Technology/Techwriting Resources

Subject: Technology/Techwriting Resources
From: Charmaine Brandon <cbrandon -at- NOLACOM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 16:02:25 -0500

Hi all,

I am a bookworm/readaholic who spent several years studying literature (undergraduate and graduate levels), teaching and doing intermittent freelance magazine work. I fell into techwriting a little over a year ago, and found that I really love this field and would like to continue in it and build a career. On my first techwriting job (contract), I was fortunate enough to work with a group of experienced technical writers who taught me a great deal. Since then, I've worked alone, and only on the kinds of documentation with which I'd already had experience (computer network documentation). I began subscribing to this and other documentation-related listservs in an effort to learn more and to catch up /keep up with techwriting industry trends. In just the few days that I've been reading these lists, I've realized how little I know, and how far behind I am.

I've just recently begun a new position, which will very shortly entail developing end-user documentation and on-line help, useability testing. Even though I was upfront about my skill level in these areas during my interview, the SMEs and Management now seem surprised that I don't have these skills. Where can I find the resources to learn about/get experience in these areas? I don't have the money to travel/take seminars, and I don't think my company would be willing to spend money to train me. If there are resources in my area (New Orleans, LA), I am not aware of them. I recently joined the STC Houston chapter, and I went to the STC regional conference at Dallas in February, but that only gives me a starting point. I've been doing internet searches and reading like crazy, but I feel I need hands-on experience.

Also, given the lack of opportunities in New Orleans to learn/use current and emerging technical communications methodologies, I'm wondering if I should sit tight here and try to learn all I can, or move try to on to a more up-to-date area. Even though I'm a good writer and have excellent research skills, I am daunted by the ads I see asking for years of experience in the areas mentionned above. + programming lanuages... All help/advice is greatly appreciated.

Charmaine J. Brandon
Technical Writer
if replying offlist, please use charmjb -at- hotmail -dot- com

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