Technical writing program | How to contribute

Technical writing program

SUMO Technical Writing Program. Currently not active

Program description

Important note: The Technical Writing program is currently not active. If you wish to get involved and improve your technical writing skills we would love to welcome you as a volunteer. We have all the documentation you need and your profile will list all your contributions, so you will be able to use them as a reference. If you want some guidance you can always ask our friendly community in the Knowledge Base Forum.

The Firefox web browser is Mozilla's flagship open-source project used by millions of people. Mozilla is a global, nonprofit organization dedicated to making the web better. We emphasize principle over profit, and believe that the web is a shared public resource to be cared for, not a commodity to be sold.

The SUMO technical writing program provides the opportunity for students and professionals to be part of the team that provides help for millions of Firefox users around the world and learn new skills. ("SUMO" is our nickname for the software platform that runs the Firefox Knowledge Base.)

The program gives an insight into the software industry, allowing the participants to understand how the release of Firefox works and what the important factors for providing support are. The program is open to anyone interested in the technology industry, in open source software and or in technical writing.

As Firefox releases a new version every six weeks the program aims to introduce the participants to each stage of the release cycle and the different tasks related to it. Technical writers will be able to expand their research skills, learn how to communicate in highly distributed teams and to work collaboratively with a community of paid staff and passionate volunteers.

The program will allow participants to prove and improve their writing skills, while having a real impact on Firefox users across the globe. Our community and staff will review the work, give feedback and participants will be able to attend various workshops.

The program is structured around Firefox releases. When a participant has contributed to a complete release cycle, he or she will get a certificate from our staff. As the writing is public, published in our websites and translated into multiple languages, participants have the possibility of linking to it as a work sample for prospective employers.

Benefits at a glance

  • Learn and improve technical writing skills
  • Acquire professional experience in the technology industry
  • Receive a certificate from Mozilla
  • Receive mentoring from the SUMO staff
  • Learn to work in a highly distributed and fast paced open source project and acquire collaboration and organization skills
  • Learn about the release, documentation and support cycle of Firefox
  • Have an immediate impact on millions of Firefox users looking for documentation and help
  • Learn to work with translators and have your work translated to many languages
  • Be part of the passionate and vibrant Mozilla community and push the open web forward
  • Acquire research skills

Who can apply

The program is open to anyone interested in technical writing. It is particularly interesting for college students aiming for professional experience, but also for technical writing professionals wishing to acquire new skills.

How to apply

To apply to the program you can just send an email (rardila AT mozilla.com) with your areas of interest and what you wish to get from the program. If you have any samples of your work you can attach them, so that our team can find the right tasks for you. You should have a minimum of 2 hours a week to commit to the project. Your certificate will acknowledge your contribution, so that it is reflected when you have done an exceptional work. Loving the open web is definitely a plus!

How the program is structured

The program is structured around Firefox releases. The content manager will create a plan with all the tasks that will be completed by the release task force. Participants will work with experienced contributors, paid staff but also with new contributors.

Ideally participants will begin the program on parallel to the start of the release preparations, so that they can have insights into each step of the way. It is nevertheless possible to start at a different time, but to get the certificate, participants must complete at least one entire cycle.

The tasks will be distributed at the beginning of the cycle, but the task force will adapt to the changes in the release cycle and will be ready to act if there are special needs. The content manager will hold weekly meetings with the task force and will be available for requests. The other members of the SUMO community will also be there to assist with any questions.

Before each step starts (research, documentation, review, release, tweaks, etc.) the content manager will give participants an overview of how the process works during the weekly meeting. There will be also documentation on this.

Our more experienced technical writers will conduct workshops throughout the release cycle and other SUMO members will hold workshops as well, giving the participants insight into all areas of support. Once you complete the cycle, you will get a certificate acknowledging your contribution and if your contribution qualifies you can add yourself to the Firefox credits. Ideally you'll already love being part of SUMO and will continue to help us as an active volunteer to spread the open web around the world and provide amazing support to our users.

More information

If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to contact Joni Savage (jsavage AT mozilla.com).

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