RE: How did you get started in tech writing?

Subject: RE: How did you get started in tech writing?
From: "Victoria Wroblewski" <victoria -dot- wroblewski -at- eagletest -dot- com>
To: "Techwr-l" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2008 15:10:25 -0500

As the younger sister of a future programming geek in the early 80's, I
got early exposure to computers. We were one of the first families on
the block to have a personal computer. In grade school, when I'd finish
assignments before the rest of the class, I'd be able to go to the
library or computer room to have some time to goof around, either
playing games or learning whatever programming language they were
testing out on me before trying to determine if it was worth it to teach
it as a class.

By the time college rolled around, I was leaning towards going in to
journalism, but my mind changed rather quickly when I calculated I'd be
about 60 years old before I could even pay off my student loans on a
reporter's salary. And I was getting pretty good with computers.
Technology was fun.

My experience with computers landed me my college work study job,
receptionist in the faculty computer lab. This also included some
Access database programming during the quiet times (which were many).
When they started to get internet in the dorms and every student got
their first email address, they set up the help desk for that in our
office space. One day, they were short staffed and they pulled me in to
answer calls. And I enjoyed it.

I enjoyed explaining how to do things to people. And I did like
writing. My senior year, I started working part-time for the campus IT
department and focusing on classes to get a minor in Technical
Communications. I worked on documenting internal procedures for the
Help Desk and even a couple of one-page quick start guides to hand out
to people who walked in with basic questions. And I saved it all for my

After I got my diploma, I opted to go out into the world rather than
hang on with the part-time job at the university in hopes they'd be able
to get a full-time position to open up. I was exploring multiple
options - both tech writing and IT/support, waiting to see which would
pan out. Got my first post-college job at a major company as a tech
writer (with the title Senior Technical Writer... one reason I never put
much faith in titles) and since then I've bounced around as a tech
writer as companies have downsized and outsourced (the story of most
writers I know who were started right before the bubble burst).


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How did you get started in tech writing?: From: Nancy Allison
Re: How did you get started in tech writing?: From: John Cook

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