Re: Degreed and insulted!! Was:Beginner...

Subject: Re: Degreed and insulted!! Was:Beginner...
From: John Gough <john -at- ATRIUM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 May 1994 10:03:11 CDT

[ Joan Miles Smith writes: ]
> Then, this morning, I read that a hiring manager doesn't even
> look to see if someone is degreed/qualified with courses for
> writing. It just makes me frustrated that although I always
> considered myself "a writer" and that is why I got my degree

It sounded to me like he was hyperbolizing...I hope.

Having said that, I've noticed in interviewees and coworkers that a TW
degree does not necessarily indicate interest or talent. The
profession is attracting its share of uninterested or clueless people
who sign up only because it's lucrative. CSC and eng. curriculums
have adopted weed-out tech. courses to reduce that problem, and TW
doesn't have a good equivalent.

When I hire, I look for (not in order):
writing: experience, quality, analytical skills, enthusiasm
technical: education, experience, aptitude, and enthusiasm
design: interest, passing knowledge
project mgmt: experience, org skills, psych skills
motivation: desire to help people

Writing samples are tricky. Sometimes a boss or weird editor will
inflict bizarre design and order on a book, and it's not the writer's
fault. I get the writer to talk about what they contributed vs. what
was legislated.

The last factor, a desire to help people, is one that I found by
accident, and it's an excellent predictor of success. Liking
technology helps a lot too.

I agree that an English literature degree is not the best one to have.
It sets you up to worship writing style for its own sake, and that's
beside the point in TW.

(BTW, I have an undergrad degree and grad studies in TW, an undergrad
in philosophy, and 3 yrs of engineering/csc. Would have finished the
TW grad degree, but my internship job turned into a project leader's
position, and off I went!)

John Gough john -at- atrium -dot- com
Principal Technical Writer voice (512) 328-6977
Atrium Technologies fax (512) 328-2789
Austin, TX

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