The Tech in Tech Writer

Subject: The Tech in Tech Writer
From: "elizabeth j allen" <eja -at- samurai -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2006 12:52:07 -0400 (EDT)

In light of the recent discussion surrounding breaking into the tech
writing field, allow me to share the following:

I recently started a new job with a multi-national semiconductor company.
I was introducing myself to yet another coworker today when he asked me if
I had a technical background.

"We've had several tech writers here who didn't have a technical
background, and, oh man, they just couldn't catch on." The shake of his
head, slump of his shoulders, and expression on his face told the story.
These writers were unable to grasp the technical dimensions of the
material they were supposed to be writing about. As a result, the company
suffered and the reputation of technical writers as a whole suffered.
Plus, I get the joyous task of convincing skeptical professionals that all
tech writers are not useless.

For those of you trying to get into technical writing, please take a
moment and ask yourself why. "Because I can make more money in tech
writing" is *not* a good enough answer.

If your answer is along the lines of "Because my friends are
nerds/geeks/engineers/techies and I love to hang with them and play around
with new technology, plus I love to read and write and play with words,"
chances are you are in the right place. If not, do yourself and us a
favour and consider another career direction.

Elizabeth J. Allen
Technical Writer


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