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For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
I am interested in becoming a technical writer. I have a BS in
physics, experience as a researcher and as an engineer, and I have an MS
in anthropology. I would like to get started as soon as possible and --as
such-- would like the preliminary learning curve to coincide with my
being hired at some entry level as a technical writer. In other words, I
would like to find an employment situation that will allow me to learn
as I go. I have not yet learned Framemaker, nor Robohelp, nor C, nor
C++, nor most of the other often specified prerequisites to
tech.writer.dom. What I do have is a highly analytical mind,
enthusiasm, an ability to learn and synthesize new information quickly, a
strong work ethic, and the ability to work within teams under pressure
--AND, of course, the ability to write well.
I believe I can start now and learn as I go. However, most of the job
adds, even those advertising "Junior Positions", seem to demand
extensive experience and skills as hiring criteria.
What kinds of entry level jobs are there in or near the TW field which
will allow me to initiate the bulk of the TW learning-curve after being
hired? How do I find such jobs?
All help on this question is welcome, especially if the giver of help
happens to work in the SF Bay Area and can give me some pointers on how to
break into this market.