[Fwd: Re: tech communication career]

Subject: [Fwd: Re: tech communication career]
From: Lisa Roth <roth -dot- lisa -at- jimmy -dot- harvard -dot- edu>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 09:47:40 -0400

I sent this privately to Roy, but here it is to share with other curious minds, especially since a number of other people are posting to the list.

Hi there,

There are a lot of options, some of which require far more technical
knowledge, and many that require far less. By the way, your teaching
experience can give you a big plus in certain roles. There are so many
different types of specialties within the field, that most people who
are decent communicators can find a slot where they're challenged and happy.

I work at a non-profit health care research group and write/edit a wide
variety of items. A typical day for me is working on instructional
documents, reports, general communications, and
other docs that are required for health research.

In my case, the job does not take away from home/family time at all. (My
place is a very family-oriented place, and overtime is not expected, generally speaking.)
In high-tech, competitive businesses, overtime is often the norm, though. It all depends; since my company doesn't sell anything, we're not under the same pressure to finish a product and get it on the market. (We *do* have our deadlines, of course, but they're not at all on the same scope as some of the product-based companies.)

As for compensation, on the other hand, some of these corporate employees make more money than those of us in the non-profit world, but I'll take the trade-off with a smile any day of the week!

One other thing you might want to look into which is very closely
related (and often in fact a cross-over role that tech writers also do or transfer into) is instructional design. Your teaching experience could *really* work for you there. It encompasses developing learning/training materials for many scenarios: in-person training with an instructor, self-training, and also distance learning (on-line courses), and more. If you want to explore this route, I'd definitely look into some coursework, even if not a degree or certificate per se.

Good luck. If I can answer anything else, please let me know. I might be
able to give the "flip-side" opinion to a lot of the corporate-based
people you may also hear from, seeing as I am from a non-profit and also
not in a high-tech biz.



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