Re: The Best TC/TW/TE Education...commentary

Subject: Re: The Best TC/TW/TE Education...commentary
From: Gale Stafford <gstafford -at- bitwiser -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 10:50:58 -0500


John Posada wrote some excellent stuff (deleted):

Comments?
I personally like the approach John detailed, regarding "success in technical writing". I got into technical writing from doing software technical support. The documentation at my company really needed help, and I convinced management that I could improve it. I got some books on technical writing; and since I already knew the software well, I could write well on it from day one.

My first freelance gig was writing a software user's guide. I convinced them to hire me for the job because I had so much experience supporting software, answering people's questions on software, training people on software, etc. My tech writing experience didn't amount to much, probably less than two years at that time.

The way I market myself now is by emphasizing my tech skills. I can pick up new things quckly. Right now I'm learning the basics of Linux, mysql, and python. Recently, on a flight back from business in San Francisco, I met someone who might need documentation for Zope, an open source content management system. So now I'm going to sit down and learn the basics of Zope. When I contact my client, I'll be in a good position to talk technical with him and convince him I can "hit the ground running" on his project.

I personally think open source software is going to keep growing in popularity and hence, the need for tech writers in this field will be greater and greater.

Certainly, we all must write clearly and organize our content well, address the needs of the audience -- all that stuff is vital. Again, I feel that many writers can do that. One must have unique strengths to stand out from others in today's job market. For me, the unique strengths are tech-focused: commercial and open source software, databases, Linux.

And yes, if you live in Detroit, and you're out of work, start learning about automobiles. ;-)

my 2 cents,
Gale Stafford
freelance technical writer
Champaign, IL / San Francisco, CA


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References:
RE: The Best TC/TW/TE Education...commentary: From: John Posada

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