Career Choice and Degree

Subject: Career Choice and Degree
From: Richard Lippincott <rlippinc -at- BEV -dot- ETN -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 1995 09:45:43 EDT

Another two cents on the -type- of degree in career choice. I agree
with Denise and Barry West, it's often helpful to -not- be an expert
in the field. Barry then made a case based upon his own experi-
ences over the past several years.

I can further support his case with an example from his career, one
that he left out.

In 1990, I started work at a company that he'd left a few years
before. In fact, I was in the same department he'd been in, working
for the same manager.

Although he had left three or four years before I got there, his work
was still highly regarded. Everyone who had worked with him had
respect for his talents and ability to write procedures for complex
hardware systems. I don't recall anyone every saying anything
negative about his work. He did an outstanding job, and when he
moved on to bigger and better things his loss was felt. (I never met
Barry, although as memory serves we -did- talk on the phone once
for a few seconds when I answered a co-worker's ringing phone
one day. I hope this message didn't embarrass you, but it was all
true.)

Barry mentioned in Wednesday's posting that his degree is in Pro-
fessional Writing, so he clearly didn't have a degree related to the
product he was writing about. Yet he did a good job.

This, of course, starts to get back to the old "hardware vs. soft-
ware" distinction in tech writing. If I have a computer-related
degree, I can use that as leverage while seeking software docu-
mentation jobs. But what degree could I have gotten that would
have allowed me to move from aerospace to ion implantation?
What degree should the folks writing documentation for the Sea-
wolf submarine have, and where are they gonna find jobs if/when
that project is terminated?

Rick Lippincott
Eaton Semiconductor
Beverly, MA
rlippinc -at- bev -dot- etn -dot- com


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