DeveloperWeek New York 2020 DeveloperWeek New York 2020
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Technically Speaking: Improve Your Code with Documentation

- EST
Main Stage
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Alexandra White
Google, Technical Writer

Alexandra is a technical writer for Google Ad Manager. In this role, she focuses on writing help center documentation for publishers. Prior to Google, she was a technical writer for Joyent, a web developer for WNET/PBS, and a digital marketer for JCC Association.

Alexandra has a bachelor’s degree in professional writing with an emphasis in digital and technical writing from Michigan State University.


Well written instructions, informative comments throughout code, clearly scripted screencasts, and smart information architecture can take complex code and make it accessible to new developers. In the age of code sharing, this can be imperative to teaching the next generation of developers, passing along your code to successors, and help you better understand your own work.

When I was an engineer, helpful READMEs and other docs created by my colleagues were crucial to quick onboarding and coming back to old products. Now, as a full time technical writer, I rely on our engineers to be able to concisely explain how products work. From these experiences, I feel it is essential that everyone feel empowered to write documentation, not just the technical writers.

In this talk we’ll discuss:

+ Why writing docs is important for engineers
+ Understanding your audience
+ Optimizing for the deliverable: READMEs, code comments, tutorials, release notes, and more

We’ll also cover some tips for communicating about your past work to your future self.