RE: Education for Technical Writers

Subject: RE: Education for Technical Writers
From: shelly -dot- l -dot- hazard -at- exgate -dot- tek -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2000 07:30:53 -0800

Karen said:
There is no one best method, no one educational track, that
produces good technical writers. Everybody learns differently,
starts out with a different set of natural abilities and known or
weaknesses. We all have different learning styles. No one degree
program or
certification can meet all of our individual needs.

I agree with her. Everyone's experiences are different and not everyone
follows the same career path - sometimes by choice and sometimes by
circumstances. Thomas Murrell mentioned yesterday his jagged path on the
road to Tech writing. Here is mine - which provides another jagged path,
but a different road ending at the same career.

I graduated from undergrad with a BS in electrical engineering - living in
Massachusetts (the wrong place to be with an engineering degree in 1990),
the best job I could find was as a production technician. I've been working
for the same company since (just passed my 9th anniversary) - I spent 3
years on the production floor as a technician, then moved to engineering as
an engineering assistant/documentation specialist, then moved into marketing
as a technical writer. I joke about myself because I was trained as an
engineer, have work experience in manufacturing, and now work in

But, I'm now firmly set on the path of technical writing with 3 years
experience under my belt. And I value all of my experience because, while
I've never designed a thing, I'm comfortable with manufacturing processes
and with engineering processes. I have practical experience with projects
and a wide variety of skills (I can kit it, build it, test it, write test
procedures for it, modify schematics about it, eco it, document it, and even
ship it if I had to....*grin*). Many of these skills may not be necessary
or useful to me as a technical writer, but they all give me a better
understanding of how the process as a whole works. And to an employer, my
resume reflects ample technical knowledge to satisfy their requirements.


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