Re: On degrees and the like...

Subject: Re: On degrees and the like...
From: Marilynne Smith <marilyns -at- qualcomm -dot- com>
To: Eric Ray <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 12:01:29 -0800

Perhaps you should go to college for the degree of your choice. You should strive to be the best whoits you can. Once your degree is in hand, you can get training in Frame or RoboHelp or whatever is the current favorite tool of the people who are hiring technical writers. In this way, you could select the tools you need when you need them and you could get up to speed on them quickly. You could think of it the same way we used to buy brief cases to enhance our image - just another point of preparation along the way.

I for one, wouldn't consider taking Frame or RoboHelp at college. I think that's a specialty type of training and I'd probably take it from the Frame or RoboHelp people. Sure it's expensive, but The tools you learn in your Freshman year, might not be applicable to the job market you graduate into. When you're out there with your resume in hand, then you need to have a few tool skills to help you in the door.

I agree with others that once you've learned Frame or RoboHelp and are competent at it, a new employer should be able to assume you can learn their in-house software with little trouble.


At 07:39 AM 3/28/00, Eric Ray wrote:

On degrees and the like...
(The amount of time in a curriculum needed to teach even
enough Frame or RoboHelp or HTML for _all_ students to be
marginally functional is decidedly non-trivial...)

In other words, the degree programs that most effectively
prepare students for _getting_ a job may not be the ones
that most effectively prepare students for _excelling_ in
a job in the long term. Or they may be--I don't know for sure.
Do I have a proposal or answer? No. But I think that there's
more to being a really good technical writer than can come
from any program, any certificate, and any specific set of
requirements, and I think that we'd be doing ourselves and the
profession a service if we were to focus our energies on how
to help people enter the profession and on how to prepare
people to succeed in the profession, rather than beating the
dead horses of STC, certification, degrees, and the like.
There must be an answer beyond serendipity and relying on
the good fortune to stumble into the right internship or
mentoring relationship, but I don't know what that answer is.

Any other thoughts?
ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com

~!~ ~!~ ~!~ ~!~ ~!~ ~!~ ~!~
Marilynne Smith
Sr. Technical Writer
marilyns -at- qualcomm -dot- com
(858) 651-6664

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