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Editorial background, IT aims

You may want to consider technical writing; marketing, of course, is always an option–many marketing firms have departments that handle IT-related businesses. Editorial background, IT aims You may want to consider technical writing; marketing, of course, is always an option–many marketing firms have departments that handle IT-related businesses.

Dear Molly: I have more than 25 years of experience as a newspaper reporter/editor, magazine writer/editor/designer, copywriter, and speechwriter. I know page layout, basic word processing and am the president/founder of a Palm user group. I have an outstanding ability to synopsize many pages of material into a few sentences. Where do my skills fit into the computer field? If they don’t fit, what programs/skills do I need to learn to be in demand?

Molly says: It’s unfortunate that salaries for people who work in editorial positions for magazines and newspapers tend to be lower than the salaries of those doing basically the same tasks in other kinds of organizations. That means that people like you, with a lot of experience, get to the top of the editorial pay scale and leave the field looking for jobs that pay more.

With your background and skills, I would suggest you consider technical writing. Don’t worry–there is more to technical writing than writing instruction manuals for software. In my book, if you write about computers and IT, you’re a technical writer.

The problem you may encounter as you shift into technical writing or any other segment of IT is the fact that you haven’t worked for an IT company. To overcome this hurdle, you may have to keep the job you have now and find some freelance technical writing assignments for your spare time. You should also consider formal training in technical writing so you can beef up the educational section of your resume.

Here are some Web sites with information about the kind of technical writing I believe you should investigate: Affordable Words, TechWriters and Technical Writers International.

You could also try to land a job with a large marketing department inside an IT company to oversee the development of marketing materials, including white papers, Web content and, yes, technical documentation. Some of the large public relations and marketing firms have IT departments and need the same kinds of writing and editorial help as large IT companies.

Molly Joss also writes the monthly Career Advisor column for ComputerUser magazine. Ask a career-related question at [email protected]

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