March 6th

Career Paths of Five Technical Communicators


“The current strained economic conditions across much of industry, especially in high technology areas, make those of us responsible for preparing future technical communicators stop and pay attention. As the job market becomes more competitive, it seems that the ethical and practical pressures to send out students who are well trained in the right skills also increase”

Hey, I didn’t write it they did. After months of refining my arguments and complaints about this school and this program in particular I know I am right. And not just sometimes with some things but I am right about Everything. EVERYTHING. How dare EMU say they’ve prepared us for life after graduation – they can’t prepare us for any given semester. We – I – am not prepared for work in this field. I have learned little to nothing, certainly nothing of any consequence. In short, I am not competitive. An internship would have come in handy by helping learn by doing. I have practiced my arguments with many different people and I know I am right – EMU hasn’t taught us anything. A complete waste of time.

“We should teach technological competencies or we should not. Some educators believe that acquiring computer skills in the classroom is as vital as acquiring writing skills, while others perceive it to be secondary to other skills such as self-management and analysis.”

Give me a big effin’ break peoples. Maturity, and skills such as critical analysis, dealing with deadlines, stress, self-management, time constraints, reading and writing competency, among others all should have been well developed by the time one enters into a graduate level course and at least by one’s senior year of undergrad. This is a big part of the foundation that a liberal arts education provides (or, in the case of EMU, ought to provide) a college education in general at least should provide this. I lost an internship opportunity — I have discerned — not due to any lack of maturity, writing skills, self-management and critical analysis skills but due to a lack of experience with certain job tasks and computer skills. Most of these computer programs I had never heard of before – they weren’t ever mentioned in school, let alone taught.

“…confirmed that students want less theory, more practical skills emphasizing writing, real-life writing experiences (assignments as well as internships), and familiarization with technology.”

Fine. If these former students are saying this than I as a current student shouldn’t feel bad for asking for it either. But I don’t even know enough to know what I know or don’t know. I don’t know what to teach or what is useful – I don’t know what questions to ask. Has anyone at the school read this article, yet? All I know is that reading this is just making me more angry. I know for a fact that Towson University’s program finds a way to mix the practical with the theory and teaches it students things. I know people come out of the classes and the program with knowledge, self-confidence and marketable skills. Why can’t EMU?

““hiring on the basis of ‘tool skills’ ignores the fact that the ability to format text is a very small part of our value as technical communicators.””

Call me crazy but have I not heard countless times from the mouths of individuals in the ‘field’ and in several readings that companies and head boss people don’t even know what a technical communicator is or does or how they can and should help out the company and such things along that line? Additionally, I think I recall that fellow technical communicators don’t even know what to make of themselves or each other. So how can Mr. hart dare say this with any seriousness? I really don’t trust our readings anymore.

And the whole learning new computer skills on one’s own is fine. Heck, I’m doing right now, but the potential employer wants you to have something tangible to offer to the company. Why hire Joe who is not proficient in any useful computer skill/program even though he is smart enough to learn and quickly, when he can hire Susie who is his equal in every way except that she already possesses the computer skills that Joe lacks? Susie will get the job, not Joe. (Assuming that Susie isn’t a crack head, et al).

All this talk of careers and I have yet to discern what career I am being educated for. Remind me again of what my career options are; what I am being trained for and how I am to market myself to potential employers; what use am I to myself or anyone else that might matter. That’s right someone has mentioned something about something that sounded like technical something whatever that is. Benninghoff can’t, or won’t, even bother to explain what technical writing is at minimum.

Okay, I’ve read through the internship section and I can’t take it anymore. Could it be this program is just some absurd Mont Python sketch? Cos, truly, from a distance this is all quite humorous. I think that with some years distance I will get the joke and laugh along with all the other homeless college graduates. I think right now I need to assess what other careers/industries I am perhaps better equipped to pursue.


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