Am I qualified to become an entry-level tech communicator?

Subject: Am I qualified to become an entry-level tech communicator?
From: Robert Heath <rddheath -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 22:43:54 -0800

A number of days ago, one of the messages here ended with the quote "I
can draw a cube! I'm an engineer!" and the author of the message wrote
after it something like "For those who say, 'I can write a sentence!
I'm a technical writer!'" The quote caused me to step back and look
at my own qualifications as one attempting to become a technical
communicator. Now I would like to know if, after reading about what I
know and can do, any of you seasoned pros would tell me whether I am
just shouting at employers, "I can draw a cube!" I'm not trying to
post my resume; I'm only seeking advice.
Currently, I am an English teacher in South Korea, winding up a
two-year contract with a technical university in the city of Taejon. I
have spent a total of four years in Taejon as a teacher, and I believe
my interpersonal skills are now more than adequate to the task of
interviewing engineers and others.
For the past year, I have been learning and playing with HTML, and
recently have learned the basics of DHTML, XML, CSS, and JavaScript. I
have purchased and learned to use FrameMaker, PageMaker, Word and
Excel 97, Allaire HomeSite 3.0, Dreamweaver, Visual Basic 5.0 (well,
the rudiments of this one), and a couple of others.
As for writing and publishing, I have written two pamphlets for my
school with PageMaker, a short manual in FrameMaker (my first, and it
is not very good; a review of it showed me how not to write a manual),
and several technical memos explaining how to use Word 97 and
PageMaker (I used FrameMaker and Word for them). I have also taught
myself copyediting, basic publishing and computer terminology, and
have read Technical Editing by Judith Tarutz.
I have set up a web site which has DHTML photo album and several other
DHTML and Javacript features, though nothing very advanced. I've also
created an online portfolio with samples of my writing in PDF format.
Finally, I have become a member of STC, joined several SIGs, read the
magazine avidly.
Have I done enough to be an entry-level technical communicator? If
not, what else should I do or be doing?
Robert Heath

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