atw: Re: OT - a query

Thanks so much for your thoughts, Peter and Terry. Really appreciate it.
Regards,
Sam 

-----Original Message-----
From: austechwriter-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:austechwriter-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Terry Dowling
Sent: Wednesday, 4 November 2009 4:06 PM
To: austechwriter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: atw: Re: OT - a query

Hi Sam,

As Peter says, the required toolset might be greater, but if you're
proficient in MSWord, you're qualified to do about 90% of technical writer
jobs. Next most common tools required would be Excel and Acrobat.
I'm pretty sure if you were to get into contracts type work (or are you sick
of the legal side of things?) you wouldn't need much else. (I must say, your
name is pretty apt for a lawyer. :) ) Your biggest hurdle - if you want to
escape legalese into technical jargon - might be the lack of technical
knowledge.

I certainly wouldn't suggest that you need to do courses in anything else in
particular. As you work, you should be able to get training in whatever you
specifically need. You can usually get answers for any gaps in your
skills/knowledge via this forum.

Another important skill is to be an active listener and to interpret what
was said (and what was meant) into language suitable for the target
audience. Sounds like you're hugely capable in that area.

Good luck,
Terry
 
-----Original Message-----
From: austechwriter-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:austechwriter-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Samantha Lawry
Sent: Wednesday, 4 November 2009 10:46 AM
To: austechwriter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: atw: OT - a query

Hi all,
have been reading all your posts with much interest. I'm interested in
working towards becoming a technical writer but have been a bit confused
about what quals/experience/skills (eg. which applications/programs) might
be required or necessary in order for someone to call themselves a
'technical writer'. I'm not planning on doing so yet! Have done some
research but would be grateful if anyone could point me in the right
direction or offer some simple advice. 

So far I've worked as a lawyer for 7 years, have a Diploma of Arts (Prof
Writing and Ed) from RMIT and have worked as a writer/editor/plain language
drafter in community legal education. Comfortable in MS Word (not so much
macros etc), Excel etc; few other technical skills but not afraid of
anything!

Just tell me if you think I'm shamefully exploiting this list...
Either way, thanks for what I've learnt so far!
Cheers,
Sam

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