RE: Somewhat OT: Tech writers vs. other writers

Subject: RE: Somewhat OT: Tech writers vs. other writers
From: Carolee Burgess <caroleeb -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 17 May 2003 23:45:20 -0400

ASUE Tekwrytr wrote:

> those majors are some of the softest
> around; if you show up for class and don't insult the instructor, you soon
> leave with a shiny BS in an impressive-sounding major.

I am finishing up a Master's in Tech Writing here at Northeastern; it's
still hard work even if you show up, don't insult the professors AND bring
them donuts.

> What advantage do the existing technical writers
> have over the wild proliferation of new, aspiring technical writer wannabes
> entering the field at an alarming rate?

In a word, EXPERIENCE. Everyone who is already in the field has an enormous
advantage over someone like me who is just starting to break in. Although I
will not refer to myself as a technical writer until I get my first position
(fingers crossed), neither do I view myself as a wannabe. I am fully aware
that a wetly inked degree does not a tech writer make, yet I feel that the
training is needed to even approach the field nowadays. The degree is what
could get me an entry level position so I can start building my experience.

> That means,
> essentially, entering the market a year or two from now as department heads
> or managers, rather than the "entry-level" positions at modest salaries
> available now. My question is whether that same amount of experience (salary
> aside) will provide them an equal or superior advantage, or simply prepare
> them to be low-level salaried employees.

I don't believe that any company would hire me as a department head or
manager simply because I have a Master's degree in Technical Writing and
nothing else to offer. Companies are far smarter than that and the market is
on their side; I wouldn't waste my time or theirs by applying to positions
for which I am not qualified. People should not try to avoid climbing the
ladder from the bottom rung up; you don't earn respect if you don't pay your

"He who hurries cannot walk with dignity."

Carolee B <caroleeb -at- earthlink -dot- net>


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