Seeking advice for a senior English majo

Subject: Seeking advice for a senior English majo
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- AXIONET -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 1997 19:31:50 -0500

Suzanne Taylor <dba -at- ITSNET -dot- COM> wrote:

>What should I be doing now to make myself marketable in that >field? What computer software should I learn before >graduating?

I'm sure that you'll get lots of good advice from other people, so I
want to mention some points that (I hope) nobody else has thought of:

1.) Don't neglect studying typography and layout.It will be useful to
you whether you do paper manuals or web-pages. It will help you work
with graphic artists, or, if you work solo, help you to compensate for
the lack of expert help. It also adds a bit of unabashed creativity to
your work.

Some writers have a chip on their shoulder about the idea of doing
layout, and it's true that you probably won't be an expert. However,
don't let either of these facts bother you. Knowing a bit about layout
will give you job opportunities that the stiff-necked purists aren't
eligible for--espcially since many companies would rather have one
generalist than several experts.

2.) There's some programs that would be useful to learn--and some that
are definitely cheaper to buy while you're a student. However, I think
it's more useful to learn a number of programs than focus too much on a
single one.

For one thing, programs come and go. Two years ago, who would have
believed that Acrobat would be so important? And who knows if, two years
from now, FrameMaker + SGML will be important or not?

For another, you'll be picking up new programs for much of your working
life. Why not start to learn how to learn now? Once you know several
different word processors, learning another one should come fairly
easily. The same goes for graphics and on-line help programs.

Bruce Byfield (bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com)
Technical Writer
Burnaby, BC, Canada
h: (604) 421-7189 o: (604) 293-5781

"Doubtless a distrust of human reason is reasonable, but
few adventures are more honourable than an attempt to
live by it."
--Eric Gill, "An Essay on Typography"

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