software industry experience

Subject: software industry experience
From: Gwen Barnes <gwen -dot- barnes -at- MUSTANG -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 1995 20:18:20 GMT

-> As a newbie, career-changing, wannabe technical writer, I was hoping
-> there might be some experienced writers in the software industry who
-> would have some advice for a doctoral-level educator with a
-> certificate in technical writing (UW) who is trying to get into the
-> software industry.

The more entrepreneurially-minded employers are apt to see a Ph.D.
candidate as more of a chronic student than a potentially good worker.
Self-made people tend to prefer to hire people like them, with less
emphasis on education and theory, and more emphasis on practical
experience and ingenuity.

Larger, more institutional companies (those big enough to have "human
resources" departments) tend to value credentials + experience over just
plain experience, with "more is better" as a screening criterion.

-> I've tried the usual: answering job ads, postings at school, joining
-> relevant organizations, going to meetings, applying for internships,
-> etc. Nothing so far. I'm looking primarily in the Seattle area but
-> would consider an internship out of area.

I got into tech writing as a career change by teaming up with a couple
of programmers and developing shareware. Got bought out by a software
company whose products we enhanced and supported with our programs.
Guess that puts me, and the company I now work for, in the
"entrepreneurial" slot.

What are you interested in, besides tech writing? Do you eat, live,
sleep and breathe computers? Do you have a passionate interest in
something that is directly or peripherally related to the computer
business? Can you then narrow your job search down to like-minded
entrepreneurs who will be impressed with your consuming passion for
their pet projects?

Is making money a priority for you, or is it just as rewarding to be
able to have a good idea, round up the talent to help you realize the
idea, create a useful product people will buy, and sell it successfully
in a competitive market?

For me, the money and benefits are the icing on the cake. Going into a
software store and seeing people buy the products I helped create is the
ultimate thrill.

Gwen gwen -dot- barnes -at- mustang -dot- com
MSI * Connecting the world 805-873-2500

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