Re: Advanced degrees

Subject: Re: Advanced degrees
From: AnnMacknz -at- AOL -dot- COM
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1996 16:35:46 -0500

Elaine asks:

"I'm a technical editor (I'll edit anything, I'm not picky) with most of my
experience (almost 5 years with "technical editor" in my title) in science.
If I went back for a Master's in Technical Communication, emphasizing writing
more than editing, would it help me get ahead, or would I be wasting my time
since I'd probably be able to get into the writing aspect OJT?"

After many years as a technical writer, I think the items that most qualify
anyone to be a good TW are:

1. An undying interest in learning and curiousity about how things work.
2. An ability to explain, in writing and at the audience's level, what has
been learned.
3. An ability to get along with a variety of people: engineers, clerks,
management, programmers, and secretaries.

At the beginning, when you are trying to get your first paid experience as a
TW, a few classes in technical writing, and all tw experiences, even if
volunteer, help. Showing these examples of your writing in interviews will
help too. I do not believe that a masters degree will do anything toward
obtaining your first writing jobs, and might hurt. Later, if you choose to
move into management, a business degree would probably be useful.

I'll watch with interest the discussion that evolves around your question,

Ann Mackenzie
TekDoc - Technical Documentation, Inc.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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