Re: On degrees and the like...

Subject: Re: On degrees and the like...
From: "Peter Nelson" <peter_nelson -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 17:06:12 -0500

I've been following this discussion under its various headings and I'd like
to post a couple of cents worth.

I graduated in 1969 with a BA in Liberal Arts with a concentration in the
social sciences. The liberal arts program at my state college was brand new
and came in only three flavors, social sciences, natural sciences and

I went to college to get an education. My fellow students (most of whom
were in the teacher training program) often asked "What are you going to do
with a liberal arts degree"? My answer was "I'll cross that bridge when I
come to it". I'm still looking for the bridge.

I've done many things in my many years. I've used the education I received
in all of them.

I came to technical writing as an SME in 1990. I had 14 years experience in
all phases of the industrial gas industry. Many of the groups in the
company I worked for were not getting equipment O&M manuals out in a timely
fashion. I saw that as an opportunity. I left the company and began
writing their manuals as a freelancer. I studied everything I could get my
hands on about technical writing and page layout. My early manuals were
adequate (better than what was done inhouse) and as time went on they became

It's now 2000 and I've done a lot of work with two of the largest industrial
gas companies in the world.

I guess I've rambled some, but I wanted to set the background. Not everyone
can be as saturated with the material their writing about as I am. But it
was my education that taught me how to learn, how to think, and how to
approach unique situations.

Perhaps a subject matter degree (as multi-disciplined as possible) followed
by a year of training in the various tools we use would be the best
approach. The best of both worlds: Tech Comm stacked on top of a good
general education.

Peter Nelson

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