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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.
Your survey is assuming we all got into the business by going to school to
learn how to do it. Not the case. You also are not asking people what they
are documenting or the size of the company they are working within. This
makes a tremendous difference in how specialized or generalized a technical
communication's job is.
I guess I am also curious what most people thought the tasks for this job
would be, when they first started. I know I never realized that I would have
to learn interface design principles, usbility, task analysis, audience
analysis, visual design techniques, adult learning principles, and on and
on. I thought I just had to write. But then, I did not become a technical
writer by going to college to learn technical writing.
I became a technical writer by being an experienced journalist and finding
out I could make alot more money if I wrote computer manuals! Things have
changed in 15 years, of course.