We caught up with Nevin Power, Information Developer in Johnson Controls to find out what the role involves and what they do in Johnson Controls.
With the rise of information developer opportunities in Ireland, we find more and more people interested in a career change to technical writing and information development.
An Italian renaissance artist walks into a multinational conglomerate…
Most of us know Leonardo da Vinci as one of the most famous artists of all time. However he was also an engineer, and if he were alive today he would be considered an information developer as well. Besides the Mona Lisa he drew up plans for:
- a primitive form of helicopter
- a mechanical knight
- civil engineering projects like city defences and bridges
The reason we know so much of da Vinci’s work today is because of the thorough documentation that he left behind, describing how his inventions should be constructed and how they would work.
In essence what da Vinci did in combining art and engineering, illustration and documentation, was a precursor to the modern field of information development. He wasn’t the first to the party either as the Ancient Greeks and Romans had been writing about their scientific work using the principles of modern technical documentation. Engineering advances made in the early twentieth century also included the rise of technical writing as a field but it was not until the post-World War Two period, and the advent of the computer, that the field really took off to be one of the fastest-growing employment sectors in the world today. Indeed it was in 1949 that the first commercially available computer, the BINAC, was made for aircraft manufacturer Northrop Grumman and was delivered complete with a user manual. This was unusual as computers were usually built within universities or labs where the staff who used them had also helped to design and build them. With more and more computers being sold to people without prior experience in their use, the technical documentation behind them, and all of the other important products which came to prevalence after World War Two, became all the more important. This technical documentation needed to be clear and understandable, written in language that people of many skills levels could comprehend and, if necessary, contain diagrams which aided that understanding.
The contemporary information developer continues many of the traits of that time, and those of which da Vinci pioneered, by creating technical documentation that clearly describes a product or service with the end goal of helping the end user to use the product as easily as possible.
In Johnson Controls that can mean many things. For some of the information developers in One Albert Quay it means accurately documenting fire suppression systems for both experts and non-experts alike so that systems are easy to use in a pressurised situation such as a building fire. For others it means documenting updates to access control systems so installers understand updates made from one release of the software to the next and understand any issues before rolling out the software to stadiums and government buildings.
For others again it means creating the documentation behind smart building management platforms to enable air conditioning, lighting, security and safety controls to be centrally managed through an Internet of Things platform. This doesn’t mean sitting in front of Word documents all day as information development encompasses so much more than paper. The need to deliver instructions by video, animation, and even augmented reality is on the rise and we are on the leading edge of this.
In One Albert Quay, much in the same way da Vinci did, we create the information which documents the engineering and inventions of our future.
For more information on current positions in Johnson Controls, please do not hesitate to contact us on 021 4260277