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Subject:RE: Education for tech writers From:melonie -dot- mcmichael -at- amd -dot- com To:TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com Date:Wed, 22 Mar 2000 11:22:45 -0600
It doesn't surprise me anymore, but it still amazes me. I've taken a
3 month hiatus from the list and we are still talking about the same
stuff. :-) Education for tech writers is one of our favorite topics!
IMHO, technical writing requires a balance of technical ability and
communication skills. Good writers have one of these abilities and
have been trained in the other. Great writers are strong in both
and have been trained in both. Personally, I have an engineering
mind and a liberal arts eduction--it works for me.
We have also covered the "degree or not to degree" subject many
times before. My opinion, I think you learn a discipline in college,
tech writing on the job, and that employers use a degree as a weed-out
mechanism. Was it worth the money? For me, yes. For others,
I know this is a minority opinion but IMNVHO an undergraduate degree
should be in any liberal arts subject. The "how to" information should
come later. A good liberal arts course will teach a student how to think
and communicate his/her thoughts. My friends who are recruiters tell me
that art history majors are highly prized for entry level positions
training with major corporations. The "how-to" course will teach the
student what to communicate. I am not unmindful that education is
expensive. The failure to educate properly is more expensive than a long
run. Yes, I know that valuable experience can be obtained on the job. I
certainly commend those who have obtained their education in that
manner. But, one of my hot buttons is the expression "waste of time"
when combined in some fashion with the word "education." It may be
unreasonable that is why I am in and make no apology for that.
Perhaps if engineers had more of the liberal arts education many of the
difficulties I read about in this group would disappear.
BTW certification programs are important and necessary but, as I have
stated above, that should come after a liberal arts degree.