My Internship: As A Technical Writer

By: Shelby Ward

I’m one of those people who usually gets really ticked off when people say, “Oh, you’re an English major? So…what are you planning to do with that?” Um, rule the world, thank you very much. I know that inside, they’re answering their own question: “Not make any money, that’s for sure.” This summer, however, I was able to land a job in an unexpected field PRECISELY because I was an English major with a minor in Digital Humanities. So take that, all you people who turn up your nose at us.


I was hired on by the department of Continuing Education’s Computer Operations team in April of this year as a technical writer. Talk about a foreign world! My first day on the job was a mess of computers and geeky jargon that made me feel totally out of my league. The guys in my cubicle almost kicked me out when I said I hadn’t seen “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, but then I redeemed myself by whipping out some impressive Harry Potter knowledge. Things got better.

I soon figured out that the developers were there to make everything work; I was there to explain it to everyone else. After looking over the department’s documentation, I saw that the developers were just as scared of good grammar as I was of programming. We needed each other.

My supervisor, the blessed soul that she is, decided that she wanted to give me a new skill set along with a paycheck, so she made me start coding all the documentation myself. I had to learn the programming language and worry about not crashing the whole website. It was terrifying—but so much easier than I thought! I became a valuable member of a team, and my editing skills were what set me apart.
The best part of all of this? In August, I talked to advisors here in the English department and they decided that I could count my job as an internship! Hollaaaa! So now I get to go to work every day, figure out ways to make the developers sound good, learn a few programming tricks myself, AND get credit for it. It’s a pretty sweet deal.
So to all you English majors out there—there are more options besides being a teacher. Technical writing is a growing field and we are in high demand! Don’t wait around for an internship to come to you. Learn the computer skills to make yourself marketable in today’s society and watch the doors open up.

Here are some of my co-workers at their finest, btw. They got really excited when I told them it was going on the blog.

Leave a Reply