Re: How are technical writers perceived?

Subject: Re: How are technical writers perceived?
From: lestatvampire39 -at- hotmail -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002 13:27:32

In your experience, is English (or journalism) perceived negatively by
hiring managers, as opposed a more technical area of study?

In my experience hiring managers come in two basic flavors, those who
prefer technically inclined technical writers and those who prefer English
Majors.

Normally, in the industries I've worked in, this would be the breakdown:

aviation - technician/engineering background, ex-military, mechanical or
pilot;
software development - mix of English or computer science;
integrated circuits - almost always engineering;
API/SDK - same as software development;
web content - mostly English;
telecom - all of the above;
technical marketing - kinda speaks for itself;
bio/pharma - usually a BSc;
web design - mix of English and computer science (back end applications
almost always computer science);
military programs - 75% ex-mil, 25% technical;
hardware documentation (consumer goods and other) - total mix; and
ISO and procedural - primarily journalism.

Please keep in mind, this is a generalization. If you are writing an
operating instruction for a fax machine, you don't need a technical
background. However, if you are writing the service manual for the
technicians who trouble-shoot and repair the fax machine, you need a
technical background. The engineers who developed the fax machine will
provide little, if any, data on how to repair or diagnose a problem.

As for money, those with technical backgrounds normally get paid more. The
exception to this is telecom.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Mouse Potato

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