RE: STC is broken

Subject: RE: STC is broken
From: David Hailey <david -dot- hailey -at- usu -dot- edu>
To: Rob Hudson <caveatrob -at- gmail -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 13:16:51 -0600

The technical communicator who understands the entire collection of fields related to corporate communication and who stays abreast of
innovations in the profession can become communications director.

I'd love to hear examples of people who have done just that. What were their backgrounds? What were their career paths? What type of education did they have?

Short answer: They practice a habit of life-long learning.

Longer answer: We often have such people among our students. One that comes to mind is Gary Hernandez. He is now a director of communications for BP. Another is Rose Greer, she became technology manager at IBM. I often have students ask for dispensation for being behind on a project because they are being moved to a more demanding professional track at their workplace.

The key, IMHO, is to develop a pattern of life-long learning. Not go to graduate school, necessarily, but to always know what is happening in the fringes of the industry, where the changes are taking place. For example, earlier this month we had a discussion where it was clear that some of the technical communicators in the forum are competent with the use of XML for DITA development. These people are at an advantage because their knowledge is expanded in an important area. Suppose that DITA goes the way of the DODO -- they are still advantaged because whatever replaces DITA will be similar and require similar knowledge. Comprehensive knowledge is the thing that differentiates the professionals from the technicians in any industry.

Last year, nine of our students published articles in Intercom. One article was particularly important and addresses this specific topic: "Protecting Yourself from Offshoring: Advice for US-based Technical Communicators," Michelle Murphy, Feb '07. Michelle does an excellent job of suggesting methods for making your job and your relationship with the company more meaningful. I highly recommend it.

David E. Hailey, Jr., Ph.D.
Associate Professor -- Professional and Technical Writing
Utah State University
dhailey -at- english -dot- usu -dot- edu


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STC is broken: From: Joel Wilhelm
Re: STC is broken: From: Ealasaid A. Haas
RE: STC is broken: From: richard.melanson
RE: STC is broken: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
RE: STC is broken: From: David Hailey
Re: STC is broken: From: Rob Hudson

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