Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I wish more people who like to write would look into technical communication as well as English before they decide on a major.

Joe MosesAssistant Director of Graduate Studies, MS and Certificate Programs in Scientific and Technical Communication

I've talked with hundreds of students who like to write but don't consider tech comm as a career because they they don't have hard science backgrounds and assume they're not qualified. 

They equate writing with English or journalism.

Many tell me they didn't learn about tech comm until they graduated from college, and I'm working to change that because so many people tell me they would have chosen tech writing if they had understood more fully what the field is.

If you know of someone who fits just some of the following description of technical writers, please share this post with them.
  • You're curious about new ways to use your writing skills.
  • Writing is part of your identity. You’re invested in words, style, and voice. You revise and edit because getting it right is part of who you are. 
  • For you, writing is a state of mind. It’s a way of learning, of teaching, and of problem solving.
  • You use writing as a tool to solve problems.
  • You’re an interpreter. You’re good at asking questions and making what you learn come alive for others.
  • Most of the time you would rather be writing.
  • You write stories. You understand the importance of characterization, setting, dialogue, tone, dramatic tension, and a unique voice.
  • You’re interested in helping groups from different backgrounds find common understanding through narratives in which fully dimensional characters reveal human behavior and motives.
  • You have your own views, and your work has to be in line with your beliefs. You’re interested in advocacy writing in private- or public-sector organizations across the political, educational, healthcare, government, or social spectrum.
  • You’re interested in creatively influencing others’ understanding of global climate change, immigration policy, ethics, world food distribution, or intercultural communication, to name just a handful of important issues.
  • You’re interested in publishing. You want to use writing, editing, information design, or intercultural communication to make complex topics accessible to wider audiences.
  • You want to use the latest tools to create Web sites, mobile apps, ebooks, blogs, videos, podcasts, or multimedia presentations.
The traits above are far more important than having a specific technical background. Our program attracts people from English, management, HR, law, medicine, business, history, journalism, chemistry, psychology, and marketing--among many other fields. 

If you're interested in learning more, my email is moses004@umn.edu.