Re: tech writing degrees

Subject: Re: tech writing degrees
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1993 14:45:26 -0500

Jennifer in Phoenix asks about degree programs in technical writing, and
a number of others are exploting regional job market opportunities.

In the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina, NCSU offers BS and
MS programs in technical communication. My alma mater, the Durham
Technical Community College, offers a certificate program in software
technical writing.

There are a number of pharmaceutical firms around here, and quite a few
computer software and hardware installations. The job opportunites are
here, but we also have a fresh supply of regional grads every year (also
from Carolina and Duke, not to mention ECU down the road, UNCG, UNCC,
and a number of other medium to big schools).

The job market in general seems a little tight around here recently; DG
and IBM, of course, are laying off these days, and both have sizable
regional facilities.

MCI, on the other hand, is opening a new facility here shortly. And the
drug companies continue to make all kinds of money (we have big local
facilities for Glaxo, Burroughs-Wellcome, Ciba-Geigy, Bristol-Myers, and
Organnon-Teknika), but that may change if health care reform succeeds.
(Yeah, right.)

It's interesting to read this thread, since the days when you could kind
of "pick things up" as you went along seem numbered. I remember back
when I started out (back when Coolidge was president, if memory serves),
I was hired as a dp specialist by an economic research firm (the field
in which I have *my* degrees) on the promise that I could program, then
finding out everything they had was written in APL. Needless to say, I
taught myself APL on the job, never missed a deadline, and the rest is
history. Try doing *that* today. And this with just one formal computer
science course. And the buildings were made out of logs, and I *walked* to
work in the *snow*....

I suspect that technical communication will slowly become more aware of
people with specialized degrees, just like computer science people
slowly started to nail down all the programming jobs. I still think a
good portfolio, relevant subject matter experience, and the ability to
pick things up quickly can still get you pretty far. All of these things
*and* a degree can get you a little farther, however.

Good luck to all of you starting out. As for me, I've got a couple of
deadlines to knock down before I can go on vacation this Friday,

|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer | "Eat well, stay fit, die anyway." |
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| - Bumper sticker |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

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