Answers to TW Course-Help

Subject: Answers to TW Course-Help
From: Deb Newman <dnewman -at- SIERRASYS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 1996 20:33:00 PST

Hope this will help you Jennifer. If you would like further info from me
- my address is below.
1. What do you wish you had known about the field of technical
writing *before* you entered it? (This information could range from
specific writing practices or dealing with deadline pressure to the
necessity of *asking* companies at job fairs if they need technical
writers, as was discussed recently.)
Answer: I wish I'd known that there was such an animal as a "Technical
Writer" before starting out my career in 1971 (the stone age, don't chya
know). I've spent more than 20 years writing documentation "as part of
other official jobs". Sound familiar???

I've been a "professional" Tech Writer for 3 years - in other words hired
as a Tech Writer. Before starting out I'd like to have known more about
estimating a project.
2. What advice would you give an aspiring technical writer?
* Learn how to estimate
* Bone up on good project management techniques
* In today's market, you need to know about layout, graphics design and a
multitude of other desktop publishing techniques. It is rare that you
just write!!
* Keep track of contacts along the path of your career. It's amazing how
often you'll get referrals (if you're good) through this personal
network.
* Be prepared to constantly learn new software. It's very important to
keep up with trends and new technology.
* Join the STC
Best of luck.

Deb Newman
(opinions belong to me, they're mine, I thought of them - not to Sierra)

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