Breaking into Technical Writing

Subject: Breaking into Technical Writing
From: Phillip Wilkerson <phillipw -at- ALLENSYSGROUP -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 08:40:24 -0700

Howard Sage <sage -at- IS -dot- NYU -dot- EDU> wrote:
"For someone who has been teaching English (writing) for 30 years and who
has been a journalist on daily newspapers, would people out there suggest
what might be the best route(s) to break into the technical writing field?
Is some kind of school training the key, or should one take some other
kind of specialized courses, or just try for an entry level job?"

I got into tech writing about 11 years ago. I graduated with an M.Ed in
English in December, and couldn't find a job in the middle of the
school year.

So, I went to work at a company just installing their computer system,
and while going through training, noticed how bad the tech docs
were. I offered to re-write them for the staff, and have been tech
writing ever since. I also taught Business and Technical Writing
at a couple of local colleges, and when an opening in tech writing
came up at local software company, I submitted my resume, writing
samples, and degree background for consideration. I started out
at entry level. Stayed there two years (excellent learning and
experience), then got promoted to Technical Writer. After about
six years, I did some freelance tech writing (more excellent experience)
and then was hired by another software company. I made
Sr. Tech Writer after 2 years, and now manage a group of
8 writers. It's been a wonderful career! I highly recommend you go for it.

Phillip Wilkerson
phillipw -at- allensysgroup -dot- com

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