Answers About the Field of Technical Writing for Students
In this monologue podcast, I answer a student's questions about the field of technical writing, including how I fell into it, what kinds of projects I work on, and other details. Her questions are as follows:
- What did you study in college and where did you attend?
- What degrees/certificates do you have?
- Did you know what you wanted to do before you graduated? If so, what was it? Is it what you're doing now? If not, why did it change and are you glad it did?
- What is your current job title and description?
- How did you come across your current job?
- What did you go through to get this job? Applying, interview, training, etc…
- How long have you held this position?
- What activities, responsibilities, duties, knowledge, etc. does your position require?
- What have you done to maintain your success in this field/position?
- Have your position and/or responsibilities changed over your time with this company?
- What past jobs have you had? Were they helpful when starting your current job?
- Did you study technical writing in school or was this learned/gained through the employment that you sought and obtained?
- What tools (including computer software) do you most frequently use? And what tools do you most highly recommend to other technical writers?
- When you were younger, what was your dream job? What's your dream job now (if it's not your current job) and do you plan on trying to pursue it anytime in the future? How will you do that if you plan on it?
- Had you heard of technical writing before your jobs that were in the field? If so, what did you think of it and when you got involved with it in your past/current employment how was it different/similar from your previous expectations?
- Can you ever see yourself working in a position that doesn't require writing or some form of technical communication? Why/why not?
- How would you describe your personal writing style? Do you think that at work this style is stifled because of the nature of your work or restraints/company policy?
- Why did you start your blog? Where do you get the ideas for your posts and topics from?
- Have you ever considered quitting your current job to work solely on your blog? Why/why not?
- Is there anything that you've ever had the urge to write about to include on your blog but you haven't actually done it? Why/why not?
- What advice, if any, do you have for me, a soon to be college graduate wishing to enter the field in the next year or two?
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.