Re: Student Interviews

Subject: Re: Student Interviews
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Lonie McMichael <loniemc -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2012 09:35:01 -0400

Since others aren't biting, I thought I might. Whomever is putting
that page/resource idea together is welcome to add my response to the

> 1)      What type of writer are you? What type of work do you do?

The best term to describe me at this stage of the game is content
strategist. I help companies make sense out of all of their content
needs, from design and development to publishing and deployment to
multilingual markets. I look at workflows, authors, technologies,
audiences, formats, and use metrics along the way to inform

> 2)      How did you enter your field?

I went to school for communication, landed a job as a translation
typesetter (back when we were still using hot wax, knives, and rollers
to produce camera-ready proofs), and quickly moved on into what is now
known as the User Assistance (Help authoring) field.

> 3)      For students looking to enter the field, what kind of classes would
> you suggest they take? What kind of knowledge would you suggest they
> pursue? What should they know?

It really depends on what kind of technical writer they want to be.
They should study not only writing and rhetoric, but also classes
within the domain they want to work (comp sci, bio med, engineering,

> 4)      Do you have any suggestions for how to get a job in your field?

These days? Prayer. ;-) Seriously though, make connections through
your school, intern, and don't be afraid to take a tangential job out
of school so long as you can apply what you do to your ultimate goal.

> 5)      If a student would like more detail, are you comfortable being
> contacted directly?


Bill Swallow
Content Solutions Manager
GlobalScript, a division of LinguaLinx

Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help. Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need.

Try Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.


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