Re: career in TW for MFA?

Subject: Re: career in TW for MFA?
From: Glen Warner <gdwarner -at- ricochet -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 04:43:43 -0700

"Pam Hurley" <hurleyp -at- worldnet -dot- att -dot- net> wrote:

> Hi all,
> A former student of mine has suddenly realized that her MFA has been
a waste
> of time (i.e., she can't find a job), and she's interested in the TW

Hmmmm ....

> She took two writing classes while in college, Business Writing and
TW, has
> few computer skills, and has no idea what aspect of TW she's
interested in.

Here in Seattle, there are three (four, if you count the one run by a
MCSE-type place) schools offering training in technical writing
(Seattle Central Community College, Bellevue Community College, and
the University of Washington (offers both a certificate and a BSCT).
Each of these schools has some sort of introductory presentation on
the field as well as their respective programs.

Additionally, we have an adult education outfit called Discover-U,
which is Seattle's version of The Learning Annex. Discover-U offers
(every few months or so) a four hour, one day class which provides a
pretty good overview of the field -- which is why I decided to go into
this field.

If your city has something similar to either of these programs, urge
your (former) student to attend. If she can attend more than one, so
much the better.

> I suggested that she go back to school, either to get additional
> knowledge or a Master's in TW, but she insists she's through with
> school.
> Any suggestions for her?

She's going to have to go back to school.

Make sure she understands that she'll be in some sort of class, one
way or another, just to do her job -- whether it's training in the
company's product, plus a one month stint on the phones taking calls,
or a cram class in HTML, classes go along with the job.

The Masters in Technical Writing sounds like a good option, but it
might be better for her to simply take a lot of computer classes:
Word, Photoshop, perhaps software testing.

It's probably (hopefully!) different where you are, but a lot of the
jobs I see for entry level tech writers (which is where I am) require
a lot of computer skills: Word, Photoshop, HTML, C++, Java,
JavaScript, ASP, Visual Basic -- some companies actually want their
tech writers to know all of this, and have their MCSE too!

If your former student wishes to try all this without going back to
take a few classes, wish her luck for me.


> Thanks!
> Pam Hurley

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