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Chana asks: I was almost five years into a PhD in Biomedical Science when I decided that my kids needed me more at home than in the lab. Now, I'm looking for work I can do from home using my scientific background. I've always had a penchant for writing and recently technical writing came up as a possibility. Can you tell me if there are telecommuting technical writing positions? What training is required? What are some good resources to check out? Any other ideas for me?
There are telecommuting technical writing positions, freelance and contract writing positions.You would have to get some experience under your belt but it's very much a possibility. It's not uncommon for a company to contract out in-house manuals for their personnel, for instance. But what that requires are competitive skills because many technical writers are looking for those kinds of jobs.
If you have familiarity and even expertise in biomedical science, stay with that and get some basic technical writing skills with an online class or a class at the local college.
These are a list of online classes or universities. Not all of them are relevant to your search but a few like DeVry may be.
If you want to work independently, the hardest part is marketing your services to keep projects coming in. Without the ability to do that, it's hard to succeed. So, while expertise is very crucial, it's just as important to get the basic technical writing skills, the savvy ability to market yourself, preparing a resume that highlights the competitive advantage you bring to any specific project, and the development of an excellent resource base.
These contain very useful links. I would look at the TECHWR-L mailing list especially for job information and learning from those in the field.
These are good links to organizations about technical writing or links to excellent resources.
There's no question you can parlay your expertise into a livelihood when you combine it with a skill like technical writing. Take it a step at a time and believe you can do it!
Good luck in your endeavors!
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