Re: Education for tech writers

Subject: Re: Education for tech writers
From: Jo Francis Byrd <jbyrd -at- byrdwrites -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 10:11:33 -0600

I became a tech writer back in '93 with NO experience, just raw talent - and a
WONderful mentor. One campus of the local junior college here in Dallas offers a
TW certification program. I didn't know it existed. By the time I learned about
it, I'd progressed enough that getting the certification would have been counter

Every job I've had has taught me something new and/or allowed me to hone an
existing skill. These days I designate myself senior level. I have, by hard work
and producing quality documentation acquired a reputation for being one of the
best. Whether or not I really am is another issue, but if people want to believe
that...heck! who am _I_ to argue!

Pursuing TW certification now would be counter productive for me. Yes, I'd
probably learn stuff I don't know, if fact, I'm sure of it. But is it worth the
investment of time and money for me? At this point in my life, no.

That is the question you need to ask yourself: is it worth the investment of my
time and money, will I gain enough from the sacrifice to make it a worthwhile
goal? When you can answer that, you'll know whether or not to continue pursuing

Good luck!

Jo Byrd

Karen Field wrote:

> I've been working as a tech writer/editor for nearly four years now, and my
> career seems to be going well. In fact, it's going so well that I've been slow
> to finish my TW certificate at the local university. Now I'm reluctant
> to finish it because I've found my experience to be infinitely more valuable
> than what I'm learning in class. At this stage in life and career (I'm 32),
> how I spend my free time is monumentally important to me. In other words, I'm
> not interested in "paying dues" in a class unless it is directly applicable to
> my goals and/or offers info I don't yet know.
> Anyway, I've researched online learning and correspondence programs that seem
> to offer more immediately relevent courses. My question is this: If I pursue a
> certificate or some time of education from an alternate type of institution
> (such as online learning), will that look "hokey" on my resume, vs. such
> credentials from a "real" university? Keep in mind that my LT goals involve
> self-employment.

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