Re: degree

Subject: Re: degree
From: Alan Miller <alan -dot- miller -at- EDUCATE -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 17:35:36 -0500

My degree is a BA in English with a minor in Chemistry. At that time and space there was no such thing as a technical writer (at least not as we know it now). I had actually started my academic career as a chemistry major. At the end of my first year I acquired my first writing job. I spent the summer in Ankara, Turkey writing a textbook on photography (for translation into Turkish, which I also worked on) for a small business development program for the US State Department (USAID). I got the job through a fortuitous set of circumstances. I was in Turkey, visiting friends and relatives, I could speak Turkish with no small amount of fluency, and I had experience in photography (having worked for an industrial photographer before starting college). By the end of the job, I had come to the conclusion that this was the very best of all possible worlds (appolgies to M. Voltaire)...I was actually getting paid to look up stuff and write it down! I could do that! I spent a second year studying chemistry, then changed my major to English, but continued to pack in every science and math elective I could. After college, and an interminable interrment in the US Navy, I have not had cause to complain...except about unreasonable clients.

What parts of the story helped me develop/find the skills needed to be a successful technical writer? Most of it...with the possible exception of the English. I learned many things from my English curriculum in college, but concise writing was not one of them. Most of my professors actually seemed ot discourage it, favoring volume to clarity. Of most help were the math and science courses. These taught the intellectual discipline and research skills that I still use today.

Al Miller
alan -dot- miller -at- educate -dot- com

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000

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