Time for a career change: blending linguistics and technical writing

I’ve been working as an English instructor since finishing graduate school. Although I am an academic at heart, I’ve been itching to make a career change. I bounced around from idea to idea – curriculum developer? instructional designer? – before settling on a career path outside of academia that might work for me: technical writer.

I took an entry-level technical writing course in college and enjoyed it. By the end of the course I designed a feasibility study to examine the benefits/disadvantages of changing my campus’ bus system. Unfortunately, it was just an introductory course, so I didn’t have the opportunity to delve further in the world of technical writing.

After graduating with my BA, I tried to figure out where I was going next. Most websites that I saw detailed the numerous career paths for linguistics graduates, and they included technical writing, but I never quite figured out how to make that transition. Technical writing seems like a field where you need to have a set of specialized knowledge to design proposals, manuals, etc.

I plan to study to become a certified professional technical communicator through the Society of Technical Communication. My hope is to have a portfolio of writing samples ready to go by the time I sit the exam. The timing for this works out well, as I do not think I will be teaching this summer.

In either case, I look forward to figuring out how to blend linguistics and technical writing together!