Graduate Program in English - Careers in Technical Communication

Careers in Technical Communication

The term "technical communication" may cover a wide variety of career paths. The careers of some UAH students who completed the Minor in Technical Writing over the last ten years illustrate some of the possibilities.

Both Kathryne Smith Pickett, an English major, and Lynn Jones Dozier, a Political Science major, were hired by companies where they interned. Kathryne started writing on-line help for a defense contractor, and went on to write computer manuals for VMIC, an industrial hardware and software company. Lynn held several positions at Intergraph, from writing training manuals to writing user's guides and online help, before moving to Adtran to write training materials.

Jennifer Whitman Rankin also interned at Intergraph and was hired there as a technical writer the summer after graduation. For five years, she wrote and edited manuals and created online help. Intergraph provided tuition assistance for her to return to graduate school for the Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication. In winter 2000, she was promoted to Webmaster for Intergraph Public Safety and is now responsible for design and management of the internal and external websites for this division.

John Brewer, a double major in Engineering and English, completed the minor and was hired as a technical writer at Cybex (now Avocent) before graduating. He writes and edits manuals for Avocent switching systems, helps design and layout ads for national magazines, codes Hyper-Text for the World Wide Web, and helps with promotional materials such as flyers, catalogs, and trade show booths.

Laurie Harris already had a Journalism degree and experience as a newspaper reporter when she came to UAH for the minor. Now she works in Marketing Communication at Intergraph, writing sales collateral, advertising, press releases, and direct mail.

With an English major and minor, Thom Chumley began as a NASA subcontractor editing standard operating procedures. His company helped pay for his MA degree with a Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication (1995), after which he went to Sun Microsystems, Inc., in Mountain View, CA, as a Technical Writer. There he designed and maintained internal web pages and delivered online documentation on CD-ROM. In 1998, Thom moved from California to Sun's Colorado office. His latest promotion makes him program manager for Sun's first online service site, SunSolve (