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Transitioning to Technical Writing

I majored in journalism in undergraduate and graduate school and I am interested in transitioning to technical writing. The problem is I don't know what steps to take. I've done some research and I'm reading some books on technical writing and I took a course on Coursera, but what next? Unfortunately, I don't have the money to take a college course at the moment, would getting certified by the STC be a good goal? I have no idea how I would go about getting experience. I have found very few avenues for volunteering online, and less so for aspiring technical writers. There are no organizations or technical writing hubs where I live. How do I gain the experience to apply to entry-level technical writer jobs in the future? Where do I get the experience? What kind of experience should I prioritize?


  • smajorssmajors United StatesPosts: 24
    All of the above, as you mentioned. I graduated with a degree in tech comm but had a concentration in Journalism, so, as they're all related to writing and English, I think any related field would give you similar experience to be able to pursue a career in tech writing, especially an entry level position. Some of my job responsibility as a tech writer is editing content already drafted or styling it in a format that adheres to our company style guide, and some aspects of editing in technical writing are related to the editing in Journalism. Put together a short portfolio of a few projects or work samples if possible.

    I'd also suggest looking into some common authoring and content management tools used in the field. Maybe look at tech writing job postings and see what the requirements are. For example, when I landed my current job it was preferred I know the software they use but was not required as long as I was proficient in a similar tool.

    I've never been certified through STC (mainly because I already have a degree) but do try to keep updated with current industry trends and news through tech comm blogs or newsletters in related fields.
  • AsheDTAsheDT Posts: 3
    Thank you for answering.This question may seem obvious but as I am just learning about this field, how would I go about putting together a portfolio? What kind of mind material would I use to create documentation out of?
  • smajorssmajors United StatesPosts: 24
    You could use some writing examples from your graduate program and simply compile it in a folder. Did you work on any projects you could show? I'm not sure what your work experience has been so far, did you just recently graduate or have you had a few work experiences? Make sure your resume is updated that highlights your key duties or accomplishments for each position that would stand out to a future employer.
  • AsheDTAsheDT Posts: 3
    I have journalistic writing experience but not technical writing experience. Would an employer consider looking at writing samples that are not in that field?
  • smajorssmajors United StatesPosts: 24
    I would think any form of writing in a related field would be fine. Do you have any design experience or any work where you've worked with media, artwork, photos, etc.? I've known of a few people who work in Marketing that have a journalism background. I had a few contract positions to help me gain experience before I landed a full-time technical writing job, but the location I'm at doesn't have a lot of opportunities in this field, either. If for some reason I couldn't land another tech writing job I would definitely pursue a related field.
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