Re: Career change to tech writing

Subject: Re: Career change to tech writing
From: "Dana Worley" <dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2006 09:40:52 -0600

On Wednesday, July 26, 2006, Adrienne Kelley wrote:

> My background: I have 75% of a BA in journalism, a full BA in sociology, as
> well as more than 10 years' work experience in a variety of administrative
> functions, including proofreading for a couple of small local papers way
> back when. Currently I work for a small insurance trust, where I do the
> occasional "technical" writing, including explanatory documentation for our
> customers, our plan documents, and a company procedure manual.

Here are my 2 cents:

Forget the certificate and start marketing yourself as a technical writer.

I worked for several years as an administrative assistant to the CEO of a small
company. I wrote all his correspondence, sat in technical product meetings and took
notes then typed them up, proofread things coming out of our
publications/promotions department, and did some manuals and brochures when no
one else was available to do them.

When I went looking for a different job, I applied for a technical writing position. The
company had that position open, but they were also looking for an office manager for
their engineering department. This engineering department had never had an office
manager, and I knew they couldn't keep me busy. So I persuaded them to let me do
both jobs.

This company had just filed bankruptcy when I started working, so I was there for
only 14 months before I started looking elsewhere. Another company advertised for
an "applications engineer" (that's what they call just about everyone around here....)
for their software support group. They wanted someone to do training, customer
support, software testing, and documentation (help files and manuals).

I have been here 9 years and am now the manager of the group. I have kept a small
part of the more technical documentation, but I added another writer to do most of
what I was doing.

Soo.... long story short.... you have a background in presenting information. You
have demonstrated your ability to write and edit. I think you should go for it :)

Dana W.

Dana Worley
Manager, Software Support Group
Campbell Scientific, Inc.
Microsoft MVP, Windows Help 2003-2006


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Career change to tech writing: From: Adrienne Kelley

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