Re: Degrees

Subject: Re: Degrees
From: Charlotte Archer <CArcher100 -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 13:41:56 EST

In a message dated 12/8/98 11:41:01 AM, Diane Gutierrez wrote:

>I am compiling statistics on the current education and degrees of listserv
>members for later posting. Any others?

Hmmm... well, I'm a newbie and a "wannabe" who subscribed to this list to
learn, so I don't know if you want my info or not, but since you are doing a
statistical analysis I feel that I should include it.

You can count me among those who have related career experience but no degree.
I am currently a Professional Travel Consultant with 10 years experience in my
field who has a very minimal amount of technical writing experience. My
technical writing experience is limited to having written the training manual
for my last office.

My current career path did not require a degree. At the time that I decided
to become a Travel Consultant, I was pursuing an AA in Business Data
Processing, but this was way back in the 80s when desktops were a new thing.

I've heard quite a bit about how remaining with the degree program shows a
certain amount of discipline. While that may be true, it was not a lack of
discipline which caused me to change career tracks but rather a lack of money.
Financial aid may take care of college expenses but a minimum wage job was not
sufficient to live independently on, so I decided that I needed 'marketable
skills'. I found a 7 month certification program in Travel Industry careers
which provided me with 'marketable skills' and within a year I was making
enough to support myself. In the meantime I also did tutoring in math,
English and programming languages, freelance word processing, typesetting and
desk top publishing, data entry and customer service, anything that would pay
the bills.

Since that time, I've obtained a good number of skills outside of my industry
across a broad spectrum; word processing, spread sheets, presentation
software, more DTP and now I'm doing web design on the side. I've been online
since the early BBS days. I've kept my hand in things just a bit and even
done programming in the scripting language on our CRS (computer reservation
system) thru my current position. Because I was the most technically adept
person in the office, I ended up becoming the office trainer, writing the
office training manual and playing technical support in my previous position.
In my current position I'm often the one our technical support person comes to
when he needs a beta tester, since he knows that I have a strong sense of what
the actual problem is and where he can go to fix it and I always make my
recommendations from both a programmer's and a user's perspective.

Now that I've gathered a good number of 'marketable skills', I've decided to
return to college to pursue the liberal arts education that I always wanted
but felt that I could not afford. I'll be pursuing a B.I.S. with
concentrations primarily in Anthropology and Religious Studies. I'm looking
at freelancing as a technical writer because I believe that my writing skills
combined with my diverse skill set and my ability to learn just about anything
quickly will allow me to perform well in this field. I know that I have a lot
of work to do before I will be adequate for even an entry level position, but
I'm willing to do that work. Currently I'm working on getting my writing
skills back up to par (having spent so much time online, I've gotten into the
habit of writing *very* informally. I'm sure that shows <G>), I'm doing
research to see what basic skills are usually required, I'm doing much reading
and will be hanging out here to learn from more experienced writers. I'm also
working to update some of my program and programming knowledge and to improve
my web design skill set significantly.

Am I hopeless? Well, I'm sure that some would think so, but I'm one of those
people who "consistently exceeds expectations". Do I need a degree? I don't
believe that I do because I know that I'm self trainable and I believe that I
have demonstrated discipline by having so often educated myself beyond what
was offered to me in a formal setting. Yet I *want* a degree and I intend to
complete one in the long run. You see, I've always expected to complete one
"in the long run, I'm just quite comfortable pursuing long term goals.

Well, that's my background. Style critiques of the above are humbly accepted
as a learning tool :-) (just please don't mail bomb me <g>).

Charlotte A. Archer
Best Foot Forward Enterprises

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

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