Re: Education for tech writers

Subject: Re: Education for tech writers
From: David Castro <thetechwriter -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Karen Field <kfield -at- STELLCOM -dot- com>, TECHWR-L Mailing List <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 08:29:20 -0800 (PST)

--- Karen Field <kfield -at- STELLCOM -dot- com> wrote:
> 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?

This is remarkably like my own situation. In February of 1995, I applied for
graduation. In May, I went through graduation ceremonies. That same month, I
started at a new job as a technical writer. Three months later (eight months
after applying for graduation) I got a letter from SFSU telling me that I
didn't have enough units to graduate (it took them that long to figure it out).
I had completed all of my G.E., all of the required classes for my major
(technical & professional writing), but had fallen short on some "total number
of units" that are required for a degree.

Well, I was three months into a new job, and newly married. I couldn't exactly
drop everything to go back and finish the remaining 11 units. I found out that
there was no time limit on finishing those 11 units, so I've been (slowly)
working on getting them finished.

I took a class in computer security at the local college, for three units. I
took an online class in database design for three units. I'm just now finishing
up another online class on the Java programming language, for two units. That
leaves three more units to finish up my B.A.

Oh, and I'm currently making over 2X what I made in my first job out of
college. Has my lack of degree slowed me down? Hardly! Do I still think it's
worth pursuing? Well, yes and no. Do I think that having it will bring me more
money? No. But do I think that the classes that I'm taking to achieve the
degree will make me more marketable? Definitely!

So, if you can "kill two birds with one stone," in the classes that you take,
that'd be the way that I'd suggest you go. If you can't, then if you have a
couple of years of experience under your belt, I'd recommend that you focus on
skills and tools in the classes that you take. These are the things that will
land you jobs (and contracts, later), not a degree from a university.

-David Castro
thetechwriter -at- yahoo -dot- com

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