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From: Mark Baker [mailto:mbaker -at- OMNIMARK -dot- COM]
Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 1999 12:26 PM
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
Subject: Re: Desperately seeking employment (and why)
Marie C. Paretti wrote
>Once again we're mired in the myth that all "technical" writers
>document highly technical material. While "ya gotta speak
>geek" play well if you're working with engineers, not
>everybody in the world documents something that requires
>extensive technical understanding.
This is true, of course. But let's return to the original point: how to get
a tech writing job. Clearly jobs that don't require a high degree of
technical skill are easier than those that do. There will be more
competition for those jobs, and therefore it will be harder to get one,
especially for someone without experience.
Because it is harder to be both technically competent and a competent
writer, there will be less competition for those jobs and they will be
easier to get if you really qualify. You will also get paid better.
So the appropriate advice to a English grad with no experience and no
technical skills who wants to break into technical writing is still this:
differentiate yourself from the growing crowd of competitors by acquiring a
marketable technical skill.
Technical writing has been a hot job destination for too long for there to
be many openings left for the unskilled and inexperienced. Jobs that are
easy to do and pay well rapidly turn into jobs that are hard to get and pay
less. But there are always job opportunities for people who can do something
Note that, in many cases, employers will be impressed by any evidence of
technical skill, even outside their area of work, because they see it as
evidence of the ability to learn technical subjects.
Technical skill may not be necessary to do every job, but it will
increasingly be necessary to get a job.
Senior Technical Communicator
OmniMark Technologies Corporation
1400 Blair Place
Canada, K1J 9B8
Email mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com