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Is Technical Writing for You?

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With technical writers Victoria Davisson and Thomas Thompson

Thomas Thompson; Vicki Davisson not shown


If you’ve ever thought about becoming a technical writer, this is the show for you. This week, we get the straight scoop from two who’ve practiced the profession for a long time and love it.

Victoria Davisson graduated from the University of Illinois, Chicago, with a major in English and a minor in American History. She intially worked in retail, but in 1986 she changed careers to become a trainer and technical writer. In her spare time, she paints and works on genealogy, takes care of her family, and writes fiction. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and two children.

Thomas Thompson has lived in a variety of locations, including a horse ranch in Peyton, Colorado, Clay Center, Kansas, and Concord, California. While pursuing his undergraduate studies in Christian Ministry, he worked at a software development company, where he was asked to write a manual. The next thing he knew, he had fallen in love with technical writing. Thomas is currently a Documentation Specialist for a Fortune 500 Company. His hobbies are the Denver Broncos, HDTV, using TIVO, politics, monitoring current affairs, apologetics, bible prophecy, and blogging. He lives in Orange County, California with his wife, dog, and three cats.

In this comprehensive discussion, Vicki and Thomas explore what it’s like to be a technical writer, including:

  • What technical writing is
  • What types of skills and educational background you need to do technical writing
  • What sorts of personality traits good technical writers possess
  • How tech writers learn about the technology they’re writing about
  • What working with programmers is like
  • What makes for good technical writing
  • What they do when they just can’t understand the software they’re supposed to be writing about
  • What sorts of deadlines they face
  • What sorts of conventions are involved in the writing itself
  • What a tech writer’s duties are
  • How technical writing has changed over the years
  • What it’s like to be a contractor vs. being an employee
  • Where you can get training
  • How to get jobs in technical writing
  • How technical writers are compensated.

Interviewees: Victoria Davisson and Thomas Thompson
Host: Paula B
Date: November 13, 2006
Running time: 01:06:56
File size: 49 megabytes
Rating: G