Re: Will I be employable?

Subject: Re: Will I be employable?
From: Erica <ericamhc -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 24 May 2008 09:08:50 -0400

Jennifer,

What I've noticed just within the area is that the technical writers
I've worked with are often writing for IT, but do not have a background
there. That means a bigger learning curve for them. I know my two
colleagues at work are highly trained, excellent technical writers, yet
only had one course in their degree in using computers. While I can't
speak to the technical writing market in general, I can say that more IT
background would be invaluable if you do become a technical writer. It
seems clear that computers and the internet are here to stay.

I'm not sure certificates in programming, database design/admin, and web
design, are necessary, but if you are interested in those topics it
can't hurt either. Personally I was a programmer and web
developer/designer first. I have certainly found this has helped me
work with the developers and technical contacts in my company to take
the technical specifications and translate them into user assistance
guides. This has made an immense difference towards my ability to
understand concepts and programs quickly and easily. It has also helped
me extend my technical communicator duties to interface design and web
design within the company, which is exciting for me. However, if these
topics aren't of exceptional interest to you, a few courses will still
be very helpful. Database design and programming for beginners are a
good start. Beyond that you may wish to pick up courses later when you
have found a placement so you can focus right where your employer does -
that helps it remain useful and applicable, and you can always take more
courses later.

My impression is IT training is not absolutely necessary but very helpful.

Cheers,
Erica

Jennifer Williams wrote:
> I'm currently enrolled in an online technical writing degree completion program at Northeastern University. I'm thinking of picking up certificates in programming, database design and administration, and advanced web design along the way. Does this sound like a good idea? I was advised to focus in a technical area so I chose IT instead of say, health management. Now I'm having doubts and second thoughts about the viability of my choice and whether I'm learning what I should be. I'm just getting my feet wet in the industry again so I'm not as familiar with it as I was ten or even five years ago.
>
> Am I on the right track to making myself employable when I graduate? Are technical writing jobs being offshored along with other IT jobs? Are other IT jobs still being offshored? Can anyone recommend a newsletter I should read to keep up with what's happening in IT? Should I choose another area of focus instead of IT? What is your background? What kind of technical writing do you do?
>
> Thanks,
> Jennifer
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--

Cheers,
Erica
Technical Communicator, Budding User Experience Designer, Mama of Two Little Boys...
http://designingux.com

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.
http://www.DocToHelp.com/TechwrlList

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity! http://www.helpandmanual.com

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Will I be employable?: From: Jennifer Williams

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