Re: The English Major and the Engineering Student

Subject: Re: The English Major and the Engineering Student
From: Simon North <north -at- SYNOPSYS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 18:10:33 +0001

I'd like to also add a personal slant to this.

I graduated from High School in Pure Mathematics, Applied
Mathematics, English Literature and French. I was desperately in
love with Pure Mathematics but didn't have the grades to go to one
of the recognized centers. Instead I studied Mathematics,
Statistics and Computing (this was 1972).

At the end of the first year I decided that I really did hate statistics
after all (the feeling was mutual), and switched to English and
French Literature.

It always struck me, and continues to do so, how the skills used in
developing and appreciating a mathematics proof came very close
to the skills honed in analyzing poetry. The two have a certain
analogous beauty that's hard to explain but very similar.

When I graduated, my degree left me little choice of direction.
However, I was determined not to go into teaching and so I joinded
the services as a technician. When I left the Army I trained as a
tech writer and, I think, have had some success (my employer
seems happy and Macmillan will be publishing my fourth book in
April).

With a few exceptions, higher education doesn't so much teach
you a subject so much as how to think and how to learn. As far as
that goes, in my opinion, the subject you studied is largely
immaterial to your ability to be or become a tech writer.

Simon North.


"Presenting XML", "Teach Yourself XML in 21 Days".
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