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From: techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- c
om] On Behalf Of Julie Stickler
Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 9:27 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Technical Writing Certificate
I really wish that folks on this list would stop discouraging
potential new technical writers from getting formalized training.
Education is never wasted effort. You may even discover, during your
courses (as two people did in my class) that technical writing is not
for you. And as Gene points out, there is virtually no way to get on
the job training as a technical writer these days. And even if you
were able to get hired into a large doc group, chances are they are
unprepared to train you. You're going to be expected to hit the
ground running and start writing.
When I transitioned into the field (I am a former teacher) I went
through the Software Technical Writing certificate program at a local
community college (unfortunately they effectively shut down the
program when they scaled back after the 9/11 slowdown). The 400 hours
that I spent learning technical writing, basic programming, FrameMaker
and RoboHelp have been invaluable in my career. As were some of the
contacts that I made through the program. My student internship led
to my first technical writing job.
And for learning on the job, I personally find it frustrating to have
to spend my time correcting mistakes made by someone whose job title
is "senior technical writer" but who doesn't know basic skills such as
using styles, using spell check before publishing, task based
documentation, how to chunk information, basic HTML, or any one of
hundreds of other common tech writer skills.
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