RE: in the beginning there was....

Subject: RE: in the beginning there was....
From: "Ronica Roth" <rroth -at- exactis -dot- com>
To: "'Jack Cluth'" <jcluth -at- yahoo -dot- com>, "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 1999 14:57:30 -0700

I started by taking my masters in journalism--and years of like
experience--to Denver and then not finding a js job. So I got a data
analysis job through a temp agency. Which turned into a real job. Which
turned into a layoff. As I began to string together I set of freelance
(journalism) gigs (and some waiting tables), a colleague from the company
I'd been laid off from suggested I contact a partner of his in a small,
start-up company. The partner needed a tech writer. My colleague knew about
my ability to understand technical stuff through teh data analysis job and
about my communication skills from work and my writing skills from seeing my
journalism work (i.e., he just knew I could do it). The partner couldn't
afford a "real" tech writer, so he was more than happy to hire me at a cheap
rate ($15/hour)...taking his chances and giving me (a)experience and (b)a
writing sample in the end. advice first and foremost is to tell everyone you know that you are
looking for this sort of work. Offer to do small jobs for small companies.

Also, once you know Word and HTML, and can describe your understanding of
computer systems (my line is, "give me a day and I'll understand the basics
of any desktop program"), see about going through a consulting firm. My
first "real" tech writing job was a gig at IBM. I learned SO MUCH because of
the different systems they use, and because they have a tech writing dept of
sorts...I learned a lot about concepts and considerations, in an environment
with long lead times (large companies grind along slowly) so I had time to
teach myself stuff.

I am a BIG believer in on-the-job training. Learn by doing, by watching
others. Only then will any formal training be able to take place in a
context that makes it truly useful.

My 2 (3?) cents.

Ronica Roth
Technical Writer, Inc.
rroth -at- exactis -dot- com

> -----Original Message-----
> My dilemma is this: where to start? Where can I go to learn
> the skills and tools I would need to be useful and
> marketable? Essentially what I'm looking for is a foot in
> the door.

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