Re: How did you get started in tech writing?

Subject: Re: How did you get started in tech writing?
From: "Downing, David" <DavidDowning -at- Users -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2008 10:39:43 -0400

As I said before, technical writing represented a career change for me.
I had a liberal arts undergraduate degree and wasn't sure what to do
with it, so I went into library science by default, because my mother
taught in that field. I worked as a professional cataloger for five
years, and didn't really like it. THEY didn't like THAT, so I eventually
got canned. However, I had discovered that I liked writing when my job
duties included it, besides which, a piece of software called SIGI Plus
analyzed my interests and found I was best suited to technical writing.

I them found that "technical communication" actually existed as a
course of study you could get a degree in, so I got a master's degree
from Drexel University. While I was getting that degree, I co-authored a
textbook (with my mother) on cataloging, and was able to use parts of
that book as part of my assignments for the degree. Part of the
Technical and Science Communication program there was to do an
internship, which I did at the company I now work for. An actually
position came open and I got it.

My one big regret is that I didn't know technical communication existed
as a course of study when I got my B.A., because that was also in
communication. I could have save myself a ten-year-long wrong turn.
Well, it does not good to say, "Woulda, coulda, shoulda."

(BTW, it gave me great pleasure to send a signed copy of the textbook to
my former boss, who hand a big hand in firing me. "Well, you may have
fired me, but I'm the co-author of a textbook on the subject and you're
not, Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah.")

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