more traditional "practical advice": The skill set you gain from a writing degree is hugely marketable. It applies to a lot of industries and roles. Don't feel like you need to box yourself into one position, whether it be teaching, publishing, or something else. Explore different outlets where you can flex those writing skills in interesting and new ways. And if you are set on a specific career, I would still suggest doing this as it will be a great way to have more diversity in your experience and expertise.

Second, the more personal advice: Believe in yourself. That's super cheesy, I know. But writing, even when building software, is personal. Whether it's from the way you write a poem to a technical procedure, you're using emotion to create something that's going to be consumed by others. That does take guts and a lot of skill. So be confident in that skill set, and rely on it whenever you question yourself. (And if you need help with this, talk to professors in the Department of Writing. I got this advice from Professor José, and it truly is one of the reasons I've already gotten this far in my career.)

 

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Page last modified February 27, 2018