RE: tech writer to software developer

Subject: RE: tech writer to software developer
From: Matthew Horn <mhorn -at- macromedia -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2001 15:52:41 -0500

Your first question: Absolutely possible.

While a thoroughly bored Tech Writer at a previous job, I volunteered to work on an internal document that would train new programmers at our company how to work with the very complicated code base I was writing for. After a couple months of putting the doc together, and taking classes in VB, Java, and database stuff, I got myself into the position of Software Engineer. The pay was better and I got to fix bugs which was infinitely more interesting than writing for this product.

Anyway, after a year of programming, I went out and got a job as a Technical Writer at a company that really wanted someone with programming experience. Had I not been an engineer for a year, I never would have had the skills to get the job I did. I have been happily writing ever since.

I guess the way I learned to make the transition is to do it within my company at the time. I started by proving I could write useful scripts (Perl), then make interface mockups (Visual Basic), and eventually work with the code (VB/InterDev). Walking into meetings with the engineers and talking intelligently about DCOM also gave someone the idea that I might be worth more to the company writing code instead of writing about it.

Your second question: Journalism isn't going away.

-----Original Message-----
From: Dishaa Ganapathy [mailto:ualb -at- rediffmail -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, December 28, 2001 4:31 AM
Subject: tech writer to software developer

Is it possible to shift from being a technical writer to a software developer? Are there such cases?

Also with the dotcom bust what kind of oppertunities does a content writer have?

G. Dishaa

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