RE: real tech writers? RE: Out-of-Work Tech Writers and Switching Careers

Subject: RE: real tech writers? RE: Out-of-Work Tech Writers and Switching Careers
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2002 11:01:17 -0400


I must respectfully disagree...I do not have a tech writing degree... and I
really don't want one. I have a honors in communications degree that's 20
years old... but I didn't start in technical communications, I started in
that evil profession of marketing. I gained respect by producing useful
stuff for people who needed it.

Degrees do not make real tech writers... hard work, ability and experience
do. Plus, as David's wonderful assessment of people states, you have to
just love to communicate.

I applaud your decision to return to school, but it's not one everyone needs
to make. I find the challenge of keeping up with the profession more than
satisfactory without another set of initials behind my name.

Connie P. Giordano
Senior Technical Writer
Advisor Technology Services
A Fidelity Investments Company
704-330-2069 (w)
704-330-2350 (f)
704-957-8450 (c)
connie -dot- giordano -at- fmr -dot- com <mailto:connie -dot- giordano -at- fmr -dot- com>

"I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to
do it." - Pablo Picasso

-----Original Message-----
From: Janet Murphy [mailto:janet -at- fuse -dot- net]
Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 10:50 AM
Subject: Re: real tech writers? RE: Out-of-Work Tech Writers and
Switching Careers

I mostly lurk on this list, but I'm coming out to applaud your
categorization of
tech writers -- technical communcators, I call us.

I've been in the biz for 14 yrs nows. I LOVE it, even the crummy parts of

After sinking my teeth into TC, I quickly found that if I wanted to succeed
the field and be respected as a TC, I needed to go back to school. I live in
Cincinnati, which has several colleges and universities close by. I found
best program in my area, succeeded in getting accepted, and am now on my way
finishing a Master's Degree in Technical Communication. It's taken me 7
but has been well worth the effort/cost [I've paid out of pocket, no
tuition aid].

Why did I do this? Because:
1. I grew tired of the TC competition beating me on projects because they
degrees/certificates specific to the field.
2. A degree in TC helps to overcome employer/HR perceptions that "anyone"
3. I wanted respect from the technical people and end-users. By taking the
to study the TC discipline, theories, and publishing methods/tools has given
an ever-growing knowledge base that is invaluable and helps tremendously in
working w/end users and technical people.
4. Most importantly, I realized that I didn't know what I didn't know --
ignorance was hampering my ability to succeed professionally [i.e., staying
employed]. Solution: go back to school.

What frustrates me about other TW/TC I have worked with:
1. Many come from various backgrounds/disciplines and profess to "have a
for TC. Please -- if you have a knack, back it up with REAL training. Get
degree in the field or at least a certificate. Someone professing to be a
that has no real training in the discipline will quickly be identified
dis-respected by those who DO have training in the field.

2. I can't think of a #2 right now.

Thanks for the soapbox.

Janet Murphy
Cincinnati OH

David Lettvin wrote:

> <snip to wonderful soapbox>
> Technical Writers
> --------------------
> This person loves to communicate. They may like technology, or write
> in their free time, but at the core they love their craft. There is
> they would rather do than make the light go on in the user's brain. Real
> technical writers are passionate about their discipline, their craft, and
> their challenges.
> I regret to say that they are the smallest group.

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