Re: MA in English or engineering classes?

Subject: Re: MA in English or engineering classes?
From: Tom Murrell <trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2002 05:40:57 -0700 (PDT)

Christine Zucker wonders whether pursuing an MA in English or an AA in
Engineering would be more beneficial for a Technical Writing career.

It's 6-5 and pick 'em. I have a BA in Business Administration, a BA in English
Literature, and an MA in English Literature, so I suppose it might sound
hypocritical of me to say that you don't need the MA in English to further
enhance your employability and career. I also worked for nearly ten years as a
computer programmer/developer/system analyst before I got into technical
writing, so it might also sound disengenuous of me to say that you don't need
the AA (or some sort of credentials) in Engineering or some other technical

But those are the things I'm going to say, both of them. I'll be contrarian, if
nothing else, and suggest that what you need at this point is experience, both
in a technical sense and in a writing sense. Any technical certification you
get at this point might not be the certification you would need to qualify for
specific jobs that open in your geographical area, and they won't guarantee you
employment or an inside position in an interviewing process. Once you've had a
few jobs, you'll be in a better position to see what sort of further education
will benefit your career, and you.

I have always maintained that a writer's job (and that includes a technical
writer) is to learn and then explain. I tell prospective employers/clients that
I may not know a lot about their products, services, or technologies, but that
it's my job to learn these things and explain them to the appropriate
audiences. And I've learned that most of the time what you need to know in a
specific job to be effective as a technical communicator is not what is taught
in school but what is learned on the job.

Good Luck!

Tom Murrell
mailto:tmurrell -at- columbus -dot- rr -dot- com
Personal Web Page - Last Updated 06/03/02
--Small change can sometimes be found under seat cushions. (Lazarus Long/Robert A. Heinlein)--

Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! - Official partner of 2002 FIFA World Cup

Your monthly sponsorship message here reaches more than
5000 technical writers, providing 2,500,000+ monthly impressions.
Contact Eric (ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com) for details and availability.

Check out RoboDemo for tutorials! It makes creating full-motion software
demonstrations and other onscreen support materials easy and intuitive.
Need RoboHelp? Save $100 on RoboHelp Office in May with our mail-in rebate.
Go to
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

MA in English or engineering classes?: From: Zucker, Christine

Previous by Author: Re: FWD: handling non-tech writing jobs on resume
Next by Author: Re: Best way to "pitch" technical writing services
Previous by Thread: RE: MA in English or engineering classes?
Next by Thread: Re: MA in English or engineering classes?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads