Sara Yacoubian (Drexel senior, BA/MA Technical and Science Communication) provides some insights on the value of an STC student membership.
- How has STC membership benefited you?
My STC membership, two years running now, has continued to keep me in the know about the technical communication job market and developing technologies related to the field. Without STC, it is very difficult to see technical com outside of the scope of academia, despite the fact that I will be graduating soon and will need a job. It is often very difficult for students to meet other technical communicators outside of their professors, and even more challenging to keep up with those outside of their schools or own workplace. I am no exception to this; STC has kept my network of professional contacts alive and well, and it gives a nice preview of what life as a technical writer will be like after college.
- What was your favorite STC meeting?
I thoroughly enjoyed the Mid-Atlantic conference that we hosted in Willow Grove last year. It was very refreshing to see different perspectives of the presenters who came, and being able to choose which seminars I attended kept things interesting. I went to a few that were outside of my area of expertise (and interest), and they proved to be extremely rewarding and informative. There was also plenty of time to mingle with people who do not often attend PMC’s events, which was another unexpected benefit.
- What advice would you give to another student looking into techcomm?
Techcomm is not just instructional documentation; there are many facets to the practice as a whole, and it can be useful for job descriptions besides “technical writer.” Academia makes it sound like that’s all one can do with the degree, but not so. There are plenty of other opportunities to put communication skills to work, and many of them involve freelance work. There is a shortage of effective communicators, especially in tech, so there will always be different types of jobs available, even if one is not strictly a writer. For those who are concerned that techcomm isn’t “social” enough, there are some very team-oriented positions for the taking. Additionally, I have learned that the word “technical” can be more of an umbrella term – it can include science and legal writing as well, both of which are lucrative and interesting in their own ways. It just depends on how one applies their skill set.
- What sort of career are you looking for after you graduate?
Software documentation is my first choice given my familiarity, but I’m also looking into medical writing and industrial documentation for clean energy companies.