RE: Education for tech writers

Subject: RE: Education for tech writers
From: Kathleen Padova <kpadova -at- Paytrust -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 14:41:30 -0500

After 13 years I am finally finishing my undergraduate degree. Unlike David,
I have waaaayyyy more credits needed to graduate; I just never "fit" any of
the majors. At one point I *was* a tech & sci comm major.

Last summer I went back to school and asked for the cheapest, fastest way
outta here. They were just about to offer a BS in General Studies and I
offered to be their poster child. Despite having enough credits I STILL
didn't fit the program requirements and spent the last several months
cramming in classes. If all the paperwork makes it through, I am expected to
graduate this June with 225.5 credits (the degree requires 180 credits).

Why am I doing this? It certainly hasn't hurt my career. An undergraduate
degree would *not* result in an increase in salary or promotion. The only
time my lack of degree was a hindrance was when a recruiter wanted to place
me at a large company who refused to look at anyone without an undergrad
degree. Interestingly, this company would accept contractors without a
degree; but could not offer permanent employment.

I am doing this because I finally found a master's degree program I want to
take (Information and Library Science). For some reason, grad schools kinda
insist on a bachelor's degree before you enroll :)

I decided that it didn't matter what my BS was in, my work experience speaks
for itself when applying for a job or grad school.

If I had a tech writing degree or certificate when I was first starting out,
that probably would have helped get my first or second job. I might not have
had professional experience or extensive portfolio; but hopefully I'd have a
clue :)

Evenutally your education will be a footnote on your resume. As you say your
work experience has become more valuable. However, I still list the
programming classes I took at community college under Education because it
showed I wanted to learn what I was writing about. Since I never actually
programmed as part of any job experience it was the only way to demonstrate
this understanding without pretending expertise.

As for self-employment, I have considered it; but I am rather clueless about
running a business. I want to take general business classes (including
marketing and accounting) before giving it a go on my own.

Kathleen Padova
(soon-to-be B.S. General Studies, Individualized Studies: Concentration in
Communications; Minor in Technical Theater Production. I can't wait to see
them try and fit THAT on the diploma.)

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