I've been a technical writer for 15+ years.

To answer your question:
If you knew someone who was looking to enter the technical
>writing
>field at this time, would you advise them to seek out positions where they
>would be using FrameMaker, or would you tell them not to worry so much on
>which application would be used, but instead focus on the position and the
>work itself?

I would advise the person to look for both, a job that requires FrameMaker 
(because Frame is the industry standard) and the right position. The tool 
you use is important because it's often a requirement for most tech writing 
jobs, but some places will train you on the tool. The position is just as 
important, if not more.

Here's a good example, my experience had been documenting training manuals 
and user guides for in-house IBM 390 mainframe systems, DOS-based products, 
software products, and some computer station setup. When I realized that I 
REALLY liked documenting software, I began interviewing specifically for 
software tech writing jobs. My first official job at a software company 
required Frame. I didn?t know Frame. They interviewed me and hired me, not 
because I knew the tool, but because I had the skill, experience, and 
attitude they wanted. With that being said, don?t feel like you have to pick 
one or the other, first discover what you think you?ll enjoy documenting the 
most, the tool is always something you can learn.

Good luck.

Heidi



>From: "Andy Kelsall" <andy.kelsall at gmail.com>
>To: Framers at frameusers.com
>Subject: Career advice--which application to focus on: FM or Word?
>Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 11:39:34 -0400
>
>Hello everyone,
>
>           I would like some advice from anyone who has worked in the
>technical writing field for more than 3 years. My question is this:
>
>          If you knew someone who was looking to enter the technical 
>writing
>field at this time, would you advise them to seek out positions where they
>would be using FrameMaker, or would you tell them not to worry so much on
>which application would be used, but instead focus on the position and the
>work itself?
>
>          The reason I ask is that on various listservs I subscribe to, it
>seems that most people are big FM advocates and are not too fond of Word.
>I've spent the last month trying to learn the basics of FM, and I can see
>why people choose FM over Word when it comes to serious technical writing.
>Granted, there is a steep learning curve, but it *is* a lot more versatile
>than Word.
>
>          I'm moving away from a 17 year career as a technician and 
>engineer
>in the telecom field and I want to make sure my first step into technical
>writing isn't a misstep. As a quick note, I have given the career change
>quite a bit of thought, and went as far as completing a technical writing
>program at Duke. Any and all advice is appreciated.
>
>
>Thanks,
>
>Andy
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