Re: Is TW Still Hospitable to Novices? A Dilemma

Subject: Re: Is TW Still Hospitable to Novices? A Dilemma
From: "Jane Bergen" <jane -dot- bergen -at- usa -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 08:16:05 -0600

While I do agree that the qualities mentioned by Elna Tymes are the
MOST desirable in a writer, they are also the LEAST measurable by a
prospective employer....especially when the candidate is attempting to
just break into the field without any experience.

Unfortunately...or fortunately, depending upon your perspective....
the opportunities for non-trained tech writers are becoming more
scarce. Employers don't have the interest, time, or resources to train
a newbie, especially when trained writers are available and can hit
the ground running. If a candidate can find the opportunity, then he
or she should go for it. Just be aware that it is becoming the
exception rather than the rule. The days when anyone can get a tech
writing job are thankfully over. Someone without experience who has
had at least a little training will have something to show for it, and
will have a few clues about how tech writing differs from other types
of writing--- and more importantly, *why* it is different.


----- Original Message -----
From: Elna Tymes

> Dana Worley wrote:
> > > Sometimes they offered friendly advice. One would say get an IT
> > > degree; another would suggest a tech writer's certification
> > > program.
> >
> > If your friend wants to be a Tech Writer, then TW certification is
> > way to go (if he has the resources to do so).
> I couldn't agree less with Dana's contention that you need a TW
certificate to
> get into the field. I am a hiring manger of tech writers (and
others), and a
> TW certificate is decidedly NOT worth much to me. What matters to
me is (and
> I've said this before - go read the archives) (1) the ability to
> clearly, concisely, and accurately; (2) the ability to learn, and
> quickly; (3) some experience with the tools of the trade; and (4)
some exposure
> to technical topics in the area you're trying to enter. For
instance, if
> you're hoping to write API documentation, it helps if you know how
to program
> in one of the popular languages. If you want to try your hand at
> and telecommunications gobbledygook (pardon - I'm up to my eyeballs
in such
> right now and frustrated at how mucked-up some engineers' writing
and thinking
> can be), it helps if you can explain how a LAN works and what
protocols are.
> But beyond that, what is most important about what you can bring is
> curiosity and desire to learn, and your willingness to learn on your
own. At
> least that's what I look for.

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