Training alternatives

Subject: Training alternatives
From: Del Simcox <delsimcox -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 2004 13:15:08 -0500

I have been eavesdropping on this list for a few weeks because I am interested in getting a foothold as a technical writer. I have an engineering degree, and have experience using some of the software tools of your trade - FrameMaker, Word, and Adobe Creative Suite. In addition, I have authored a few documents and websites for a former employer. That's where I discovered my interest in writing and illustrating.

My goal is to become qualified to get contract work that will keep me occupied well into my retirement years - which is only a few short years away. I live in the Minneapolis area, and there seem to be plenty of opportunities for tech writers in the job listings. Most of the jobs require skills and experience that I've not yet had. Here's my question for you experts:

What should I do to prepare myself to be qualified for tech writing work? Should I go back to school and get a minor in Technical Communications? Should I get certificate from an on-line institution (Brooklyn College has a certificate program - in fact they have links to TECHWR archives)? What might be an appropriate career path for a mature, versatile person like myself?

I would be very interested in hearing advice or experiences from any one who has time to respond. And very appreciative, too. Thanks!


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