Re: Career Change for Sr. Network Admin

Subject: Re: Career Change for Sr. Network Admin
From: Lisa Wright <liwright -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2004 18:24:24 -0700

If you feel that moving out of network admin and into technical writing will make you happier, then my opinion is that you are absolutely not crazy. Be happy. Like what you do.

I think an online technical writing course is a great idea, especially if you've been out of the classroom for awhile. It can give you a frame of reference when someone asks how you might do something. Look for one that teaches some form of electronic publishing, such as online help, content management, etc. Many of the software vendors have trials and tutorials you could work on in a weekend--check job ads in SF or wherever you think you might end up to see what would be most effective.

I don't have pointers to portfolio information; you might check the archives. My portfolio is a 3-ring that has tabs for different kinds of documents, and the documents are in slip covers to keep things neat. The binder zips closed so everything stays nice over time. In the pocket is a CD with web-based help that I wrote. Lots of people have web portfolios, but most of my stuff is proprietary, so I let employers know up front that I can't publish my work freely. (I thank Eric and Deb Ray for the inspiration for this from their own web page.) It seems very old-fashioned, but it works very well. If I were marketing myself more as a contract/independent company writer, I'd probably have a web presence.

For *your* portfolio, use the documents you've written on the job. Proposals, admin manuals, whatever you've got. Bind it neatly. Start there and keep building.

I believe with your network background, you could be very desirable. Security is a very big concern. Companies need people to document policies, procedures, and the networks themselves. IT systems complex and more vital than ever to business operations. If you understand them and can write about them, you are a valuable addition to a team.

Good luck!


Julie Schneider wrote:


I'm contemplating a career change from downsized Sr. Network Admin. to Tech
I have 20 years tech experience with a variety of hardware and software
and have a B.A. in English.

I've done some doc writing in Word for various systems I've administered.
I currently live in Oregon, but I'm considering relocating to the Bay Area.

In short, am I totally nuts to contemplate this change considering the
difficulty of finding
a job in this market? What skills should I "bone up on" to increase my
chances of finding
a job? Would an on-line tech writing course help? Can you point me to a
link on creating
a portfolio?

I'm willing to intern or take an entry level job. I believe I'd be much
and have more natural talent writing on technical topics vs. continuing to
work in
Network Administration.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.

Julie Schneider



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Career Change for Sr. Network Admin: From: Julie Schneider

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