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The U.S. and the world economy is going through some dire straits as these lines are written. But have you considered that the economic recession might also be an excellent time for retraining? That way, when the economy bounces back, you’ll be in an excellent position to take advantage of the new opportunities out there.
Here are 4 suggestions to bolster up your training as a technical communicator:
1) Dive into those quick start books written on almost any conceivable topic. Even those For Dummies books are pretty good, mind you. Just forget about awful name which seems to be designed to make every reader feel bad about himself or herself. But in general they are excellent introductions to technical topics. They are written well, comprehensive, and contain an obligatory doze of humor as well. I’ve recently read “Sam’s Learn in 24 Hours” series book on TCP/IP and learned a lot in a hurry.
2) Take a look at some of the great online repositories of technical tutorials. Most of them would open the doors for you to a large volume of excellent instruction for a single monthly fee.
I can recommend two such online resources: Lynda-dot-com and Safari Books Online.
Lynda has tons of video tutorials about every graphic and page layout software application you can think of.
Safari Books Online goes one step further: they allow you to read and even download any hi-tech book you like. These volumes include everything O’Reilly has published, for example. If you agree to pay just a few bucks more, Safari would allow you to watch every Lynda video as well. That way you get a two-for-one deal.
3) Subscribe to an ezine on technical communications. These ezines are written by expert technical communicators and include the kind of insider tips and information that you cannot easily find on many web sites, books or tutorials. The beauty of an ezine is that it is delivered to your mail box for free once every so-many days. And most of them are free as well. The owners of these ezines love what they do and so they might even answer a few personal questions now and then as well.
4) Enroll in a technical communication certificate program at a college or institution of higher learning near you. If there is none, make research in your area to see if there would be any non-certification classes as well. Most of these classes are delivered by technical communication professionals in field who are doing it to expand their portfolios. You might as well take advantage of it.