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  1. #1
    emma p

    Science Writing?

    I am thinking of pursuing a career in science writing, or at least maybe constructing a major in it at my school. Does anyone know anything about science writing as far as career outlook or advice on how to get more job experience as an undergraduate?

  2. #2
    Anthony Ravenscroft

    Re: Science Writing?

    If you can get a degree in technical writing, it's something you can take with you into many different fields, & they have a fantastic network where people are really good about passing around leads & big projects. One of my partners in the publishing house occasionally runs off to D.C, for a month or two, where she commonly gets $45-$85/hour, sometimes working 80-hour weeks -- which of course means double the rate (40 hrs regular rate, 20 time-&-half, 20 double). This allows her to chase more entertaining projects for months without worrying about income. Then again, she was also pre-med, & knows a lot about FDA submissions (device implant & antibiotics, specifically).

  3. #3
    Alex Richardson

    Re: Science Writing?

    Science writing is cool, as long as you have the same style as Bill Bryson, say. Most textbook style writing is hysterically boring.


  4. #4
    John Oberon

    Re: Science Writing?

    Depends on what type of science writing you intend to pursue. If it's research, then you need a firm foundational knowledge of whatever field you enter, unless you're some kind of freakishly talented technical writer. If it's general science or just areas that happen to interest you, like something you'd find in Popular Science, then just about any writing degree would couple just fine with your bent. If it's detail or textbook science you're after, then technical writing would be more your line.

    Career outlook is outstanding as far as I know. Technology and science is ever evolving and people always want to know about it, so it's one great career to enter. I've been a technical writer/illustrator for twenty years, and have no complaints, lol.

    I can't imagine your college doesn't offer SOME type of internship program...that would be one avenue to pursue. However, the best thing to do is to network, go around and start asking questions. Set up appointments to interview people at research facilities. We have Battelle here in Columbus - that would be a goldmine for you if you lived here. Then there's private companies who supply equipment and materials to those research facilities. Just ask for the Technical Writer or Documentation Specialist, ask them to lunch sometime, then go with a book full of questions, lol. That is the absolute best way to reap good information and advice. Also, if you've read a good science article or book that really zinged your strings, try to contact the author. Most are pretty darn open and encouraging.

    You also might want to contact the Society for Technical Communicators (STC) and see if there's a chapter near you. I haven't renewed my membership for quite a while, but they're always a trove of information.

    The most important thing is to have a pretty firm grasp what you'd like to do. If you're just thinking this is an area you'd like to investigate - it's piqued your interest, but you're unsure exactly what direction to go, then I'd recommend some career or personality testing to sharpen your focus. That will enable you to ask more pointed and useful questions when networking. Otherwise, you'll be aiming at nothing in particular and most likely hit it, lol. Most colleges offer this kind of testing; ask your academic or career counselor.

    Good luck with all your endeavors.

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