TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
As you know, one common tech writing task is to dig through great, big
piles of information, looking for specific data. We then present the
results clearly and concisely to others, in order to get their feedback
and updates (if we're lucky).
The question of how to prepare for and acquire employment as a tech
writer has been discussed many, many times on TECHWR-L. Maybe your
students should present to us a brief summary of all they can glean from
the TECHWR-L archives. This might inspire us to debate specific points,
shoot down or praise old ideas, offer new ideas, etc.
I'm not guaranteeing a successful response, but it would be a valuable
exercise in any case.
From: Lonie McMichael
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2012 5:33 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Student Interviews
My name is Dr. Lonie McMichael; I have been a member of Techwr-l on and
off since 1992. I used to work as a technical writer in the computer
Right now, I am teaching a course called "Tools for Technical Writers"
and have given my students an assignment which involves interviewing
technical writers in the field. You may have seen an email or two from
They are trying to understand what it will take to break into their
chosen field of work, the best way they might prepare, and what the REAL
job is like.
Since you folks taught me how to be a technical writer back in the 90s,
I thought you might be willing to help these students out. If you are
comfortable doing so, could you answer the following questions:
1) What type of writer are you? What type of work do you do?
2) How did you enter your field?
3) For students looking to enter the field, what kind of classes
you suggest they take? What kind of knowledge would you suggest they
pursue? What should they know?
4) Do you have any suggestions for how to get a job in your field?
5) If a student would like more detail, are you comfortable being
So many times, students are given theoretical information, but little
information about the real life of a technical writer. I'm trying to
help my students understand the job a bit more.
Thank you for your time and effort. Any information is appreciated.
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