Re: Degrees of employment

Subject: Re: Degrees of employment
From: Anne McDonough <amcdonou -at- OLF -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 08:44:01 -0400

I think having a degree in technical writing, English or Journalism is a good
first step, but not the only foolproof qualification. Some of the best tech
writers I know have no degree or an unrelated one. In the defense industry
that I used to work in, it was a contract requirement that tech writers have an
English or Journalism degrees. To get around that, some tech writers were
classified as engineers, but they wrote the user guides. I think the degree
requirement is more dependent on what industry you are in. In some companies,
it seems more inportant to the people who know nothing about tech writing to
look for that degree when they hire tech writers. After a certain point, it's
experience that counts more than your degree anyway.

OK, that's more 2 cents worth!

Anne McDonough

Robert Maxey wrote:

> Here is a question (I will eventually get around to asking it) for anyone
> who wants to answer it. I know 5 writers who do various jobs related to
> writing. I know an Indexer, a Freelance Editor, two Technical Writers and a
> fellow who has published more than ten books. None of these people have
> degrees in writing and they have walked into their various writing jobs
> through a variety of back doors. The person who writes the books decided to
> write because he had a perception that writing is simple and might be the
> perfect way for a lazy man to make a quick buck.
> I recently saw a list of writers who are very famous, highly paid and have
> sold millions of books. Those on this particular list did not have degrees.
> If a Dean Koonze or Stephen King changed editors, agents or publishers, he
> would most likely be accepted regardless of how much training he has had as
> a writer. Granted, he has a proven ability to write best sellers.
> I would never be hired by my company to do the job I do now, because I do
> not have a degree. I write documents used to set up expensive production
> lines, I write for the Corporate Internet and Intranet, I do page layout,
> editing of other peoples writing, etc. No writing degree, no art degree, no
> nothing special about me.
> How many believe that a degree is the most important thing to possess when
> being hired for a writing assignment? Either a permanent or freelance
> position. How many good freelance writers out there are ever asked about
> their training and/or degrees? Do any of you think that a good writer
> should be considered for a permanent position only if he/she has a degree?
> A friend of mine writes articles for several editors who rely upon her to
> provide consistent quality month to month. She has bee with one of these
> publications for several years. In effect, she is doing the work that any
> other staff member would do, but she can not get hired full time because
> she does not have a degree. To me, this is a rather odd point of view.
> We hire people to fill positions in the company that are really not as
> qualified as I believe they should be, but they have degrees. One person
> has a degree that is completely unrelated to the job he is to do, and the
> person most believe should have had the job, can't apply for it because he
> does not have any professional training. So the person who will never be
> hired is training the "qualified" person. I pointed out that it was very
> odd that the person that is doing the training is, in the eye of the
> corporation, unqualified to do the actual job.
> Sorry for the long post.
> Bob
> From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000==

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