Kristi McCombs, Technical Writer and Software Trainer, Plain Black Corp.

Article ImageName With The Face:
Kristi McCombs

Job Title:
Technical Writer and Software Trainer

Plain Black Corp.


Job Function:
In her role at Plain Black Corp., which makes an open source tool called CMS WebGUI, Kristi McCombs writes software documentation and trains clients on content management. Interestingly, the role draws on many of the skills she held in her former job as a high school English teacher.

"I train people from all over the world, and curriculum development and understanding of different learning modes all still applies," says McCombs. "And I still give assignments; It's old school but it helps customers retain what I've shown them." While she occasionally travels to conduct on-site training workshops-she prefers the face-to-face contact-a move into the world of digital content and a home office has meant polishing her skills at communicating remotely, both with customers and internally at Plain Black.

In a Day's Work:
McCombs' typical day starts with an early online training session, sometimes while still in her pajamas. "Then I focus on whatever task is next on the list, anything from creating a video tutorial for an online video library or writing a set of instructions for a specific content application." When the client workload leaves time, McCombs work on the company's WebGUI user guides. (Gooey, the purple octopus in McCombs' picture, is the project's mascot.)

Most Memorable Customer Encounter:
"Recently, we brought two puppies into our household, and they didn't like being crated while I worked. I decided to let them out to play while I did phone training. All was going well until one of the puppies walked up to my chair and pooed right in front of me. There I was, headphones plugged into my laptop, cleaning up while trying not to let on to my training attendees that something was going on."

View From the Desk:
"I'm fortunate to work from home, so when I need to clear my head I can go right out the back door and take a long walk. I have a favorite chair where I curl up with my laptop."

Outside Interest:
"I love spending time with my family, especially relaxing and taking time to enjoy our kids while they're still young. I like to travel, but my list of placesto go is still far longer than my ‘have been' places."

If Not Econtent, Then What?
"I'd be a florist. Or maybe I'd return to teaching in the classroom and try my hand with younger children."