Re: Getting Started in Tech Writing

Subject: Re: Getting Started in Tech Writing
From: John Veneruso <johnv -at- JOHNV -dot- MENTORG -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1993 15:44:21 GMT

During the last 1 1/2 years in the Portland, Oregon area,
Technical writers with only a BA in English have been layed off
in great numbers from many companies. Unless you have a technical
degree in the field that you will be writing for, you probably don't
have a good chance of landing a job. (Note the word chance...this
implies that it is still possible, but that probability of
locating employment is small.)

The problem is two fold. First, Engineers have been tossed out of their
Defense Sector jobs in great numbers and can't find engineering work elsewhere.
"Hey, maybe I can write !!!" is a common refrain. Then again, I often
hear its counter part, "--------, and now I are one..."
At the end of 1992, 200,000 fewer engineers were employed in the U.S.
compared to employment levels of 1990. And the trend continues.
Some recent technical writer new hires even have M.S. degrees in Engineering.

Second, English majors are viewed by "some" in the Engineering establishment
as having insufficient technical background to understand the hardware and
software that they are to document. So, many local companies are now paying
roughly $13,000K more for a technical writer who has a B.S. degree than they
were paying for the English majors they let go just months before.
(This trend implies that the demand for Technical Editors will soon increase.)

You might want to look into getting an Electrical Engineering degree that has
a Technical writing concentration.

Good luck...

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