Job Title: Training & Technical Publications Developer (Technical Writer)
Education: BA in English, Southern Adventist University BA in Print Journalism, Southern Adventist University
Previous Experience: I took an internship with the company doing the same thing. I had the first contact at a career fair at my university. The internship turned into a full-time job.
Job Tasks: I learn how the software works, then I write the user documentation (help manuals, quick reference cards, etc.) for it. I work with subject matter experts in our IT department for clarification on how the software works and with the business sponsor (the person with our company that is requesting the software) for clarification on how our company will be using the software.
I work with our Clinical Services department to help wordsmith their clinical policies. I format manuals in our official policy and proofread and polish them. I proofread everything written in the company. The HR department sometimes needs training on soft skills. I can help with those too. Basically, the job is to write whatever is needed and either research it, learn it on my own or talk to someone who knows the subject matter.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The variety of work is the best thing. I also enjoy working in somewhat of a team. This job is for social people who can go to meetings and work with others to get the necessary information.
The worst part of the job currently is probaby the lack of room for growth. Someone has to do the actual work and the work always has to be done. Unless your company or department is growing and there is room for you to grow into a management role, you may be doing the same thing for years and years.
1. Degrees in English and Journalism are more widely accepted than degrees in actual technical writing. If you are going to get a degree in technical writing, consider double majoring or at least getting a minor in English. It will help with writing. Technical writing degrees do not teach enough grammar.
2. Learn as much as you can about all the software you can. From Publisher to FrameMaker, Word and Acrobat. We sit at the computer all day, so it is helpful if you know how to use it.
3. If you are shy, get over it. You have to talk to people to be in this business.
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