Technical Writer Position

Subject: Technical Writer Position
From: Deidra McGee <dmcgee -at- HP1 -dot- NENA -dot- ORG>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 19:41:21 -0500

While sitting in the doctor's office yesterday, I read an article in the
Oct. 1996 issue of Redbook on the 15 great jobs to have. A technical writer
position was listed as #4.
Thought I share this with the list, for the novices such as myself in the
field. FYI -- It stated the following:

WHAT THEY DO: Translate scientific and technical information for consumers
into plain English by creating manuals, tuturials, and user documents for
products ranging from computers to medical devices to household appliances.

WHERE THEY DO IT: Although many technical writers work for computer firms
or manufacturers, some of which offer flexible or part-time schedules,
thousands work on a freelance basis (where they can set their own hours).

TRAINING: A college education is important (a growing number of colleges
are offering technical communication programs). Also key: computer
literacty, a general understanding of technology, an ability to express
ideas clearly and accurately.

SALARY: In 1996 technical writers earned a median salary of $45,500,
according to the Society for Technical Communication.

CAREER OUTLOOK: Promising, primarily because new technology is coming out
every day, and many companies are outsourcing this kind of work.

PERKS: "Once you get into the field, there are all kinds of directions you
can go," says technical writer Cheryl Lockett Zubak, 35, a mother of three
from Feasterville, Pennsylvania. "And you can often work when and where you
want."

PITFALLS: Given the rapid rate of technological growth, plan on spending
lots of downtime reading up on what's new. "What you learn today may not
be valid six months from now, " says Zubak. "You can't let your
understanding of technology grow old."


Happy Holidays Everyone !!

Deidra L. McGee
First Year Graduate Student
Technical & Science Communication
Drexel University
Philadelphia, Pa


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