On Document Management Technician Work : an Interview with Nickia Bell

This is an interview with Nickia Bell, Document Management Technician for a federal government contractor, done by Naomi House of INALJ. This is part of INALJ’s 2020 series on non-library jobs for library workers

On Document Management Technician Work :
an Interview with Nickia Bell

Q1: Thanks so much for taking the time to help us better understand what Document Management Technician work is and how LIS folk can get into this field. First could you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you got your MLIS (or your educational background) and what you do?

My name is Nickia Bell and I am from Detroit, Michigan. I graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in English in 2007, and a MLIS in Library and Information Science in 2009, and volunteered for a V.A. medical library six years, simultaneously worked for two public libraries for four years, and am currently a federal contractor, with the title of Document Management Technician (DMT) going on a year.

Q2: Now can you tell us how You personally got into doing this type of work?

I found that my chances to develop a career in public librarianship were limited, so I opened my mind to finding a career path outside of the traditional libraries. With assistance from reading articles and researching non traditional LIS titles on the INALJ website, I began tailoring my resumes to apply for different positions, highlighting my computer and technological abilities. By chance, I applied for the DMT post, which is a federal contract position, figuring that it would be a step up into a new direction on my career path, information management.

Q3: What makes this a great field for LIS workers and likewise, what do you think makes LIS workers strong candidates for hiring managers in this field?

Being a librarian I felt that working with databases, utilizing the Microsoft Office suite, having organizational skills, and having experience in volunteering for the federal government prepared me for my current role as a DMT. I will admit that when I entered this field, I did not know much about the work, but having trained in it, combined with the skills I already have, have made my transition into my new role seamlessly. I am still taking advantage of every training opportunity to improve myself as a DMT, and have so far headed one project for recording printed documentation into electronic files.

Q4: What is the best way to get your foot in the door or your first document management technician job? 

The best way to start is to have a college-educated background. Next, search out any volunteer and/or internship opportunity that would build up your technological skills (i.e. databases) and take free/ low-cost courses (i.e. Lynda.com) that promotes that type of work. I would also suggest that you highlight your technological and computer skills on your resumes.

Q5: Finally what are some of the most important skills / certifications / etc that LIS folk can do to prepare them? Any last tips?

As I already mentioned, I would emphasize having knowledge and skills in operating databases and using basic computer software programs like the Microsoft suite, being able to adequately organize information into print and digital documentation, and having good listening skills for document transcriptions. Final tips, you asked? If any sort of professional development training is offered in your current position, take it. If you need to look elsewhere for professional development, do so. Don’t shy away from taking a new step in life and don’t give up.

Interviewee Bio
Nickia Bell was born, educated, and is currently working in a federal contract position of Document Management Technician for the federal government in Detroit, Michigan. She was educated in the Detroit public school system, and received both Bachelor of Arts and a Master in Library and Information Science degrees from Wayne State University.
Pronouns: she/ her


Views expressed are those of the interviewee and not INALJ or their employer. Photo by @tolu-bamwo-nappy from nappy.co. Licensing and permission information.

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Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of T160K.org, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.