Writing as an Autonomous Systems Expert
By Scott, writer for autonomous systems developers
I started at MathWorks after graduating with a master’s in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech. I was excited about robotics, autonomous systems, and technology’s effect on our future. I applied for the robotics technical writer position as I had used MATLAB and Simulink extensively in school and felt confident I could support the company by writing cool examples and demos. The goal was to continue my education in robotics by working with other engineers and gain experience documenting their features. I was excited to influence and define solutions to engineering problems.
“I was excited to influence and define solutions to engineering problems.”
In the six years that I’ve been at MathWorks, I have grown to support a full suite of products for autonomous systems like robotics, navigation, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). My career as an engineering technical writer has been challenging, and I’ve developed a lot of skills and knowledge. My work has helped set the standards for many different robotics applications, and engineers use our products to solve many interesting problems in the real world.
Our work requires in-depth knowledge of the features we write for. As the person creating the user-facing content for our products, you must be able to precisely and effectively communicate how to work through the problems we solve and explain the algorithms we provide. Since starting here at MathWorks, I have become well-versed in the current state of robotics manipulator control, SLAM lidar map-building algorithms, and UAV scenario simulation. As all the developers on my team work to implement new features and algorithms, I must ramp up quickly on the same knowledge and work to ensure our customers understand how to use the technology.
“Probably my favorite role as a writer is to be the first customer who uses newly developed code to build educational and practical examples.”
Probably my favorite role as a writer is to be the first customer who uses newly developed code to build educational and practical examples. Writers are often the first to use and experiment with features like our customers would. As a robotics engineer, this is the perfect opportunity to break out the robot toys and send them exploring around the room. We schedule regular bashes involving our new features to test out and play!
MathWorks also encourages a tightly knit development team. During design reviews, writers develop clear visions of engineering problems, research customer workflows, and help define the products’ direction. We are closely involved in scoping and user-facing decisions for our products. I take pride in our products because I’ve been a part of the process from the beginning.
MathWorks’ main mission is to accelerate the pace of engineering and science. As a pragmatic person, I feel it made a lot of sense to invest in improving the tools of modern engineers. By increasing the productivity of other engineers, I am supporting all the great work they achieve. The work we do to develop algorithms, educate others, and define standard workflows helps create a pipeline for engineers to ramp up and work quickly in their own application space.
Part of our initial training involves educating us on the core values for our company. I was inspired when I learned the philosophies of the company and felt these values really made sense. We believe in building a rational workplace, pursuing continuous improvement, and investing in growth for ourselves and others. This pursuit of excellence inspires me to do my best work, constantly reflect, and strive to do more.
“I take pride in our products because I’ve been a part of the process from the beginning.”
Working at MathWorks as a writer has been a rewarding and challenging career. I started as a recent graduate looking to learn, and continued to push my knowledge, skills, and roles. My work has helped to support our products, understand our customers, and improve the world of engineering and science.
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