Re[2]: What Technical Communicators Do

Subject: Re[2]: What Technical Communicators Do
From: Karla McMaster <mcmaster%pcmail -dot- cti-pet -dot- com -at- CTI-PET -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 1995 08:32:49 EST

Sue Gallagher said:
> My next mountain is project management. Who says a writer can't
> lead a development team? Especially when it's and end-user
> product with a complicated UI???

I think project management is a logical extension of being a technical
communicator. After all, project management, as I see it, is mainly a
coordination job. It calls for someone who can speak to all members of the team
and understand what's being said. It also calls for an organized individual who
can lay out a logical course of action and adjust when the situation requires
it. As I see it, most technical communicators are uniquely suited to this type
of position.

The one time I mentioned it in an interview, however, I got a funny look--and
the words "I _guess_ a writer could lead a team," subtext being "that never
occurred to me before and isn't likely to happen." But I didn't take the job
there, so who knows--they might have changed their minds.

In my current position, the walls between R&D and me (in marketing) are too
high for me to scale alone. Especially as I don't currently have the energy to
devote to "fighting the good fight." Being a parent to two small children and a
spouse and a competent technical writer is about all I can handle. Perhaps when
I again have the energy (when the kids have grown a little), the walls will
have lowered somewhat.

I'm very interested to hear what other people have to say about career tracks--
particularly into project management, if anyone has done so, or knows of anyone
else who has done so.

Karla McMaster, technical writer
CTI PET Systems, Inc., Knoxville, TN
mcmaster -at- cti-pet -dot- com

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